A Rideshare App for my Granny

Scope

User research, UX design, UI design

timeline

5 Months. Completed in Apr 2019

role

Bootcamp student at Springboard

Recognition

1 of 2 featured alumni projects at Springboard Rise Summit 2019

My Granny doesn’t have a smart phone.

At 90 years old, my grandma, who lives in the Bay Area, sneaked out of the house, hopped into her car, and took a drive. She got into — thankfully — a very a minor accident. We took away her keys.
The US is notoriously auto-centric. Once you are no longer fit to drive, you are at risk of suffering from depression as a direct result of declining mobility and social isolation.
Can we design a rideshare system that is frictionless to seniors who are not amenable to technology, and that could help them feel independent?
* Even though this is an old bootcamp project, I made the most of it by delving deep into what I believe to be a significant and purposeful challenge — designing for old age. I have also been invited by Springboard to present this project multiple times as an alum to current students. For these reasons, I still keep it in my portfolio.

title

A Rideshare App for my Granny

Scope

User research, UX design, UI design

timeline

5 Months, Completed in Apr 2019

role

Bootcamp student at Springboard

Recognition

1 of 2 featured alumni projects at Springboard Rise Summit 2019

problem

This is a conversation we had also with my grandma, many times over.

How might we design a rideshare app/service for senior citizens who may not even have smartphones, so that they can live an independent and empowered lifestyle?

Solution

Connect older riders with retirees as drivers.

A rideshare app that helps otherwise-homebound older adults connect with younger, retired individuals who can offer them concierge driving services, so that both parties can be empowered to live active and socially-connected lifestyles.

The driver logs the ride, not the rider.

Unlike Lyft or Uber, in this design it is the driver who executes the task of logging an appointment into the system, not the rider. This frees up the rider to communicate a booking request through multiple methods: web-chat, landline, or in person.

The app booking experience anticipates the way a natural conversation plays out.

Because the driver him/herself is also an older adult, accessibility is still a critical concern. In this project, it is delivered by anticipating how a natural conversation plays out.

Synthesizing research

25

Screener surveys

4

Interviews with older adults

5

Inverviews with caregivers

What brightens the day of older adults?

1. Their greatest need is companionship;
2. Empowerment means feeling useful.

User stories

Competitive analysis

Learning from other comparable services.

I studied two likely competitors, Go Go Grandparent and Smart Ride, and examined them based on three heuristic principles of UX. In addition, based off my secondary research on designing for older adults, I also considered how these services may make older users feel. Would they make them feel empowered or disempowered? Does it encourage or discourage ageism?

Ultimately, I felt that Smart Ride took a much more delicate approach to solving the user problem. I took much of the learnings and observations and applied them in this design project.

Playful opportunities when designing for older users:
1. Design products that can seamlessly blend into their everyday lives;
2. Creatively reframe the meaning of old age;
3. Explore synergies between digital and analog mediums;
4. Require limited or invisible supervision from caregivers;
5. Avoid ageist stigmatism and embody high emotional intelligence.
Interactions on the app should mimic real life. The Rider should receive the most superior concierge service. The Driver should find the complex navigations to be seamless and frictionless.

information architecture

Not another Uber.
Unlike Uber, the burden of entering the appointment into the app’s system falls upon the Driver, and thus it’s the hardest red route to design. The slides illustrates how while the booking process for the Rider is straightforward and linear, the Driver’s app is where most of the heavy-lifting occurs.
Then, I started the design process.

paper prototyping

Hand-sketching a bilingual app.

First, I sketched out the prototype on paper and used POP by Marvel and turned it into a digital prototype for usability testing.

I ended up creating a bilingual prototype. This is because from my user research interviews that, I realized that for older adults who were minorities in the US, language gaps presented bigger obstacles to digital accessibility than “tech illiteracy.” It is also a problem for the younger family member who tries to provide care, because the language on the screen is in written rather than oral form, which exacerbates that gap.

From usability testing, the bilingual presentation of information, and the persistent option to switch between the two languages proved to be extremely helpful in many situations.

😖😫😣 Have you ever tortured a group of seniors with an unbearably hard-to-use product? I have.

mid-fi prototyping

My test participants loathed the experience. Why?

🥶 Test participants hated my prototype, especially the long scrolls, bottom tabs, and swipe gestures. They questioned every microcopy. The usability test was exceedingly painful to watch, as I felt like I was torturing the elderly users that so kindly offered to help me with my assignment.

After testing it with 3 users, I decided not to torture more.

“I would never use this product. It’s not user-friendly at all.”

— Usability Test Participant (70s)

Turning point

A little epiphany.
I had a little breakthrough while watching the Netflix “choose-your-own-ending” movie, Bandersnatch. Notice how “even though it’s a complicated story, the viewer never really gets lost!
What has this to do with the design?
Even though most of the design failed at the testing round, I noticed that whenever elderly users reached these screens, they got through them in a breeze and let out sighs of relief.
When users were only presented with one or two obvious call-to-actions, they had no doubts about what the next step was.

And so, I went back to the drawing board, and redesigned all the screens.

Final solution

So?
There are two main ways that John, the homebound elderly can get a ride. He can either call Rebecca through a phone number that Ann, his caregiver, leaves for him on the kitchen fridge. If he is tech-savvy and has a smart phone, he can go ahead to do so on his app.

Check out some screenshots below:
Rider's app
driver's app

“That was painless”

— the last usability test participant (60s)
How might an elderly make a ride booking without having a smart phone? The answer: The driver does the booking for her/him. The solution relies heavily on accessibility and anticipatory design that aims at minimizing cognitive load.

Takeaways

The timing of performing usability testing is just as important as the frequency.

Especially for complex systems. It's never what you think.

Focus on perfecting a small portion rather than working too broad a scope at once.

Don't discover problems too late in the game. Validate key design decisions before moving onto the next stage

Thank you for your time!

Honestly? This project is a bit old. Why not read something more contemporary?