Uber Service Design Teardown

Sharing economy reminds us service outside of an app plays critical roles in UX design. Uber is a great example connecting people to take/give a ride from A to B. It’s an app but it is also a service.

Use Service Diorama to understand Uber Service Design

Service Diorama is an service design tool for non-designer to design services. Service is a system of helping someone like transportation. Helping someone onboard as new employee is also service like discussed in previous blog article.

Service Diorama is co-creation tool. You can invite as people as possible for everyone to understand the service, system of helping. Let’s use Service Diorama to map out Uber service mechanics.

In Service Diorama, we use only three card types. People, Place and Item. People can be individual or group. Place can be both virtual and physical. Item can be anything other than people and place.

People can be customers, driver and Uber agents. We use different colors to group these cards together. In this scenario, we use Orange as customer, Blue as Uber and Green as Uber partners.

Understanding Overview Picture of Uber Service Ecosystem

The map below represent simplified version of Uber service ecosystem using Service Diorama.

Uber Service Ecosystem (Service Diorama)

An user, in orange, uses smartphone and launches Uber app. Find nearby Uber driver and request the ride. The driver, in green because they are not Uber employees, use the app to take the request. Both customer and driver can check the rating from the app. After the confirmation, the user can use phone/sms to communicate with the driver. When there are issues, the user can use Uber to contact Uber Rep. The article by Business Inside gives you good background about how each stakeholders are connected via Uber.

“I drove for Uber for a week: Here’s what it’s really like” Business Insider

Mapping driver onboarding to Uber seems quite interesting, isn’t it? But I would like to first invite you to look into Uber app you are using as user. Then look into how you can communicate with Uber support, a person behind Uber app. We can discuss the service design teardown of Uber Partner App for Uber drivers in our Slack community :)

Finding from the Overview

The overview mapping helps you understand what’s going on in visual languages such as colors and lines. Visual language gives you idea what’s missing. We only have a few orange. Do we know enough about orange? Who exactly is this person? Lines are concentrated to this blue item. What’s happening there? It helps you and your team ask critical questions about the service.

Parking Lot is a Powerful Tool

You can park these questions to parking lot. It is OK if you cannot answer all questions. Leave them as “Things You Don’t Know” for now. You can zoom into the area you and your team think the most important for now.

Zoom into In App Experience

The interaction with the user happen in the application. How exactly Uber app interact with user and play a role in the overall service ecosystem?

The Service Diorama mapping above illustrate how home screen elements communicate with the user. There are four CTAs (Call To Actions) the user can choose. They key CTAs are Pin and Card Type. Both CTAs fit within area where user can reach with their thumbs. Thumbs area is a golden area for mobile UI.

“Pin” is the first action for the user to request the ride. So this is important. “Car Type” is basically up-selling for opportunity for Uber to promote more luxurious experience.

After the user tap “Pin” CTA, the app moves to next screen and shows two CTAs. “Request Uber” and “Payment Information”. Both fit perfectly within thumbs area. After requesting the Uber, the user just needs to select destination. It means requesting Uber is only three taps away from home screen. Great UX job by Uber here. This exercise is very similar to Information Architecture.

Going Beyond Information Architecture with Service Design

You can connect people and place to this information architecture using Service Diorama.

Maybe the driver couldn’t find where you are and couldn’t pick you up. So you needed to cancel the request. Uber still charges you fee. You need to request credit return to Uber.

Uber uses many technologies to serve customers better. You can find their technology stack in Stack Share. It seems that Uber is using Zendesk for the support. Probably the user can create a support ticket in Uber app and the ticket goes straight to Zendesk. The Uber rep, whoever it is, picks up the ticket and send an email to the user via Zendesk.

From “Trip History” the user can send a request within three taps. This is also incredibly simple and short steps to do what the user wants to do.

This is how you can use Service Diorama to visualize UX with service components.

Uber is doing extremely good job incorporating human elements in UX. Nothing is perfect though. Uber continues experimenting with phone support and panic button to connect directly to police.

Service Diorama as Co-creation Tool with Users and Drivers

Service Diorama is also a co-creation tool. Co-creation one of service design principles. Service Diorama helps you as well as your customer and partners to understand what’s going on in your service. It also help you identify things you need to uncover with users and partners.

Why the user decides (or not decide) to use Uber to travel from A to B? The user may be in a restaurant together with friends. There is a bus stop near by. Why not take a bus? Uber is not an only app in their smartphone. They would most likely have Google Map and Foursquare. How do they relate to Uber? This is a good question to park in the parking lot.

You can invite users and ask them the questions in the parking lot. The better, you can play Service Diorama with users and get their perspective. This is the power of Service Diorama. You do not have to be designer to use the tool so the user do not have to be designer either.

You can also invite drivers to do the same. Why they couldn’t pick up the user? How do they communicate with the user? They are in the car what do they have in the car? How do they use smartphone? These are the questions you might have in the parking lot during the first round.

Join Service Diorama Community

Service Diorama is free to use, distribute and remix under Creative Commons license. You can download printable PDF if you join our Slack community.

Service Diorama is a service design tool for non-designers (and designers) to visualize service with colors and lines with three card types. UX is one of use cases. We share best practices in our Slack community.

Please join Service Diorama Slack community now.

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