UI/UX designer


24hr Hacktathon
A digital solution to Goal Zero

The challenge


General Motors presented my team with task of designing a digital solution for safer and more environmentally friendly roads to support GM's goal of Zero Emissions, Zero Crashes, Zero Congestion.

Web developers: Andrea Aylesworth, Cara Barter | Data Scientists: Will Matthews, Jared Lloyd | UX Designers: Veronica Zaretski, Matt Craig, Kim Papillon

Web developers: Andrea Aylesworth, Cara Barter | Data Scientists: Will Matthews, Jared Lloyd | UX Designers: Veronica Zaretski, Matt Craig, Kim Papillon

The Solution

Our solution was a one-stop digital product that allows users to recycle their old, unsustainable cars for credit towards new, environmentally-conscious electric self-driving cars. The solution makes electric self-driving cars more affordable for the average millennial consumer. 

More electric self-driving cars on the road could mean less human error, less crashes, less emissions and less congestion bringing GM closer to Goal Zero.

Supporting research
Hight cost of electric cars
Environmentally conscious millennials may be unwilling to switch to electric cars due to the high price tag
High gas emissions from old cars
The cost of gas is ever rising, young cash strapped millennials may be compelled to give up driving if weekly gas prices are too high
UI/UX Design             General Motors Hackathon Case Study

The direction

We choose to focus on the impact the creation new raw materials.

UI/UX Design             General Motors Hackathon Case Study


We based these personas off the two most common scenarios.

  1. A millennial who has saved up for a new car but does not have the time to go electric car shopping.

  1. A millennial who received an old car from their parents and wants to get rid of it in a sustainable manner

UI/UX Design             General Motors Hackathon Case Study

White boarding as a team

We threw out a ton of ideas, jotting down the most plausible ideas following a "yes and" approach to keep the ball rolling. We were able to consistently refine our ideas until we had an initial working design solution.

Initial Solution
Trade in an old car for a credit towards assisted automotive driving car share program


16:00pm - 19:00pm

We revved up for the next 24 hours by honing in on our users’ needs and product’s features, breaking up into small groups to focus on and sprint deliverables and then coming together to collaborate, troubleshoot and brainstorm as a team. 

Our team of UX designers worked together on ideation and white boarding and diving into relevant research. Who are the GM’s millennial customer base and what are their needs? How do we use existing research and insights to imagine a digital solution that helps budget-minded millennial drivers create less emissions?

Meanwhile, our web development counterparts started building the bones of our mobile web platform, while our data science counterparts explored datasets on emissions from older auto models, emissions saved by recycling certain metals that make up cars, and emissions of cars currently on the road.

The Pivot

19:00pm -21:00pm

We (UX Designers) challenged the initial solution

  • Why would someone give up their personal car for a car sharing credit?

  • Do people want to car share in a post covid world?

  • What are people really looking for when trading in an old car?

If someone wanted to trade their car but did not want to opt-in to car sharing, what could they get instead?

At this point we recognized that the original idea needed to be reworked. The initial idea of trading in an old car in order to gain a car sharing credit was too ambitious for the time frame and attempted to solve too many issues.

With the agreement from the rest of the group, we decided to instead focus on providing a solution for those looking to get rid of their old cars in a sustainable manner.

Revised solution

Trade in an old car for a credit value towards an electric car

Looping in the devs

21:00PM - 22:00PM

The UX designers quickly created very low-fi wireframes just to give the web developers a general idea of our design direction. Once confirmed, they branched off to begin building the structure of the screens.

UI/UX Design             General Motors Hackathon Case Study


While the web dev's were setting up on their end and the data scientists looking to corroborate the assumptions. Us UX designers created a UI inspiration board using car rental apps, car shopping apps, scanning features, and methods of data visualization.

Start designing

23:00pm - 02:00am

Running out of steam, the UX designers knew we needed to have at least 50% of our screens in progress before heading off for the night. Once we were no longer able to make coherent sentences, we called it a night knowing the general direction to take in the morning.

UI/UX Design             General Motors Hackathon Case Study
UI/UX Design             General Motors Hackathon Case Study

The final version

7:00am - 12:00pm

Eager to have assets for the developers as soon as possible, I created the first and third screens first thing in the morning. I then sought out feedback from the other UX designers, together we made additional iterations on my designs then they completed the remaining screens.

Just on time, we finished the final wireframes and handed off the assets to the web developers.

Until the final hours, we remained on standby while for developer questions while creating the presentation with our data scientists.

The presentation to General Motors

01. Understand the processes of your peers

Knowing that the web developers required time to build the structure of the screens was a strong motivating force for the UX designers to get a low-fidelity version ready as soon as possible. This helped us succeed as we ensured that our designs would be feasible to create in the time frame.

02. Understand where the solution falters​

Given the short time-frame, there were still a lot of issues that we considered with the proposed solution.

  • Could we create a more detailed way of capturing and visualizing the impact of recycling an older car?

  • How does our target demographic feel about the current costs of electric cars?

  • How should the electric car credit be determined? Age of car? Amount of recyclable raw materials?

  • How much does the wear and tear of a car reduce the available credit?

04. Keep the user and the company in mind at all steps

There were moments where we were heavily focused on the user forgetting that we were presenting to GM. We needed to ensure our digital solution had a strong value proposition for the company. We made sure to speak briefly on why GM would want these old cars and why this solution would bring in the millennial target audience.