UX/UI Design
UX Research
4 weeks
the problem
Uber is a ride-hailing service that has become popular for its ride sharing options and convenience. However, a problem that users face is surge pricing. Bad weather, rush hour, and special events may cause unusually large numbers of people who are trying to request an Uber at the same time. Surge pricing can be anywhere from double to eight times the original fare.

For special events, this can leave users with no way to return home for a long period of time unless they want to accept a fare that can often be over $100. Although Uber informs drivers what areas are surging, there is currently no feature that shows users what areas are priced higher than their usual fare.
the solution
I saw an opportunity to introduce a feature to Uber's existing app that will address the lack of flexibility users have with surge pricing.

Currently, Uber drivers are able to see what areas are surging to accept higher fares. Surge pricing is treated as an incentive for drivers - but what about the riders?

The new feature, Uber Walk, will allow users to see what areas are surging on a map and the pricing ranges for different areas near them. Users will be able to see how far they will need to walk in order to have a lower fare.
If drivers can benefit from surge pricing, why can't riders?
project goals
understanding trends
In order to add a feature that doesn't currently exist, I conducted a competitive analysis to look at how leading ride-hailing app competitors are succeeding and falling short. It was especially important to note what features each of the competitors provided for their users, as well as how they compared to Uber's performance and service offerings.

Lyft is one of Uber's biggest competitors, but no other app treats surge pricing as an incentive for riders. Other ride hailing apps like Lyft handle surge pricing similarly to Uber, to the point where they are so similar that users treat them interchangeably when looking up ride pricing. Although features such as ride scheduling have become popular across many ride-hailing apps, surge maps for riders are not a concept yet.
"[This feature] sounds great. People try to walk all the time to try and get a lower price anyway, so having some clarity as to where to walk would be really helpful."
what do users think?
To confirm that the hypothesized problem is indeed an issue, user interviews were conducted to have a better understanding of how users feel about surge pricing and how they deal with it. Most participants agreed they are frustrated with not having alternative travel options when rides are surging and that they would like to be able to walk for a discounted fare with the proposed feature.

5 participants in their mid-20s were were interviewed 1-on-1.
10 participants between the 20-30 years old were asked to share their thoughts through a survey.
who is the target audience?
To consolidate all of the users' needs, motivations, and frustrations, two personas were created to have a specific user in mind when creating this new feature, Uber Walk. It was important to keep two main types of users in mind when designing Uber Walk because of the different things people would need depending on the time of day - riders who tend to call Ubers during the day or as a part of their commute have different things to consider than riders who tend to call Ubers during late hours or after special events.

Noah primarily calls Ubers during the day to travel between work locations with his coworkers and equipment
Carrie mostly uses Uber as her mode of transportation late at night for safety reasons and at special events - she usually depends on Uber as her only mode of transportation unlike Noah, who uses it primarily out of convenience
"I didn't know drivers could see surge like that alreadylet's give more power to the riders 👏🏻"
mapping flows
Uber Walk's main goal is to give riders as much flexibility as possible with their travel during surge pricing. Uber Walk is incorporated into Uber's existing main task flow; calling an UberX.

Before building out the wireframes, it was important to go through the current flow of calling an Uber to make sure the new walk feature would integrate seamlessly into the existing task flow.

Detailed User Flow
key features and elements
The research informed a lot about what features would be needed to address the user frustrations. It was important to identify which features would be added based on both the competitive and user research.
These features were then implemented in Uber Walk's initial sketches and wireframes.

Surge pricing map on the rider side
Should be integrated into Uber's UI
Navigate riders to pickup spot with walking directions

Organization by both walking time and distance
Price comparison to normal Uber fares
Multiple fare options and walking distances

user interface
For the design, all elements followed Uber's existing UI kit. For new elements that needed to be designed, the interface was kept similar to Uber's design. The surge map was a new element that had to be designed, but was created with a similar heat map as the Uber graphics for the driver's side.
Introducing Uber Walk - for when surge pricing is just too dang high.
View Prototype
Seeing high surge prices can deter riders from Ubers.
When prices are surging, Uber Walk will be suggested at the top of Uber's service list. Riders will be able to see that fares are higher due to increased demand, as well as how low they can potentially get a fare for through Uber Walk.

Onboarding screens explain how the new feature works upon opening the app, as well as after the feature has been selected when calling a ride
After choosing to call an Uber Walk, users will be able to customize their trip by adjusting their desired fare and walking distance before being picked up by a driver
Riders cannot see what fares are around their area.
Uber Walk shows riders what areas are in lower demand and allows them to walk to those areas to meet a driver for a lower fare.

Users can choose from different surge areas
Walking distance, trip fare, estimated walking time, and estimated time of arrival are shown with each ride option
Users can see how much cheaper their trip will be in comparison to the current surging UberX price
Users will need to walk to meet up with their driver.
After confirming a pickup spot and requesting an Uber Walk, the rider will be matched with a driver that will meet them at the pickup spot. Uber will then navigate the user to their pickup spot with a walking navigation option and step by step directions.

Users always see how far away their driver is, as well as the estimated walking time to get to their pickup spot
Once the rider has met up with their driver, they will be picked up and driven to their final destination.
usability testing
After developing the product, it was important to put Uber Walk to the test with some usability testing.

When conducting usability testing, 18 individuals said that Uber Walk was well organized and that it worked well with Uber’s existing app and interface. Users felt like most of the key features needed were present on Uber Walk’s screens, and overall they identified little to no major issues with the new feature.

For the issues that were brought up, users mentioned wanting even more ways to see prices and distances, whether it was a list or just more graphic representations of the information. Some users also felt that it might be hard to gauge distances on a map outside of a city. The last pain point, which was highlighting the selected walking regions on the map was actually implemented since the initial product, and was what was shown in the earlier screens.
next steps
Moving forward, the next steps for Uber Walk would be to make priority revisions based on the usability test feedback and to work with a developer to see what elements aren’t feasible.

Uber could also clarify how this new feature works to new and existing users. Though there are currently onboarding screens, Uber would also need to flesh out how this new feature would slightly change the experience on the driver side.

Having additional viewing options for pickup, walking trips, and surge areas was one of the main things brought up in the usability test feedback and it would helpful to address especially when considering how this feature would work outside of metropolitan areas.

And lastly, Uber would need to consider how this new feature could work together with other existing Uber features like Uber Pool and Uber Reserve - so, how would users be able to use this new walking feature when combined with ride sharing and when scheduling trips much further in advance?
Wanting additional viewing options for rides.
After reviewing the user feedback and the next steps laid out for this feature, I took one of the main points brought up during testing and tried exploring an additional solution.

Users said they wanted more ways of viewing what rides and fares are available to them. An alternative way to view ride options could be to show all available rides in a list format.

This could also be organized by the amount of rewards points that users would receive after the trip. This could be good for rewards-driven users, and could potentially motivate users to accept cheaper rides that would give them more Uber Rewards.