Next Generation Grab Driver App

I was asked to design the GrabFood driver app experience for motorbike drivers in Indonesia.

STEP 1 -User Observation

I am going to observe the food delivering bikers and see what made a mess of things

Luckily there are many food delivering bikers in New York city. I observed many bikers, but this bikers got my attention. I bumped into him in the elevator to my office. Unlike many other bikers who seems to be board about the job, he is having a good time listening to the music.

Base on my observation, I made some simple assumptions that the delivering job is boring but listening to music helps a lot.

Those assumptions led me to my problem statement:

How might we improve the delivering experience of GrabFood bikers with audio companion?

STEP 2-Experiment

I am going to test my assumptions with a quick and dirty experiment

I decided to be a fake bike deliver myself. Pretending to deliver some food from midtown Manhattan to upper east side. I don’t have a bike, so I used the bike sharing service in New York called Citibike.

To make my ride less boring, I gamify my ride with the NIKE running app, which gives me audio instructions and words of encouragement. In addition, in order to test my assumption that music makes a difference in the delivering experience, I also used Spotify that is paired with the NIKE app for music.

I picked up my food from the KungFu Kitchen. I ordered some Shanghai pan fried buns and some hand pull noodles. Waiting in the restaurant is very boring. Finally, I put my food on the bike and started my adventure.

Along my bike ride, I bumped into many other food delivering bikers. I used my phone to document my experiment but end up being yelled by other bikers that it is dangerous to bike and use my phone at the same time.

After 23 minutes and 43 seconds, I finished my bike ride. I bike almost everyday. But I feel this ride is particularly fun because of the music and audio cues from the NIKE app. But I do feel annoyed that I have to take out and use my phone during my ride. If I don’t need to take out my phone during my ride, I will defiantly do it again and again.

The two key assumptions “Delivering is boring” and “Music helps a lot” are validated. And I also learn a new insight form the experiment that user “don’t want to take out their phone” during the ride.

I also learn a lot of other insights from the experiment. I summaries those insights into three design principles : Personal, Rewarding and Hands-free.

STEP3- Rapid Prototyping

I am going to mock up the experience and learn what is working and what isn’t

Now, I want everyone to close your eyes. Imaging you are a food delivering biker that is going to start your day. You open the GrabFood Driver app and press the play button…(remember to turn on your audio for the video)


The design is viable in terms of business as well, because the audio companion can generate revenue thorough advertisements between the songs. From a strategy point of view, the audio companion can attract a lot of early adaptor from the bikers, and then spin off latter to be GrabMusic and become the Spotify of Southeast Asia.

Appendix 1— Production Process

This is how the video is made. I wrote the script and use google voice API to read it for me. And then I use Adobe Premier to edit and mix the voice with background music.

After the audio part was done, I started to do the visual part. I used sketch to design wireframes. I iterated on my own design two times and finally decided to go with the 3.0 version.

Then I transferred the sketch file to principle, where I made a clickable prototype. I also add animations and transitions in principle. Finally I recorded the interactive prototype and mixed it with the audio file in Adobe Premier.

The design experiment took me half day. The audio file took me a night. And the wireframe, clickable prototype and video took me a whole day. Peace!

Appendix 2 — User Feedback

I test the prototype with some friends, they loved it and think the experience is thinking outside the box. They gave me some valuable feedbacks regarding safety. I further designed the following on-boarding flow to teach the user how to use the app safely.

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