Moving forth with new modalities, Uber provides users a space to see and compare short-distance rides.
Uber did not have a non-subsidized mobility solution to meet the price, flexibility, and speed needs of most daily, urban commuters.
The objective was to create a service that provides a dependable, flexible and delightful short distance transportation solution for commute, urban, first and last mile travel, leisure… and walking replacement.
When I was brought on as an intern in June of 2018, the Uber bikes platform had recently been finished. My task was to design the end-to-end experience of riding a Scooter, a mode of riding that would be integrated into the bikes space.
The scooter minimum viable product (MVP) needed to be delivered by the end of August in time for launch in September.
While differentiating supply is taking Uber in the right strategic direction, Uber is currently under-invested in customer service and inconsistent in their approach to new partner contracts.
The Uber as a Platform mission is to “unbundle the personal car” by becoming the go-to for local transportation across transit, taxis, carshare, bikes, and scooters.
Since launching in 2017, free-floating, shared eScooters have demonstrated tremendous short distance mobility product market fit. Lime alone reports reaching incremental million trip milestones 2x faster than ride share players and investors report that scooters hit ~37% IRR. Not surprisingly, high per scooter utilization and low field operations (repair, recharge, reposition) cost are the key drivers).
eScooters are clearly in the midst of a major venture funded hype cycle. As a result, incumbents are unlikely to want to work with Uber non-exclusively until growth begins to plateau.
The following are the core problems this product aims to solve, largely aligned with those of bikes:
Aversion to walking the first/last mile - While the distance may vary from person to person, there’s a distance threshold past which riders will refuse to walk the last mile.
Electric Bikes not suited to first/last mile needs - Form factor, startup friction (i.e. adjusting seats, not knowing how to ride) and pricing make e-bikes a less attractive option.
Managing multiple apps is a burden - The recent explosion of micro-mobility solutions has exaggerated onerous cross app-comparisons. Users prefer to have all options in one app.
Want low physical effort and safety - When comparing eScooters to eBikes, riders perceive eScooters to be faster since they require zero effort.
Short distance rideshare trips are expensive - UberPool base fares are much more costly than self-serve / mass transit modes, making it unattractive for high frequency use cases like commuting to school / work, going to restaurants, visiting friends / recreation, running errands.
Short distance trips take too long during commuting hours - Weekday mornings and evenings are peak demand times for UberPool and UberX. Uber, bus, or metro can be inefficient for point-to-point transfer depending on traffic, schedule, pickup ETA and location.
Mass transit has coverage gaps - No low cost, high availability mobility solution for all areas.
Uber does not have a non-subsidized mobility solution to meet the price, flexibility, and speed needs of most daily, urban commuters.
Uber Scooters will provide a dependable, flexible and delightful short distance transportation solution for commute, urban, first and last mile travel, leisure… and walking replacement.
To create an Uber Rider App experience that allows users to find, reserve, and scooters (in addition to bikes) in a safe, responsible, and carefree way. The key trip phases and components are:
1) Finding a Scooter — Scooters are pervasive and discoverable on their own. Units must be outfitted with instructions for how to get started in the Uber App. Upon opening the Uber app , users should navigate to the same eMobility view.
2) Account Creation — Some states require that users have a valid driver’s license to ride a scooter. Depending on the regulation, we need to (1) acknowledge they have a driver’s license or (2) scan their license or (3) do nothing.
3) Starting a Trip — QR code support for starting a trip on a particular unit. when the unit is scanned, the following are displayed: price, battery level, scooter number, physical location, and option to choose a credit card on file.
4) Education — Before being allowed to start a trip, new users receive safety and functionality training prior to taking a first trip. The education areas include: where to ride (bike lane), where and how to park, helmet requirement, and how to use the scooter.
5) Riding a Scooter — Once a trip has started, riders can see a state change from pre-trip to on-trip. The on trip view provides the user with all Education resources, such as current location, network coverage area on map, estimated total cost of trip, and CTA to end the current trip.
6) Ending a Trip — Either device or app triggered flow (but likely app triggered for MVP). Upon completion of a trip, the user will be able to access last trip summary through a receipt that will include the following: trip cost; date, start time, end time and duration, and payment method.
7) Support / Help — Where users go to view information about past trips or to report an issue.
Based on the feature narrative, we began to construct the user experience flow, taking into consideration the following:
1) First time user experience vs. returning user experience
2) Bikes vs. scooters flow and their differing technologies
4) Differing city regulations (effects driver's license collection, parking photo collection, and content of safety tips)
5) Other map elements (i.e. map markers, city zones, operations/rebalancing hubs)
Bikes & Scooters Home
Legal onboarding (FTE)
Reserved / navigation
Camera access (FTE)
Scan to unlock
The next row of screens are first-time safety instructions. I made the illustrations in order to (1) help clarify the text and to (2) interest the user in staying longer on these pages before they begin their ride.
Where to ride (FTE)
Helmet requirement (FTE)
Where to park (FTE)
How to ride (FTE)
On trip & sheet reveal
What happens when the user zooms out of the map? The map becomes very cluttered and the bikes become a cluster of red. So we began to brainstorm ways to smartly cluster the bikes as the map gets smaller. Our goals:
1) Reduce visual clutter and decrease cognitive load.
2) Preserve real supply on the map at neighbor and city levels.
3) Reduce unnecessary user interactions.
That's where city badges come in.
Map zoom interaction
Several Californian cities have already adopted Uber Bikes & Scooters, including San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.
The below cities (randomly placed for demonstration) will be adopting Uber Bikes in the next couple months. Icons were created in Adobe Illustrator in isometric or 3D style in order to go along with Uber's 3D map icons aesthetic. I made several iterations of each city, so duplicates may appear.
Scanned different scooter
Out of city
No valid payment on file
Location services off
How pricing works
The months of July and August were filled with stakeholder meetings. Product PoCs Gabe and I met with PMs, content, legal, marketing/comms, and engineering to review our work. Iteration after iteration was made to distill our MVP down to a very lightweight, bare-minimum version. I’ve included screens that have either been discarded or planned for a later release.
Home (with filter button)
I had the privilege of traveling to L.A. with an amazing researcher to talk to users and conduct usability testings. Santa Monica has an enormous market for electric bikes and scooters—they were everywhere.
I got to ride an electric scooter for the first time here. Gliding idly along the boardwalk during sunset with the gentle ocean breeze fanning your face... and I was getting paid to do all this?
Contrary to what the media sometimes says, Uber's culture was not in the least bit aggressive or toxic.
My three favorite aspects of the culture:
1) The autonomy
2) Smart & efficient workflow
I was also given the opportunity to return to work full-time.
Before you go, if you're interested... check out this article I published about my biggest takeaways from Uber.