Pixel Delights - User Experience Design Portfolio of Gareth Howlett - Quote Me Happy

The AA Smartbadge

Giving members a reason to stick with us

COMPANY: Quote Me Happy | INDUSTRY: Insurance | TYPE: Product strategy and design

my role

I came up with the concept, design and development of the AA Smart Badge. I partnered with a member of the marketing team to uncover insights and organise customer trials.

I project managed and produced all major deliverables and presented these to stakeholders between December 2014 and February 2015 in parallel with my other ongoing projects.

the challenge

Increase usage of The AA Car Sticker

I was tasked by the CEO of The AA to update the traditional AA windscreen sticker with something that offers real value to our Members while still maximising the exposure of the AA brand.

For over 50 years AA members were issued with an AA badge to affix to their vehicle as a way of AA patrols identifying them as Members who would then salute them and warn them of speed traps along the way.

Today yellow AA stickers to all new AA Members. There is limited evidence to suggest that these stickers are of any real functional benefit to the AA or our Members.


We sent out a questionnaire to over 2000 AA members to gauge the number who used the sticker and what it meant to them.

Feedback was positive, many saying they did affix the sticker to their windscreen as they found it reassuring. Customers also suggested the placement of Feedback also was around how the sticker could have useful information such as telephone numbers and website address

I presented a number of concepts to the CEO and the customer board which through a number of concepts which included a redesign of the existing sticker, a keyring and a welcome pack. Feedback included “didn't go far enough”, lack of visibility and not with budget.

Back to the drawing board I referred back to my notes seeing a quote from the CEO. “If Apple designed car stickers, how would it look?” It was then that the word smart surfaced, smart sticker, smart badge.

What if the badge was functional and serviced commuters interacted using their phones as part of their daily commute, just as it did 100 years ago.

I did research into wireless technologies with the three main types being QR codes, Beacons and NFC. After further investigation I found NFC to be the most viable option due to weight, size, cost and accessibility.

NFC is a form of wireless communication that allows the flow of information between two devices. The technology is widely used for contactless payments, keycards and ticketing services.


Looking into the various functions that NFC could perform I wanted to push it further than just launching an app, dialling a number or switching to car mode.

I wanted it to provide drivers with contextual information based on their location to assist them on their journey. I saw it as a preview to our App and an incentive to download or register with myAA.

I dug deeper into Geo location services and how might we use them. Regarding the UI; the idea was that users would have what they need at a glance, a sort of dashboard.

With limited time available I ordered a sample of NFC chips and built a webpage with geo location code to test the viability of my ideas and see how far I could push them.


AA Members can interact / access AA services simply by tapping their phone on their AA smart badge


We trialed the smart badge with 1000 customers and feedback was very encouraging. Allot said they would use it as part of their daily commute.

Feedback from stakeholders was encouraging, however there were some concerns that the use of a mobile phone while driving went against our safety campaigns

Apple’s NFC capability is restricted


It was agreed to hold out and see if Apple would open their NFC functionality to third party developers. This and other projects of higher priorities meant the Smart Badge was pushed back and our main focus steered towards The AA App.