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Reducing user errors by 49% for General Motors DealerSource

General Motors’ customer support was having to address numerous requests due to the confusing design of the End of Term Options section. This is the section that manages options for a dealer when a vehicle lease ends.

Additionally, DealerSource had a dated and legacy look – and it could only be used on desktops, making it inaccessible on tablet and mobile.


UX Design Lead

What is DealerSource?

DealerSource is a platform for GM Franchise dealers to appraise and shop off-lease vehicles and manage their maturing lease portfolio.



Dec 2020 – Jul 2021 | 8 months


Stakeholder Interviews

User Interviews

User Personas

User Journey Maps

User Interface Kit

Responsive Design


Usability Testing

English & French Versions

Design Documentation

Interviews with stakeholders and users revealed how broken the vehicle return process was.

To uncover the exact issues the business was facing with the vehicle return process, the User Research team at Openlane conducted interviews with 15 stakeholders from General Motors. This included members from the Operations and Customer Support teams. 

We also interviewed 12 franchise dealers from different sized dealerships across Texas, Michigan & Ontario with the goal of understanding how they use the software, identify any opportunities and validate user personas.

End of Term options mistakes create a chain reaction that affects multiple departments.

Julie Alley

GM Bardin

So many times a returned vehicle is just sitting on the lot without being processed, because we can’t decide if we want to purchase it.

BJ Kechnie

GM Franchise Dealer

End of Term options needs to be idiot proof.

John Carter

GM Bardin

The current design had redundancies which led to user errors and subsequently, customer support requests

The current design of the End of Term Options page lacked clarity and transparency – which resulted in mistakes that GM Customer Support would have to correct. When a vehicle’s lease has matured, the lessee and the dealer have multiple options for ending that lease. 

Dealer Payoff Quote

Option for when the lessee or dealer decides to purchase the leased vehicle. There are no remaining lease obligations or excess mileage charges for the lessee.

Turn In / Grounding

Option for when the lease is to be terminated. The vehicle is then pushed to dealer auctions.

Market-based Price

At lease end, the grounding dealer has a 48-hour exclusive purchase option, while the lessee must settle remaining lease obligations with General Motors.
The existing design had a legacy look and lacked clarity and transparency about the different options.

The existing user flows had opportunities for merging duplicates

Selecting Option 2, Turn In or option 3, Purchase for Market-based Price from the End of Term Options takes you through a multi-step form to gather information about the vehicle’s return. However, this was the exact same multi-step form, which begged the question whether we needed two separate options.

The Problems

Users weren’t clear about where to send which payment

General Motors would often receive cheques for Market-Based Price, even when those payments were processed by their auction partners, Openlane. By the time the dealer realized their mistake, the vehicle may have already sold in an auction.

Each option had different implications on the lessee but they weren't obvious

In one option, the lease concluded with a bill for remaining obligations, while the other option had no associated costs to the lessee. This was not clear on the page, and led to frequent errors.

Dealers were sending printed screenshots of this page with cheques attached

Users were printing screenshots, circling their desired option, and mailing it with a cheque to General Motors, indicating that next steps were unclear to users.

Other problems with the current design

Dealers didn't have time to make the decision

Dealers needed more time & consultation to decide on end-of-term options when the vehicle was returned, but the current process required an immediate decision in front of the lessee.

Liability of odometer fraud

General Motors’ legal team mandated lessee and dealer signatures be captured on odometer disclosure to prevent fraudulent readings.

Users were choosing two options simultaneously

While a Dealer Payoff cheque was en route to GMF, another team member would accidentally turn in the vehicle, leading to the lessee’s account termination before GMF received the cheque.

Before the redesign, we aligned on how we would measure success.

Goal 1

Improve clarity in the design so that inefficiencies in the business processes resulting from user error can be reduced.

Goal 2

Make the design modern, accessible and responsive to align more with General Motors’ brand and enable use across different device types.

Success Metrics


Reduce user error

Clarify the implications of each option on the page so users don’t make mistakes that are hard to correct.


Increase user satisfaction

Make DealerSource a tool that dealers enjoy and can work on without friction.


Reduce customer support requests

Reduce the number of customer support requests that are required to fix user errors.


Use on mobile devices

Enable a mobile experience for dealers, so they can use it anywhere, anytime.

User personas enabled a shared understanding of user behaviour within the team.

In total, the UX Research team had identified 6 personas that interacted with GM DealerSource. However, for this section, there were two that interacted with this flow the most: Grounding Manager and Used Sales Manager. Our next steps were based on finding a solution for their pain points.

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Mapping out their journey helped us identify exactly where the problems arose

To identify where exactly the issues were in the workflow, we mapped out the journeys of these users. This enabled us to get a wholistic look at their overall goals and how the End of Term options page fits into that journey. Three journeys were identified for these two personas.

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General Motors’ design system, Momentum accelerated interface design & ensured visual consistency.

Momentum is the design system for all General Motors digital products. General Motors had put together this design system in Adobe XD. Whereas, we at Openlane, who were managing the redesign of Dealersource, were using Figma. I recreated the entire design system in Figma as a UI Library of components and styles, so that it could enable fast prototyping and consistency with the overall ecosystem of digital products from General Motors.

The UI Library in Figma was set up with variants and component properties, so that we could rapidly prototype our designs and iterate quickly

The redesign introduced a new process, which allowed better vehicle purchase decisions for the dealers

Vehicle Check-In

To give the dealer more time to decide about which end-of-term option they would like to choose, we introduced a process called Vehicle Check-In.

This separated the capture of information from the end-of-term decision. This information was previously captured as part of grounding.

Once the Vehicle Check-In was complete, there was no immediate pressure to make a decision.

A mobile-first approach gave way to thinking about which features were the most important

Enabling a mobile workflow also ensured that the process can be completed anywhere in the dealership. For example, in the lot right next to the vehicle. It also allowed us to enable features such as capturing signatures from the lessee.

The design went through a few iterations internally with stakeholders from Openlane and General Motors, before arriving at a workflow we were all aligned with.

A closer look at the design enhancements

There were many small enhancements added to the design, which contributed to the overall goal of creating clarity and transparency in the process. With the Vehicle Check-In process, the main goal was to be able to capture the signature of the customer.

End of Term Options

On the End of Term Options page, we reduced the options from three to two, to reduce confusion. Since information was already captured during Vehicle Check-In, the process is now much faster.

To eliminate confusion, the End of Term options were reduced from 3 to 2.

In the existing design, there were 3 options that a dealer could choose from. However, the second and third option took the user down the same exact path, and it was only after completion of the grounding process that the user could avail option 3, i.e. Purchase for Market-based Price.

In the new design, we reduced the options from 3 to 2. What was option 3 before, i.e. Purchase for Market-based Price – we offered it on our page as Option after Grounding.

A closer look at the design enhancements

With the goal of creating clarity and transparency, there were many small enhancements added to the design. With the End of Term options, the main focus was to add details that reduce user error and clarify next steps.

To keep track of checked in vehicles, a new page, My Checked-In Vehicles was created

My Checked-In Vehicles page was created for vehicles whose Check-In had been completed but they were awaiting dealer decision. On this page, users can access the Check-In Receipt, edit or cancel the Check-In or move on to the next steps.

Usability testing with 16 users showed we were (mostly) headed in the right direction

We conducted moderated and unmoderated usability testing sessions with 16 users from various dealerships including the ones that had previously been engaged in the user discovery phase. We used Maze to test our prototypes which allowed us to get a good understanding of where the problem areas may be in the design. 

Usability testing results from Maze for purchasing for Market-based Price flow 👇🏼

Dealers were more clear about the implications of each option when testing the new design

As part of the usability tests, we asked questions about what caused confusion in the previous designs and we saw a huge improvement from the confusions of the previous design. The implications of choosing each option were clearer, and users were less confused about who the payee was for each payable amount.

A design for all devices

As one of the goals of the redesign was to make the design responsive, all components and pages had to be built with three breakpoints. Non-critical information was hidden behind collapsed cards on smaller screen, utilizing progressive disclosure to provide primary information first and secondary information, only when needed.

Designing for multiple languages for legal compliance

One of Canada’s legal requirements is that all the products offered in the country be in both of its official languages, English & French. DealerSource was used by dealers in both the United States and Canada, and hence the interface had to be created in French as well.

Comprehensive design documentation streamlined development for a cohesive end product

There were 4 scrum teams involved in the development of the new design. To ensure there were no discrepancies in the way the design got implemented, detailed design documentation was prepared that included design specifications, annotated mockups and interactive prototypes. The aim was to ensure smooth transition from design to code, promoting consistency and fidelity in the final product.

This was further cemented by regular communication with the engineering team – addressing questions, providing clarifications and adapting to any technical constraints.

The outcome of the redesign - overall inefficiencies reduced by 49%

The redesigned End of Term experience was launched in July 2021. There were some initial feedback about the change, however after a couple of months of use, we saw the inefficiencies reduce.



in incorrect cheques received by General Motors



in Dealer Payoff payments received for already grounded vehicles



in printed screenshots received by General Motors



in customer support requests for reversing grounded vehicles