ChooseEnergy is an energy marketplace for consumer energy. 

I would generally take on an project from inception to implementation of the frontend for both marketing and product features.

I focused on role of design within the company and transitioned the company to human-centered design. This led to implementing user research, strong collaboration, and other initiatives. 

Role:
Product Designer
Time:
2014-2016
Website:
chooseenergy.com

Responsibilities:

User research, Visual design, UX design, Frontend development, Prototyping, User testing
ChooseEnergy allows you to compare and switch energy rates for your home and business in deregulated energy markets. It is a marketplace where suppliers compete in price and benefits not unlike an insurance marketplace or health marketplace.

I started at ChooseEnergy in November of 2014 as a member of the new created design team of 2 designers. In typical startup fashion, there were a lot of ups and downs. By October of 2016, the company had ran out of money and was pruned down into maintenance mode. By the end of my time there, I had touched every facet of the company and worked with a great team of engineers, PMs and other designers.

Evolution of the shopping page, 2014-2016

When it comes to energy, ask yourself what you know about how it works. If the extent of what you know about the energy industry is that somehow it powers your house, you're about par with the rest of the consumers in the United State. How do you design a product for people who are not knowledgable about the subject, but know they want to bring down their bill?

The guided shopping experience

The prevailing thought at the company was to present the different energy plans similarly to how other comparative ecommerce websites presented information. Provide the same information that's normalized so each plan is competitive based on it's merits. There were 8-14 pieces of information about different plans that the user could compare including 100% green energy, supplier name, supplier reputation, length of plan and if it was a fixed or variable rate plan. In addition, we had our own classifiers that surfaced the top plans; things like "best over all plan" or "best green plan" That is a very well-intentioned philosophy but we discovered that no one knew what was better and what was worse. The merits, other than price, were meaningless to the user.

The main shopping page

User research was something that the company had not done prior to me joining ChooseEnergy. However, it was quite apparent that the product could quickly benefit from it. Establishing user research within the company was a slog, but eventually we started getting in front of consumers and asking them questions. Our first attempts were usability studies and that led to establishing foundational user interviews. It was from the user research we discovered the need to do something different than simply a comparison based off of available plans in your area.

Plan details page

Understanding that we needed to set more context prior to show users plans, we started at the top of the funnel. We built a guided shopping experience. We asked questions that set expectations and passively educated the user on the important aspects of a plan. Then we presented the user plans that best fit their priorities.

Checkout experience

Next, we broke down the complex checkout experience required. The checkout experience had some legacy requirements due to the nature of the existing energy industry's regulations. We broke down the checkout experience to manageable sections and provided plenty of context to the users; both explaining why we needed certain information (like electricity meter ids) and establishing trust as a defacto 3rd party consumer advocate.

Review order page

After the guided shopping and checkout, we moved to the actual shopping experience. We simplified the experience by removing the toggles for different products (e.g. business plans, natural gas, solar) and included the natural gas in the normal flow rather than make it a cross-sell. The business section would be removed from the residential funnel and assumed its own flow. Specifically on the cards themselves, we removed a lot of extra information and reformatted price from ¢/kWh to estimate monthly bill which we were able to calculated via fancy data science and information we pulled from the user earlier in the flow. Most importantly, we added and emphasized a new piece of information: an editorial merchandizing sentence communicating why this plan is still competitive even if it's not the cheapest (e.g. free nest thermostat, 100% green energy).

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