Uber has always been my favorite app, but I often have this problem, where I watch my Uber cars drive pass by me. Then the Uber drivers try to U-turn and get back to where I am. If that fails, I receive a call and describe where I am - like I’m in front of this restaurant.
Through this redesign, I wanted to explore if there are any design solutions to this situation.
Persona & Research
Before diving into the problem, I wanted to understand what other users are going through. I met up with a lot of my friends to ask face to face about their pickup experience on Uber app. I took decent amount of notes, and based on those, I created 3 persona that generalized my friends:
Lives in an apartment
Ubers to work
Uber drivers often pass the apartment entrance and drive elsewhere
What if Rebecca can describe locations beforehand?
Works in a busy street
Ubers to home
Hard time finding the Uber, and the drivers will never find Nick from the crowd
What if the drivers knew who Nick was beforehand?
Student at a local college
Ubers frequently to hangout
Satisfied with the current UX
What if the feature was optional for James?
I also wanted to understand the other side - the drivers. Some of the important feedback were:
Rebecca can specify the location, but drivers are always driving so they can't read long text. But it would certainly be very helpful to know which store she is in front of, especially because they know the local areas.
Even if they know how Nick looked like, it is impossible for drivers to look at all the passengers' faces to determine Nick.
Many of the trips end up fine. Is this really worth pursuing?
I looked at the mission statement and some basic math to answer the question:
First of all, Uber should because Uber's core mission is "Transportation as reliable as running water" and the bad pickup experience ruins the mission.
Secondly, let's look at how much money Uber will be saving. Let's assume Uber drivers spend, on average, 5 extra minute to come back to the right pickup location. According to TechCrunch, there are 5.5 million rides a day on 2016. Even if we assume that this bad pickup experience happen as little as 0.01% time, 2750 minutes are being lost per day. That is money for drivers to make, for Uber to make, and that is the precious time that riders need to get from point A to B.
Now that we know more about this opportunity and impact, I created a journey map to take a closer look at the pain points.
With this, I focused on exploring and solving the two pain points: Location and Rider Appearance.
With tons and tons of exploration and talking to drivers and riders, I finally came up with these two solutions:
Easy to detect the riders.
Simple swipe bar for riders to select.
Black shirt and white shirt.
Unclear as to whether user can leave this part blank.
Easily add location by using prefix like in front of.
Will show up on driver's app in less than 4 words.
Word limit indicator.
Where would it show up on the driver's app?
There are a lot of things to still consider and design.
I'd really love to go deeper into this idea, as I think it will drastically improve the pickup experience. I really like what I did with add location detail. I hope Uber can take a look to see if this will really help the drivers or not, although I do understand that this is more of an engineering problem that Uber is facing everyday in their internal teams. After I showed the UI to Uber drivers, I got positive comments that it will potentially help a lot, but I'd love to see responses from a larger population.
Awesome design challenge. Now off to my internship at PlayStation!