eBay motors Fitment


Improve automotive fitment tools for customers on iOS, Android and Web.

What is fitment?

“fit +‎ -ment” (Noun)
Fitment is a term used to describe the specifications that determine if something fits onto something else or, a thing fitted to another in order to accomplish a specific purpose. Within the context of this project we use the term fitment to decide if a part or tire fits onto a specific vehicle. In many cases, one part, or tire, can fit many different vehicles. It sounds fairly simple but in the world of automotive manufacturing, it gets really complex, really fast.


Walmart was experiencing serious issues around their fitment tools. Simply put, the tools were not helping customers get the products they needed. There were many areas of concern including incorrect and missing technical details, lack of clarity in result sets, and broken backend output resulting in confusing experience flows. Walmart’s digital growth is exceptional and its automotive category is a large portion of total revenue that has an expanding customer base. In order to better serve customers, we needed to improve these tools and at the very least, bring them up to industry standards. My role in this initiative was Lead Product Designer where I partnered directly with a Product Manager and utilized our internal UX Research team for additional insights.

Things we knew

I had great business insights from product leadership to start with, including over 6000 entries of data from Walmart’s “provide feedback form (voice of the consumer!)”, as well as key industry reports, analytics data, and some nice metrics. In using the tools myself I could see where things were going wrong. One of the largest metrics showed that only 18% of users shopping for items that require fitment use the tools. I began to work with product to create a hit list of known issues. These fit into a nice set of themes. But they also exposed we had more issues than just fitment.

Content issues (need more details and specs, images, correct descriptions, reviews, installation instructions , etc.)

“There is no load rating! Is this E rated?”
“Need to know the voltage of the battery”
“How many gallons does it hold???????”
“What is the side wall? Black or White Lettering”
“I can’t find the ply rating 4,6,8,10 ply ?”
“Do those rims come with the nuts?”
“Is wheel included-if not DON’T show wheel!!!”
“Does the hardware and pull wires come with it?
“Are trim rings and center caps included?”

Fitment data issues (need more info around position, manufacturer info, etc.)

“Does it fit 2019 Subaru forester? Please respond”
“Does this fit a 2013 Honda Accord Sport 2.4L? I am looking for tire size 275-60-20”
“Need passenger side rear glass not driver’s side?”
“You should say if they’re rear or front air shocks”
“I need 225-75-r16 and its giving me 225-60-r16 ?”
“Your blade finder gives the wrong size. The wiper blades recommended are 24 inch and the manufacturer says 26.”
“Need passenger side rear glass not driver’s side.”

Pricing issues (unit pricing issues, additional fees info)

“Are these sold as a set of 2 or is it just one for $65?”
“The showing item price $23.66 then shop now or add to cart is $44.65”
“Item is advertised online for $17.99 so I went to my local Walmart and they charged me $29.98!”
“Is this the price for one Headlight or a set of headlights?”
“When it says “set of 4″ then give the price for the total. it’s misleading and who buys just 1 hub cap?”
“It does not say how many bottles of transmission slip are being sold. it just shows a case and three bottles”

Post purchase issues (installation, returns, reviews)

“How do you fill the transmission fluid dip stick tube?”
“No installation instruction included???”
“I have no manual showing how to install the universal leather seats on my 2019 Honda Insight”
“I cannot read the manual with this. Is there a larger print option on line?”
“No mention of the warranty. No information at all ”
“Parts shipped do not match the parts required for installation. Missing self-tapping bolts. already emailed RL Concepts 2 times with no response”

Availability issues (store vs. online issues, unit availability issues e.g. only 3 tires available.

“Are these in the Walmart store in Prescott or Prescott Valley”
“Why is it in store purchase only? Was looking at the Armor All 6 piece car care kit for $7.00 and it says it’s for in store purchase only. That’s really inconvenient.”
“Product is in stock at the Middletown, Ohio store but shows out of stock online…”
“Product says in stock on one page then not in stock on the next page, which is it??”


I engaged with the Walmart UX Research team to conduct a usability study on the existing fitment tools. I wanted to find out how users use the tools, what their mental models are about how fitment works, and how they ingest messaging around fitment results. We conducted several moderated remote interviews and usability tests.

We discovered some key findings:

  1. Fitment tools on the page were not seen immediately due to “banner blindness”.
  2. Basic UX issues were exposed including proximity effect problems with disconnected messages and CTAs.
  3. Due to backend implementation the fitment tools load last so some users scroll past the tools before they are loaded missing them entirely.
  4. Customers expected tire fitment to work in search results and those results would will be limited to their vehicle’s proper fit. For example, searching for “2012 Honda Civic tires” should only show tires that fit that vehicle. They don’t.
  5. Users also expected fitment to “stick” in all areas of the site. When customers used filters on the side bar or refine/sort on the top nav, the tires category broke and showed items that would not fit even though the UI looked like it had fitment enabled.
  6. Participants did not know the importance of Load Index and Speed Rating. For example, tire size was considered 245/65/17 rather than 245/65/16 95H.
  7. Interestingly, some users thought they knew their tire size and therefore didn’t feel they needed to engage with the fitment tools. This contributes to the absolutely astounding amount of returns for tires that don’t fit customers vehicles (~$50,000,000.00 in returns per year!)

The broken category issue.

As I continued to use and test the site with fitment I discovered a critical issue with the backend and the way products were categorized contributing to all areas of improper and incorrect fitment. In simple terms, the way the database was setup, top level categories could not be filtered by fitment. For example, If I navigate to a top level category like “tires”, our fitment tools could not parse that level of data, instead you would have to be in the child category “tires”, under the parent category “tires”. Yes, this is very confusing! The issue being that if I performed a fitment query and the items listed all fit my vehicle, then went up to another category like “Shop by brand” the system would lift me out of the child category and into the parent category and although we would lose fitment, it wouldn’t look like we did. And the products displayed, well, some wouldn’t fit.


Phase 1:

  1. Fix the fitment tool placement, presentation, and load times.
  2. Improve fitment messages and CTAs.
  3. Work towards being able to show fit from search queries.
  4. Eliminate the top level category lift issue.
  5. keep fitment intact throughout the site.
  6. Design an education piece for tires to better inform customers.
  7. Create some intentional friction for purchases not using fitment (“Are you sure this fits?”).

Ideal flow (happy path!)

Working with the engineering team, I gave presentations on my intention to improve some of the backend issues. Fixing the category issue was a big engineering task and they got to work right away creating solutions. We also looked at load times and that too was pointed into sprints. For the search issue, it is a massive undertaking that would reside outside the scope of this project, however, data and direction were captured and will hopefully be released at some point. I worked with the Walmart content team to write some better, on brand messaging by capturing all the possible notifications and scenarios. Once the paperwork was done I got set to create revised screens. Walmart has a very extensive and sufficient design library so I was able to get right to it. Where I needed to create additional components for fitment I worked closely with the Living Design team to implement new assets. I set out to simplify the UI and create better proximity of fitment input.

With the improved messaging I was able to implement friendlier, more helpful information. As part of that, I created an education piece for tires. I researched what makes up a tire code and translated that to visuals and short descriptors with more in depth detail around load index and speed ratings.

This approach translated well to different categories like Oil Filters, as well as some concerting around printer ink fitment, lawnmower blade fitment, camera lens fitment and more.

The native UI translated well to web screens with little need for UI pivots or workarounds.

I also worked on a better way to implement vehicle storage, management and cross-account sharing.


Upon delivery of this phase of fitment improvements, I was shifted onto a new project at Walmart for a subscription service called Wallmart+. This version of fitment at the time of this writing is being phased into the site and another team was spun up to continue this interesting, fascinating bit of work. I am proud of the improvements that were made, primarily because they help the customer but also because of the amount of money my solutions save the company to do other great work!

  • Date: May 31, 2022
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