What I’ve Got – Uber User Experience

This week’s challenge has me thinking about user interfaces, and the link between desirable online experiences and desirable real-life experiences. It only took a few years for Uber to become a billion-dollar international company, and it has permanently changed the face of both urban transport and crowd-sourced business models. I decided to look at Uber’s app interface for a few qualities we could all use in designing user experiences.

  1. Don’t reinvent patterns. Uber does not attempt a sexy new mapping system, instead relying on google maps we are all familiar with. They also use instantly recognizable icons, such as the dropped pin and different car silhouettes.
  2.  Design simply. Uber has an incredibly simple app, with only two pages to deal with. Page one for location, page two for payment. Click twice and you’re set.
  3. Provide feedback. The main page on Uber’s app constantly updates so that you know what you are seeing is real-time, a critical component for this specific business.

Now, what makes the real-life experience desirable? 

  1. Clear expectations. When and where are you being picked up? Where you are going? How do you get there? How much will it cost? How much will you tip? These are all questions that must be negotiated and clarified on the spot in a typical user-driver experience. With Uber, all of these questions are settled effortlessly and ahead of time, with neither party needing to worry about miscommunication.
  2. Seamless transactions. After the first few seconds of setting up your Uber account, you never have to think about payment again. Amazon might have one-click ordering, but there are few exchanges in real life that are so effortless. I am excited to see the Uber transaction system take over other areas of our lives. Imagine walking into a grocery store, grabbing what you need, walking out, and having your account automatically charged with whatever you are carrying. People enjoy not having to think about money (if they don’t have to, that is), and businesses certainly enjoy that lack of awareness as well.  
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