Making Uber “Family Friendly”

This blog post is focused on common problems faced by Uber users where smartphone and data penetration is still low. Countries like India, where you only get 1 or 2 smartphones across the family and one person managing all the finances.

uber app lifecycle for riders

Booking cab for someone else

I recently faced this problem when I was booking a cab for my father who was out travelling in the city. I keyed in his location in the app and booked a cab. Uber driver received my details (name and phone number) and I had to explain to him where my father is and had to act as a middle man till he boarded the cab.

This can be solved by checking if a user is booking a cab for a location other than my current GPS location: In this use case, the app can assume that I may not be booking this cab for me as I am not physically present at the location. The app can prompt an additional option asking whether you are booking for yourself or someone else.

Tracking trip

Tracking an Uber ride sometimes become really essential and important when your family is travelling (obviously without you) and you want to know where they are OR what’s their ETA on reaching the destination.

Uber does provide an option to track a trip but this seems very basic and can be improved via leveraging their current app ecosystem. Here is the screenshot of current behaviour:

It uses a web page to show the current status of the cab and is inaccurate most of the times. To solve this, Uber team can make use of deep-linking in the app and provide the same rich user experience which user gets when they book the cab for themselves.

Managing payments

Uber allows you to use multiple payment methods but it doesn't allow you to share them with your family so that one family member can manage the payments for everyone. It is a great hassle when there is a person who manages the finances for a family and had to recharge the e-wallets, provide PINs in the case of credit cards.

It will become really easy for a family owner to maintain all this from his/her own account and rest of the family members can use it.

It is a well-known concept in the tech world where one person manages the finance for a set of users (family members). Uber provides a similar behaviour of riding with profiles for businesses where a single business owner manages the payments of rides taken by company employees. In my opinion, something similar can be used to cater the family audience.