Redesigning the GoCar booking experience

Redesigning_the_GoCar_booking_experience

This case study was written by Karl McClelland [mentored by Katarina Hrgovic and Valentina Antunovic]

Overview

This project involved identifying and examining a user experience problem with an existing product. For this assignment I focused on GoCar, a car-sharing app thatʼs very popular in Dublin and around the republic of Ireland.

Background

GoCar is the first and leading Car-Sharing service in Ireland. GoCar members can book cars via the app for as little as an hour, then locate and unlock the car with their phone; the keys are in the car, with fuel, insurance and city parking all included. Rates start from €8 per hour, with 50 km of driving included on each trip. Users can sign up to GoCar and locate nearby vehicles based on their location, use the vehicle and then return to its original location (Go-base). Users can currently book a vehicle through four main methods: via time, via location, via vehicle or by tapping on a nearby Go-base and inputting the requested time.


Methodology

The design methodology utilised throughout this project was the double diamond design model. The official Double Diamond design model has four stages: Discovery, Definition, Development and Delivery. This model features two divergent phases where exploration identifies problems and generates solutions and two convergent phases where the focus is to narrow down on single solution and deliverable.

Double Diamond
Double Diamond design framework

Stage 1: Discover

This phase involved uncovering and understanding the user problem, rather than just assuming what the problem is. It mainly involved analysing user data relating to Go-Car and speaking/spending time with the people who are affected by the issues. The objective of this stage was to identify and contextualise the actual problem or opportunity.


Defining the problem

The preliminary research began by filtering through reviews of the GoCar app via the Google play store. This was to determine any obvious user problems and help steer the mode of inquiry in relation to user research.I read through hundreds of reviews and began recording emerging themes. After accumulating consistent themes, I condensed them into a handful of user problems. Narrowing down recurring themes allowed me to direct the further research into a particular direction.

Customer complains
Customer complains
Consistent user problems
Consistent user problems

User Interviews

I conducted user interviews with three participants. These were semi structured with a combination of open and closed questions. The goal of these interviews was to understand the pain points from the perspective of the user when interacting with the product, and to affirm or conflict with any previous research. Preliminary research helped inform the interview questions and avenue of inquiry. Three users of Go-Car participated in these interviews. The interview questions focused on pain points of the app in relation to time sensitive scenarios and methods of booking a vehicle as well as opportunities to improve the product.

Issues highlighted by participants of the interview
Issues highlighted by participants of the interview

The key findings taken from these interviews were as follows:

  • There are too many separate methods or paths to reserve a vehicle.
  • The booking process can be unnecessarily complicated.
  • The UI design is dated and aesthetically unappealing.
  • Thereʼs not enough information available in relation to pricing and vehicles etc.
  • The app can initially be difficult to use, but easy enough once you become familiar with the UI
  • Users sometimes have to re-enter booking details if a car is not available for requested time, rather than showing local vehicles available for requested time.

User Survey

After refining the problem that needed to be addressed, an online survey was created and disseminated using Google forms. The target audience were regular users of the Go-Car app. The goal of this survey was to gain further insights into the pains and gains of individuals who use the app and help reinforce previous research findings. Again, the research gathered so far helped inform the survey questions. The survey received 15 responses.

Key findings:

  • 82% of users were between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • 60.2% of users didnʼt think the booking process was efficient and easy to use.
  • 58.3% of users believed the booking process could be less time consuming.
  • 65% of Users begin a booking by tapping on a nearby GoBase and then request by time.
  • 46.3% of users thought that time was the most important element when reserving a car and 35% believed that the vehicle was the most important.
  • 71% of users believed the UI design was unappealing
  • 78% of users believed that the booking process would be easier if the various methods of reserving were consolidated into one system

These findings were encouraging regarding the direction of further research. The results reinforced prior research conducted and helped eliminate or affirm preconceived thoughts about the problem in relation to a user experience of Go-Car.


Competitive Analysis

It was important to be aware of the competitors involved in similar services in order to establish common features, determine how other companies have addressed similar issues, and distinguish any gaps in the market. This analysis discerned that other similar competitors mainly use a combination of time date and vehicle type in order to determine available local cars. The key feature they all had in common was a singular UI system of reserving a car, essentially – users enter time, date and vehicle type and the app uses your current location to show local available vehicles, which the user can then choose and confirm booking.
The UI of these competitors were contemporary, sleek and very aesthetically appealing.

Competitive Analysis results
Competitive Analysis results

User Testing

As this project involves redesigning elements of an existing product, user testing was an important stage in the design process. User testing was conducted with three users. Participants were asked to complete the main task of booking a vehicle. Users were encouraged to think out loud and verbally express any pain points they were experiencing. It was also important to consider the element of familiarity on the part of the user when testing, so I made sure one of the participants had never used the app before.

User Testing
User Testing
Key Findings from Testing
Key Findings from Testing

Key findings from the user testing reaffirmed previous feedback. This was encouraging and helped strengthen the focus of the project. All research conducted at this stage pointed to a UX issue regarding the process of reserving a car on the app. Analyzing user feedback concluded that there are too many separate channels of booking a car. This can be time consuming, particularly if the requested time is not available. Another consistent problem uncovered was the appʼs unappealing aesthetic design. This can add to a users perception of reliability or usability of a product. This is referred to as ʻThe Aesthetic Usability Effectʼ (K.Moran,2017), which refers to “users’ tendency to perceive attractive products as more usable. People tend to believe that things that look better will work better — even if they arenʼt actually more effective or efficient. In other words, users have a positive emotional response to your visual design, and that makes them more tolerant of minor usability issues on your site”, (K.Moran,2017). This might suggest that the lack of aesthetic sensibility of the app could be contributing to a poor user experience and relationship towards the product in relation to reliability.

From this point on, the project became focused around the process of reserving a vehicle along with the aesthetic design of the UI.


Stage 2: Define

The insight gathered from the discovery phase helped define and inform this next phase of the project. This stage of the project essentially involved elaborating on, and filtering through, the different components and findings of the research. Refining the problem was the main objective of this stage. This stage also involves assessing what can be done in relation to possible product solutions.


Problem Statement

The goal of Go-Car users is to book and use a car in their general location easily and efficiently. However the booking process has too many channels of reserving a vehicle. There are currently four different methods of reserving vehicles on the app. Success using these methods all depend on whether the vehicle is available for use for the requested time, if not, the user must re-engage with the interface to perform the task of reserving a vehicle. The poor and dated UI design of the app evokes a sense of unreliability and can enhance the perceived inefficiency of the product by the user.

Improvement could be gained through enhancing the efficiency of use in relation to reserving a vehicle. Allowing the user to book a car in their general location with ease and efficiency should increase user engagement. Improving the UI design of the app should evoke a greater sense of reliability in the user.


User Journey Map

I generated a user experience map in order to visualise the entire end-to-end user experience that an average user will go through in order to accomplish a goal and for understanding general user behaviour in a larger context. This step in the design process helped to visualise a baseline understanding of an experience prior to taking the product design into consideration.

User Journey Map
User Journey Map

User Personas

Based on the analysis of the user research gathered, user personas were created which was a valuable step in the design process in relation to understanding user backgrounds, motivations and frustrations.

Primary user persona - Eoin
Primary user persona – Eoin
Secondary user persona - Eamon
Secondary user persona – Eamon

Empathy Map

Understanding the product from the perspective of the user was important before continuing the research. Utilising tools like empathy maps greatly helped get inside the user’s head and allowed me to focus on the users needs/goals in relation to using the product. This map was informed by the previous preliminary user research.

Empathy Map
Empathy Map

Task Flow

Analysing the structure and task flow of Go-Car was an important step in illustrating the complexity and issue with the booking system. Below is the current task flow a user must engage with in order to reserve a car. It is fairly extensive and complex.

Go Car Task Flow
Go Car Task Flow

 

It was useful to create a task flow of a popular competitorʼs product with similar features. Below is the task flow of reserving a car on Sixt, a similar car sharing app. This user task flow is much more concise and efficient for the user. From this point it was clear that the redesignʼs structure should try to emulate something similar.

Sixt - Task flow
Sixt – Task flow

 


Stage 3: Design

This stage of the project involved a multidisciplinary set of actions to develop and ideate possible solutions to the user problem. This initially began with paper prototyping, wireframing and then producing a minimal viable product which could be tested on users. From this point the project consisted of testing and new design iterations.


Low fidelity prototype

The insights gathered through user research and testing a paper prototype informed the design of a low-fidelity wireframe which was created using Adobe XD. This minimal viable product focused around two main methods of reserving a car. Firstly, through tapping on nearby Go-Bases (from user testing it was obvious that users initially tapped on nearby Go-Bases to initiate the booking process, and so it was important to keep that element in the design), and secondly through a singular booking UI system. Unlike the current version of the app, all three channels of reserving a car (time, vehicle, and location) have been consolidated into one user interface element.

Low fidelity prototype 1

Low fidelity prototype
Low fidelity prototype

Testing MVP

The MVP was tested on 3 users to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the initial design. The following were the key takeaways from the user testing and client feedback.

  • Input UI elements were ambiguous in relation to their level of interactivity.
  • Booking UI seems to suggest it’s the only method of reserving a vehicle.
  • Lack of colour doesn’t allow for the user to know what step to take next.
  • Users thought the two main ways of booking a car were much more straightforward than the current design.

High Fidelity Prototype

After implementing user feedback into the design, a high fidelity prototype was created in Adobe XD. The psychological factors that informed the high fidelity user interface design included:

Hicks Law – which states that the more stimuli (or choices) users face, the longer it will take them to make a decision. This meant keeping user cognitive load as simple as possible and eliminating as much unnecessary complexity as possible.

Mental Models – users have formed mental models of how to interact with and what to expect from interfaces. It was important that the design matched these models or the user would find the product difficult to use.

Gestalt Principles – user perception is manipulated by how they see objects and relate them to each other based on spacing. Gaps, incongruities or disturbances are overlooked by our brain based on the laws of organisation.


Design Iteration and testing – 1

The user test of the first iteration was made up of seven tasks and four participants. Participants were encouraged to think out loud in real time when using the prototype.

User testing flow - round 1
User testing flow – round one

Tasks:

1. Attempt to book a car

2. Enter booking details

3. Choose available vehicle

4. Confirm booking

5. Begin journey

6. End journey

Testing Results:

The success rate of the user testing was determined using the fundamental usability metric. This metric is calculated by assigning a binary value of ‘1’ if the test participant manages to complete a task and ‘0’ if he/she/they does not. The success rate is represented as a percentage using the following equation:

Effectiveness = number of tasks completed successfully (divided by) the total number of tasks undertaken (multiplied by) 100

Success Rate : 79.1%

Other Key Findings:

Other key findings from testing
Other key findings from testing

Design Iteration and testing – 2

Feedback from round 1 was implemented into the design and this iteration was tested again. In round 2 users were again encouraged to speak aloud and asked to complete a set of tasks. This round saw an improvement in relation to task completion and ease of use. No user failed to complete a task in this round of testing.

Design Iteration and testing - round two
Design Iteration and testing – round two

Tasks:

1. Attempt to book a car

2. Enter booking details

3. Choose available vehicle

4. Confirm booking

5. Begin journey

6. End journey

Success Rate : 91.6%


Updated User Flow

Go-CarUser Flow
Go-CarUser Flow

 


Conclusion

There were many UX problems I uncovered through this design process. However, due to time constraints I could only focus on one avenue of user issues. I focused primarily on the booking process of the app, but given more time one could expand this project to a more comprehensive redesign of the whole app.

This project was an enjoyable process of eliminating complexity. All previous products I have produced have been made from scratch, so it was a positive experience to be able to redesign an existing app. The redesign process is slightly different from creating a new product. User testing and conversation with users played a pivotal role in understanding and defining the problem. The project ultimately became about consolidating and refining existing UI systems in order to enhance a positive user experience with the app.