PartsHub Platform
Automotive aftermarket data reimagined.

PartsHub revolutionized the automotive aftermarket as the first centralized platform for cataloging and vehicle part and fitment data.

In close collaboration with the team at PartsHub, I led the strategic, design, testing, and validation efforts to introduce an innovative new way of thinking about the design, user experience, and workflow of data entry and management for teams.

With numeric and textual data at the forefront, strong typographic hierarchy, muted color palette, and considerate grid structure prioritize clarity and ease of input without sacrificing data density. Contextual interactions limit visual distraction, and subtle animations emphasize and reinforce key user inputs.

The result was the first cloud-based platform for cataloging and verifying automotive data that expedites data entry, increases accuracy, and facilitates a seamless transfer of product information to retailers.

Image of a figure sitting at a laptop on a white table, viewing the PartsHub platform

Powerful, enjoyable data entry

With PartsHub, I adhered to two central design principles: ensuring the platform's accessibility for all users and infusing it with elements of delight to enhance long-term engagement.

Concept Generation
Flow Mapping
Experience Design
Usability Testing
Visual Design
UX and UI Design

An image of a grid of desktop and mobile devices all containing unique screens from PartsHub's platform

Understanding the automotive aftermarket

When an auto part is produced, data points related to its manufacture, safety, vehicle fitment, and installation must be cataloged and shared with retailers for it to be eligible for sale.

Previously, parts companies relied on primitive, dense spreadsheets to manage hundreds of these points, for thousands of parts, and risked tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue from outdated, missing, or invalid data.

The Product

At its core the PartsHub platform I conceived is a simple dashboard, designed to allow users to toggle between viewing and editing auto part information as part of a managed workflow. Complexity arrives in the depth of information that is required—numerous categories containing fields that must be correctly filled out, often by specialists who have a keen understanding of autopart nomenclature and vehicle fitment.

A Customer-Centric Experience

To understand PartsHub’s customers, my team and I observed how data specialists interacted with their existing tools, which were primarily complex spreadsheets. We found that they often jumped between two screens, and if necessary, physical reference materials.

With their focus constantly shifting between these physical and digital locations, the speed at which they could regain their bearings slowed, and was made worse by the tiny spreadsheet cells they sought to locate.

This discovery framed our thinking about how to structure the design of input forms, and resulted in a groundbreaking approach where each data category had a unique layout of form elements. These “fingerprints” as they became known, allowed for rapid recall of which dataset the user was reviewing without the need for navigational cues.

Within each view, the form elements never changed position, regardless of screen size, so that users could easily learn their location and quickly return their attention after looking away.

Photograph of a large screen next to a laptop on a white desk, where someone has sat while working with the PartsHub digital platform

Striving for accuracy

We defined product efficacy as fostering not only a complete data set, but one that was perfectly accurate. Multi-step validation happens in real-time, with warnings displayed on individual fields which are augmented by hints and examples in an intuitive right-hand panel.

Detailed designs of the icons used when setting the status of a particular data point in PartsHub. Red for incomplete, red with an X for complete but not valid, and green for complete and valid
Detailed designs of the icons used when setting the status of a particular workflow in PartsHub. Green for approved, Red for set to review, yellow for set to in-progress
An image showing multiple variations of the design of the data-validation scorecard in PartsHub
An image showing multiple variations of the design of the comments tab within the data-validation scorecard in PartsHub

Optimized for increased sales

Many retail catalogs do not require products to include every possible data point included in the industry standard. Instead, retailers will specify distinct collections of fitment, material, and safety information, completing which will certify a product valid for sale.

We allow users to validate their products in alignment with a particular retailer or group of retailers by hiding unnecessary fields. Despite a reduction of form elements, those remaining maintain their original position, improving the efficiency of our users.

More vehicles than dealership row

For many autoparts, describing fitment can be a massive undertaking. Items like air filters, spark plugs, or wiper blades might fit hundreds of makes and models. Alternatively, some parts only fit a single vehicle, and making a simple error such as “LT” instead of “LE” could lead to revenue loss and returned product.

We designed a smart search that quickly specifies all possible fitments, and automatically updates as additional vehicle attributes are defined.

Using motion for added direction

Digital experiences include all elements that contribute to the usability and enjoyment of the products that I design. Motion contextualizes the relationship between states, guides the user to take action, and demands attention if something goes awry.

There were no abrupt transitions or hard page loads in PartsHub. Instead, much like driving a vehicle there is fluid motion between screens with occasional stops to reveal additional information, take action, and review progress.

A friendly approach to illustration

To meet our goal of delighting customers who work in PartsHub all day long, we developed a friendly approach to illustration that gave the feeling of using a consumer product. Friendly icons and illustrations use vehicles as the basis of their message, and often employ puns to convey meaning.

A fun illustration for the case in which a new user has joined the alpha release of PartsHub. It depicts a car speeding away with a large speedometer icon in the background
A fun illustration for the case in which PartsHub has updated their terms of service. It depicts a car braking at a stoplight
A fun illustration for the case in which a process a user has selected may take a while, such as a batch update. It depicts a car being re-painted.
A fun illustration for the case in which PartsHub is undergoing maintenance. It depicts a car on jacks with its wheels off.
A fun illustration for the PartsHub platform of a car with its hood popped and a mechanics dolly in the foreground.
A fun illustration for the PartsHub platform of a car with a large external air intake manifold
A fun illustration for the PartsHub platform of a red car
A fun animated gif illustration for the PartsHub platform of a car with a cover being uncovered.

How this process informed our UX approach

PartsHub is a product born of the idea that data entry can be made more efficient, enjoyable, and capable than its alternatives. We designed their platform through a process of rapid questioning, bending, and improving of accepted procedures, throwing away solutions that felt tedious or unexciting. The result is a tool manufacturers and retailers came rushing to, as they saw that a single investment helped both retain staff and achieve better product data.

The design of a desktop on a computer screen that depicts the PartsHub platform in the background with a modal in the foreground which is confirming a user's upload action. The confirmation message is contained in a modal which includes a fun car illustration.

Impact: Data accelerated into the 21st century

For the first time, entire teams access the same product catalog, while distinct workflows enable contribution from sales, marketing, and customer service members.

Centralized, expert content increases sales and is only possible with PartsHub.

A perfect catalog is most useful in the hands of retailers. Native connections to more than 10,000 potential partners accelerate the transfer of catalog data.