Tsunami Express Car Wash


Tsunami Express Car Wash is a private equity backed company with various locations across Wisconsin and Indiana. They operate primarily with subscription-based memberships. As they continue to grow their footprint and membership base, a defined brand with consistent content reflected on their website was necessary.

The current branding and content on the website felt disjointed and lacked a clear brand story. Not to mention, there were many glaring usability issues. Beachy brand copy was developed alongside user-friendly functionality with an eCommerce integration.

My contribution

UX Design UX Research UX Writing

The team

1 脳 project lead 1 脳 designer 1 x vp of growth




Improving usability

While the main goal of the project was to infuse a new brand story across the website, it was also an opportunity to correct usability issues and increase the overall user experience of the website. I used the usability heuristics to identify glaring usability problems in addition to general notes on overall layout, format and design. This audit was used to influence design decisions when redesigning all the site pages.


  • Very design-heavy with not a lot images 鈥 see about finding a balance between both
  • Sections and overall page layouts are long with lots of scrolling 鈥 tighten spacing between sections and elements
  • Copy is too general and filled with jargon 鈥 simplify and condense copy to enhance user鈥檚 understanding
  • Navigation is very disjointed and confusing 鈥 certain pages could be condensed and order of main navigation isn鈥檛 logical

Checking out the competition

In the competitive niche of car wash websites, differentiation is key, especially for subscription-based models like Tsunami Express. Examining competitors' messaging and visuals helped identify areas for Tsunami Express to stand out on its website as this is something they sorely lacked.

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Designing with our customers in mind

Tsunami Express Car Wash, like other membership-based car washes, caters to two customer types: retail washers and members. The aim is to convert retail washers into members by highlighting membership benefits. I crafted two personas to align with these customer groups and their website interactions.

Creating information architecture

Another glaring issue was the overall information architecture, which needed to be modified. While most of the pages were there, the navigation was clunky and not logical. Our goal was to simplify, folding some page content into others while also renaming certain pages to be more straightforward and obvious for users (i.e. 鈥淔ind Us鈥 renamed 鈥淟ocations鈥). Ultimately, it was cleaned up with the clutter reduced.


Proposing new copy and page layouts perfect for the beach

After auditing the website, we proposed edits to improve clarity and align with business goals. Customer feedback confirmed the need for updated copy to match the brand better. We condensed content, ensuring it was easy to understand and consistent with the brand's friendly, informative tone with a tropical flair. Then, I created wireframes and drafted new copy for all pages.

Homepage Design & Microcopy

Based on the heuristic analysis, there were some usability issues to immediately address (across all pages) in addition to enhancing parts of the website. Establishing a consistent hierarchy and type system, condensing spacing and removing overused design elements helped to clean up the interface.


  • Users expressed confusion in the wash menu graphics 鈥 I redesigned them to better communicate each car wash option making a clear differentiation between them
  • The location section (in addition to the separate location page) were using map plugins that weren鈥檛 working correctly 鈥 a custom Google Map was embedded as an interim solution until a future state searchable location page is built
  • Testimonials lacked imagery or illustrations 鈥 the testimonial sections were slightly tweaked to include illustrations of people to provide a human element to the words displayed

About Page (The Tsunami Experience)

While this page existed previously as the benefits page, it required a different name and a major copy overhaul. Car wash terminology and jargon can be very technical, so explaining in easy-to-understand terms was crucial to better tell the 鈥淭sunami Experience鈥 story.


  • Added a carousel that detailed the state-of-the-art car wash technology and equipment being used
  • Users expressed wordiness and lots of text 鈥 sections and paragraphs were rewritten to be digestible and easier to read, reducing cognitive load. This included adding illustrations, infographics and icons to simplify and condense this page

Our Washes Page

While the Washes page had minimal changes, there was some redundant information on it in addition to the membership page. Prioritizing what made sense to include on each page helped to condense both and further reduce user confusion when viewing.


  • Omitted the annual membership section and moved to the actual membership page, condensing copy on page
  • Reduced redundancy of buttons on page

Membership Page

The previous page iteration for memberships contained a lot of content that already existed on the washes page. It lacked any unique selling propositions for customers to purchase memberships. With this in mind, some new copy was drafted to provide benefits and amenities of a monthly membership.


  • Lack of a unique selling proposition 鈥 without a USP for memberships, customers didn鈥檛 have any motivations to purchase them. Adding a 鈥淲hy become a member?鈥 highlighted section with icons helped to show the perks as well as additional benefits

Locations Page

This, along with the contact/support page, required the least amount of work. The main fix here was embedding a custom Google Map to be used in the interim. As the business grows and new locations open across Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota, scaling is important. Building a custom searchable location page will be a future state enhancement to this page.

Help (Contact/Support) Page

With many customer inquiries and customer experience being important for the client, reworking the help page was pivotal to resolving issues and dispelling any doubts on products and equipment used for the car washes.


  • A set of frequently asked questions was developed to help answer common basic customer questions as well as address any customers鈥 hesitations

SEO Location Pages

With SEO being top of mind, it was imperative that SEO location pages were added to the website, especially as new locations open.聽


  • Each page includes brand keywords and phrases that will aid in search ranking on Google
  • While each page has a similar format and layout, section names differ so as to not get flagged by SEO ranking. Each location also does have its own focuses and challenges, so these pages can be used for location specific offers and events


Taking it out for a test drive

Initial usability tests were conducted to make sure everything was functioning correctly and read correctly. With this new iteration of the website, it continues to evolve and be enhanced. New pages have been added since the initial relaunch, including a Community page for the newly launched fundraising program.

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So, what鈥檚 next?

With a new hub for content and information, this is just the beginning for Tsunami Express and the goal of increasing ecommerce customer acquisition. With a seamless integration of the eCommerce provider within the website, it鈥檚 now optimal to evolve lifecycle marketing as part of the customer acquisition strategy. I will continue to support the client as we roll out other features and functionalities, like:

  • Work with their developer to integrate a searchable locations page
  • Further enhance the integration of eCommerce within the look and feel of the website experience (current state directs users to a separate eCommerce site)

Learnings & Results

  • Limited research 鈥 There was a limited amount of resources for research, but I made sure to bridge any gaps and worked with what I had access to. User research was limited, but this was supplemented by customer data and existing secondary research (market research, competitive analysis, heuristic analysis).
  • Presenting design solutions to the client 鈥 This was the first time where I was working in a freelance contract capacity with a marketing agency. Despite the client and I not having prior collaboration experience, a working relationship and trust was built early on thanks to my effective presentation and recommendations. The client was largely impressed by how quickly and efficiently the project was completed.
  • Since launching the new website, the website has seen XXX pageviews and decreased the bounce rate to XX%.