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Case Study: Olacabs — Drop location on PWA (Progressive web app/Ola Lite)

Ola’s Progressive Web App was featured in Google I/O 2017.

The Problem

On the progressive web app, a decision was made not to show maps by default to avoid heavy data usage. User would enter their pickup and drop location and could select them from suggestions. This resulted in inaccurate pickup locations as the location would be off by some distance. Even though users had an option to pick on map, it was deep inside and not discoverable.

Drivers cancelled the ride after reaching the pickup point as there was a gap between actual pickup point and the one entered. On the Android/iOS app, it was easier because the map was always loaded and users had a visual feedback on where they were. This was absent in the progressive web app.

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About 17% rides were cancelled by the drivers ‘after’ reaching the pickup point.

Ideas

We realised that the only way to fix this was to give users a visual representation of their pickup location before they confirm their ride. Tweaking their pickup location would give them greater control and also communicate to the driver-partner a more certain pickup location.

Even though we wanted to show the user their location on map, we didn’t want to add that data load to all the users. This problem was limited to cases where location was not accurate. Besides, PWA came with a promise of being light, fast and easy on data.

Solution

We wanted to give users a chance to edit the location before confirming the ride. A snapshot of user’s location on confirmation screen where they can edit the location on a map.

This would solve 3 key problems —

  • Users could now see their location before confirming the ride
  • Loading the map was now need driven. Only those users who saw a difference in their actual vs detected location would edit and tweak on a map
  • Ola PWA would still be light on data for 92% of the users.

I did multiple iterations to figure out the interaction. Approach 1 was finalized and is now live.

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