Toyota Financial Services

Mobile Web Strategy

TFS Mobile Web

Here is the approach I used to convince Toyota Financial Services to adopt responsive design as their mobile strategy for a multi-billion dollar channel.


Toyota Financial Services


Principal UX Designer


UX Strategy, IA, Research, and Design


.01 The Challenge

Opportunity For Change

Toyota Financial Services created the Payoff Redesign project as a result of financial loss ($1.2 MM per annum) related to inaccurate customer payoff amounts via Toyota's account management website. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to convince the business to adopt responsive design as their mobile web solution instead of keeping their current website.

.02 Strategy

Two New Disciplines

Because UX was a new discipline at TFS, I worked closely with product owners, business analysts, and engineers to understand their software development lifecycle so that I may align it with a user-centric process. I accomplished this through an organizational assessment of gaps across disciplines and finding ways to bridge them.

Scrum was also new to the team. My prior experience in the Agile methodology enabled me to provide principal leadership in the creation of user stories and sprint planning.

.03 Discovery

Building A Case

I began my discovery journey by collaborating with the innovation, customer support, and marketing teams. They provided a Net Promoter Score, call logs, and customer survey results, data that would inform design. Additionally, we created surveys that would help validate our assumptions about customers paying off their vehicle.

Analytics proved to be a challenge, as TFS did not have an analytics administrator at the time. I was familiar enough with Google analytics to obtain the metrics I needed. However, I learned Omniture on the fly, as it was the approved tool for web analytics.

Lastly, if I was to convince the leadership team in going responsive, I needed to build a case. I performed a competitive analysis not only on auto manufacturing competitors but also on other industries that adopted responsive web design as a mobile web strategy.

We are a multi-billion dollar channel, our customers deserve a multi-billion dollar experience.

.04 Definition

Reasons For Visiting

During the discovery phase, we learned the main reason customers visited the TFS site, both desktop, and mobile was to make a vehicle payment. We also discovered that the principal reason customers wanted to pay off their auto loan was to save money on interest and that the critical piece of information needed for this decision was the payoff amount.

This data defined the mental model necessary to craft an experience that would meet our customer's expectations and was validated by card sort studies, collaging, and emotional response testing. Below are a few definition artifacts.

.05 Design

Efficiency For All

The experience we designed not only had to work for many scenarios and loan types (purchased vs. leased) but for other brands such as Lexus and Scion. The solution was to create information modules that would serve as the building blocks for a single scenario. Each module would be designed to include brand, usability, technical, and responsive guidelines.

This concept in modular design increased efficiency across all functions. We created an information module library, which helped create ad hoc wireframes and prototypes, which were reviewed by business and were subject to approval cycles.

The engineering team also utilized the information module library for development. They appreciated how UX thought about scalability and efficiency since the focus was on individual components as opposed to pages.

What We Created

Since we did not have a creative team, I had to step into the role of UI designer. I chose Google's material design as our design language due to its incorporation of design principles, availability of style guides, scalability and focus on responsive design.


An Evolution Of Ideas

The current consumer-facing website catered to customers only. Below are a couple iterations that begin with the current experience and ends at the proposed solution that targets consumers as well.


One design, infinite possibilities.

.06 The Sweet Spot

Designing For Scalability

Having two new processes introduced to the teams proved to be overwhelming for some and was met with high resistance by others. However, the majority of teams recognized the undeniable value in user-centric design to the degree they expressed the need to build their UX teams.

The concept of modular design was a great success. Even though scalable design typically falls under software design and architecture, I felt it was the ideal way to introduce UX to the development life cycle. This approach aligned development best practices into the UX design process resulting in early adoption by the engineering team and spanned across multiple projects and teams.

An even greater success was the adoption of responsive web design as part of their mobile strategy. I strongly felt keeping their current experience was not in the best interest for all and I worked diligently to usher in a new approach centered on the user.

Lastly, the most significant lesson I learned was transforming a large enterprise operation like Toyota Financial Services to new paradigms involves unbounded patience, advocacy, and above all, empathy.

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