UCD Charrette

Helping Uber drivers in Emergency Situations

The design team wanted to address the need of an Uber driver to call 911 in an emergency if a passenger suddenly had a medical emergency or a similar situation. As Uber has grown more popular, it has become an attractive option for those who would be otherwise impaired to drive, such those with high alcohol levels or the elderly. In some cases, these people could suffer from alcohol poisoning, a heart attack, or other emergency where the driver would need to call 911 quickly and safely. From this we built our solution.

Brainstorming (left) and collaborating (right) on a possible design interface

Our final design solution was adding an emergency button in the bottom right corner of the Uber app. When this button was clicked, a pop-up confirmation window would appear asking the user if they wanted to call 911 or not, dialing if yes and returning to the previous screen if not. The main considerations of incorporating this addition was simplicity for safety and speed while also avoiding accidental calls.

Reflection on the Design

We would need to complete user research to see how necessary and effective this addition would actually be. It could be, a majority of our drivers switch to Google Maps for the actual navigation and having a button on the Uber home screen would provide no extra use.

Breaking down the problem first with a picture scenario, then a web diagram, and finally the actual app design was a successful way to make the problem more manageable and the solution more attainable. We took the most simplistic approach to our problem as we could which made the first step feel somewhat unnecessary, however, in most situations this step would be a vital way to see what the user truly needs.

Future Applications for the Process

This process of user centered design overall is a crucial part of working for any company on any design. Albeit, just as more research was one flaw of our design, more research and evaluation would be necessary on a larger scale. After this prototype was created, more user research should be conducted to see how well this accomplished the need we were trying to address. However, the general process of starting with an example scenario void of any actual design, progressing to a flowchart of procedures, and then designing a user interface to fit within those bounds, is one of the most effective ways to design without jumping in with predetermined ideas and allowing exploration through all the options to solve the problem.

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