In India, ride-sharing services like Ola and Uber offer cash payments in addition to paying with credit and debit cards. There is friction between the riders and drivers while making cash payments once the ride is over.
The situation triggered me to conduct user research to identify problems. I designed an experience tying research findings to eliminate friction during post-ride experience. I also evaluated the concept through usability testing and iterated to craft a better solution that addressed the needs of everyone involved post-ride.
The outcome of the research is a concept called Wallet. The concept becomes functional when the rider does not tender exact fare and the driver does not have change for balance.
When drivers don't have exact cash for balance payments, they can credit the money to the rider's wallet.
Results from the usability testing showed users were concerned about the accumulation of credits in their wallet.
In addition to using the credits for future rides, riders can transfer credits to their bank account.
I asked 10 friends who often use ride-sharing services and 7 drivers who drive for a ride-sharing service about their experience post-ride, specifically during the payment process. The findings revealed that there is an unpleasant situation when riders don’t tender exact fare and drivers don’t have change for the balance amount.
From the insights gathered from user research, we can come to a conclusion that the experience designed should be in such a way that,
Wallet is a concept that enables drivers to return balance money in the form of credits. The credits in the wallet can be used as payments for future rides.Wallet establishes a hassle free, frictionless post-ride experience for both riders and drivers. It eliminates the need for riders and drivers to have the right amount of cash.
Wallet comes into play when the driver does not have right amount of cash to pay balance fare to the rider. The driver chooses to pay the balance fare to riders as credits in their wallet.
I did guerilla usability testing with both riders and drivers with the lo-fi prototypes. The response with drivers were highly positive. They felt it indeed will save a lot of time for them and they don't have the pressure to always carry cash with them. The feelings of Riders were mutual as well. Although all the riders liked the experience, except one who expressed their concern.
A participant worried the credits would accumulate and become unusable. The cause of the concern was that some drivers expect cash payments and avoid passengers who make prepaid payments.
The below diagram dissects the problem. The accumulation of credits is caused by drivers not accepting prepaid rides which in turn is caused by their necessity to have cash to make their everyday expenses.
Due to the lack of ATMs, cash payment problems have become common. Digital payments also give rise to cash problems since it reduces the cash flow among people thus limiting the usage of it. I feel ride-sharing services are slowly switching to digital payments until I read Uber has planned to expand the cash payments. This solution could be implemented, tested, and iterated when the problem is on a smaller scale before expanding the cash payment feature in a larger scale.
This project gave me a chance to utilize my skills as a user researcher. I stepped out of my comfort zone several times to talk to different people, especially the drivers. It was a new experience to see people using my designs in person. The usability testing revealed a pain-point and made me realise how significant testing is for a successful project. I also tried my best to not stay away from personal design choices and to stick research findings to user interface design. I also l to be extra careful while designing the interactions as they come into play at the most anxious part of the trip.