CarpoolWorld does real ride-share matching since 2000. It connects employees to find colleagues to carpool with.
I worked with CarpoolWorld over 3 months to understand their business and product to redesign their mobile app. We collaborated with their team and focused on key areas to improve that would better demonstrate their value to users.
- Mobile App
- Increase User Retention Rate
- Improve data collection (surveys)
- Understanding user journey to improve onboarding
- Streamline data collection
- Lead efforts to redesign essential parts of the app
Evaluating The Existing Web App
Using this feedback, we categorized issues based on severity on a board. Looking at the ‘high severity’ issues gave us a strong indication of the pain points and hence a direction for our design which we eventually opted for.
Proposal — Redesign Goals
Early, Low-fidelity Sketches
Ease & Shorten Onboarding
The app asks users too much information upfront, just to see potential matches. If a match isn’t found, then all that data entry effort would be for nothing!
By working closely with the client’s designers and developers, it was revealed many steps in the onboarding weren’t needed to find carpool matches.
To avoid wasting user effort, onboarding needed to be short and clear. The aim was to ask users only the bare minimum needed to find matches. Moreover, asking only one question per screen allows users to easily focus on the question at hand (Single Responsibility Principle).
Although onboarding was simplified, most of the data that the business needed from users was now omitted. This data is part of CarpoolWorld’s ‘Commuting Habits’ survey. It helps determine an individual’s contribution to the environment.
How might we collect this survey data, without troubling the user every time?
Before — Explicit data collection
While testing the previous version, almost all participants did NOT want to take the survey every week. There can also be a tendency to enter highly skewed data which can be a serious problem!
After — Blind data collection
All the data required by the ‘Commuting Habits’ survey can be automatically collected in the background, without asking the user. This can be achieved using the Google Maps API. It eliminates the need of explicitly asking users for data such as distance driven, fuel consumption and costs.
The Google Maps API helps increase data quality while decreasing user frustration of repeatedly taking a survey.
However, not all information can be auto-collected, we still needed some data that relied on manual user input.
Gradual Data Collection
The remaining data can be gradually collected at relevant moments in the user journey, rather than a forced screen with input fields. Once, the app has provided value to users, there will be less resistance when prompted to take action.
SplitCost (New Feature)
How might we give users something of value before asking for commitment?
SplitCost is a provision to track carpooling expenses for trips and fuel. It aims to create a sense of responsibility and reliability among carpool group members. It also provides an opportunity to gradually engage users.
SplitCost helps address two business needs:
- Retention rate — SplitCost gives a reason for people to keep coming back to the app
- Data collection — Prompt users to enter trip expenses (data) because the app is providing value (via SplitCost) by helping them manage their carpool costs
Testing the Prototype
Test Results & Outcome
- Don’t ask users for commitment early on when you haven’t provided any value
- Don’t let users feel that their efforts were for nothing
- Design with limited information and legal restrictions