Daniel Rakhamimov
Jan 7, 2016 · 7 min read
Disclosure: The designs and ideas in this post are in no way affiliated with Uber Technologies Inc. This is simply a concept. *Pro tip: If the images are blurry, refresh the story.

If you’re viewing this on desktop and the image above looks a bit blurry, please refresh the page…

Your Uber is arriving now.

Today is your lucky day! To celebrate your first trip to New York City, a buddy just informed you that he got tickets to tonight’s Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. Looks like it’s going to be a fun night!

A few hours later…

You open the door to your Uber. Get in. Say hello to the driver, and ask them how their day has been going because you’re a decent human being after all. Then almost automatically, you reach into your pocket, or bag, and take out your phone. You’re still partaking in the Uber experience physically, but mentally you’re now about to immerse yourself in your smorgasbord of apps to fill the gap in time before you arrive at Madison Square Garden.

The usual suspects begin popping up on your phone: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat…etc

Those are all great, but what if there was an app that actually rewarded you for being in an Uber at this given second?

What if the app also made your trip a lot more fun at the same time?

I’d like to propose a new fun and rewarding product that Uber can offer to do precisely that!

I’ll be calling it: UberGENIUS

Your ride, just got a lot more fun.

So what is UberGENIUS?

UberGENIUS is the good ‘ole fun game of trivia reinvented for your Uber experience today!

The main twist is that you can only play while you’re on your Uber trip. The game lasts for as long as the actual trip, and for that duration only. You’ll see why shortly…

So why Trivia?

Because it’s simple! It’s easy to understand with virtually no learning curve and appeals to a wide demographic of people...just like Uber!

This is especially important because it mirrors Uber’s demographic (or their potential customer). Uber is meant for everyone, and so it’s important for the game to reflect that ethos.

But it’s also a lot more than that, as you will be seeing shortly.

Let’s see how it works…

On your way to the Knicks game, you open up the UberGENIUS app and see this:

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s breakdown exactly what you’re looking at right now into two sections:

1. Summary:

The first thing that should pop out to you is: “470 PTS”. This is the amount of points left for you to win, so you can advance to “Level 11”. Every user will have an overall score at any given time, and therefore a current level. Why a level? We’ll get more into that shortly…

2. Topics:

Any trivia-based game needs to offer a set of topics to choose from. You have your usual basics: Music, Sports, Science…etc.

However, I’d like to point out the topics that I think can really be unique to your Uber experience. These topics involve your current location & destination.

At any given moment, Uber knows exactly what my current location is. Why not leverage that and show me topics based on that? This can be a fun and relevant way to learn more about my current city, especially if I’m traveling to a new one!

Uber also knows that it’s 9:00 PM and that you’re heading to Madison Square Garden. It’s fair to say that Uber can probably easily infer that you’re heading to the Knicks game. I also bet that you’re not the only one using Uber to get to a well-known and popular event. Any concentration in traffic to a common destination can be a great opportunity to surface me a topic relevant to my destination. If I’m going to the movies, and Star Wars is the most popular movie at the time, why not surface me a “Star Wars” topic?

Since you’re in New York City, you have decided to start playing the New York City topic. Let’s see how that would look:

As you are answering questions, you see a glimpse of your accumulated score on top and something called your “Genius Level”. This is a gauge of how many questions you’ve answered correctly in a row.

Whoa! You’ve been having so much fun playing UberGENIUS that you’ve just realized you’ve been stuck in traffic. You would like to see how far away you are from MSG, but you don’t want to leave the game as that would cancel the current game you’re in. So what do you do?

You tap on the bottom bar (the one with the car) of the app and this happens:

A map slides up from the bottom that you can fully manipulate as if you were in the main Uber app. You of course have the option to leave this app and deep link into the main Uber app if you so desire. Also, if you’ve noticed a little black “U” icon in the navigation bar of previous screenshots, that serves the same function.

Ok cool. We’re almost there. Back to the game!

A few questions later and you’re on a roll! Your “Genius Level” meter has filled up and you are now in “Genius Mode”. Before, your gameplay was limited to the scope of the time of your ride, but now you also have this window of two minutes where the questions get super hard, but you can earn up to 5 times the amount of points per question!

And shortly after you arrive at your destination and the game ends….

So all of this talk of points and levels...why does they matter anyway?

What are you earning points for?

A fun and REWARDING experience.

So we explored the fun part, now let’s speak about the rewarding part...

Yes, in reality, UberGENIUS is a game, but it’s also a “loyalty card”. In fact, the game aspect is a trojan horse for the reward aspect. One thing I’ve always wondered was why Uber doesn’t offer some sort of loyalty program for their customers. For every 10th cup of coffee that I buy at my local shop, I get the 11th one for free.

Why can’t Uber do this also? This can be an extremely powerful mechanism to reward loyal customers for choosing Uber and encourage people who might consider a different option to choose Uber instead.

There are two types of rewards:

  1. Monetary:

Remember how we spoke about how every user will have a “Level” derived from their current score? So there are three main level ranges that progressively get harder to reach, and as a result become more valuable in compensation. As you progress through the game and accumulate more points, you slowly level up. Every time you level up, you receive a credit for the corresponding amount in that level range. So between Levels 0–10, you receive $5 in credit every time you level up. Once you reach “Level 50", that jumps to $15.00 every time you level up from there.

2.Social:

Besides the monetary reward, you will also have a way to showcase your score, and see how you stand amongst your friends, city, and the world! What fun would a game be if you can’t compete?

The Uber of tomorrow.

I think in the past couple of years there has been a lot of emphasis placed on the logistical prowess of Uber. Although there’s still a lot left to do, it’s truly remarkable at how efficient it runs on such a global scale in such a short period of time. However, I think at the very core, from day zero, Uber has also been about delivering an experience that’s just as remarkable as it is efficient. I believe UberGENIUS has the potential to make that experience a lot more fun, enjoyable, and rewarding. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!


Who am I?

I’m an engineering-minded product designer and a design-minded iOS engineer from New York City. I also happen to be looking to join a design team to work on some great products with some great people!

If that interests you, DM me @danielrakh or email at: danielrak@me.com


The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +514K people. Follow to join our community.

Daniel Rakhamimov

Written by

danielrakh.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +514K people. Follow to join our community.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade