Around The World With Uber


I recently travelled around the world with Uber. Sort of. I actually just set my pickup location to different cities and observed changes to the app. Close enough…

This was a simple yet fascinating experiment. As one of the few truly global apps out there, I was interested in finding out how Uber adapts to its local markets. While it was a short vacation (about an hour), I was impressed by Uber’s localization efforts. From changing the colors of cars in the interface to rearranging ride options, there were several well-thought-out solutions Uber presented in their app.

Here are my travel photos:

San Francisco

Lots of options here today. But I live in San Francisco so this is what I’m used to seeing every once in a while.

New York City

Uber in NYC is certainly up to date with recent events.

Los Angeles

And I thought San Francisco was busy…I was bombarded with all these options in LA.

Toronto

This is my hometown. Looks like theres been some development over the past few months, as uberPOOL was not here before.

Shanghai

My birth city. Uber has been making a major push into China. In fact I don’t remember seeing any hint of the company last year when I was in Shanghai. The market was a duopoly between Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache back then.

My first observation here is that the ride options are reversed. Usually BLACK is the rightmost option.

Beijing

Ride options are flipped back to normal again for Beijing. I also appreciate the star detail on the People’s Uber icon. Also, red cars!

Hong Kong

This is my first time seeing Closest Uber. The various Taxi options seem very ambiguous. +$15 and +$30 sounds intimidating to select.

Tianjin

More People’s Uber. Similar to Shanghai and Beijing, you can’t call for a regular taxi via Uber in Tianjin.

Qingdao

Unlike Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin, People’s Uber shows blue cars with snowflakes (?) in Qingdao. Would be interested to learn the design reasoning behind this.

Hangzhou

I was surprised to see so many options for Hangzhou. BLACK is on the leftmost side again here. I wonder if this is because BLACK is the more commonly chosen ride in Hangzhou and Shanghai.

Mumbai

Demand is insane in Mumbai. Also first time seeing uberINTERCITY.

Istanbul

UberBOAT was probably my favorite discovery of all time in the app.

Brussels

No name Uber for Brussels. I thought I had broke the app, but it showed this way for Brasilia as well.

New Delhi

This one was shared by a cool dude on Twitter. You can call a rickshaw (three wheeler, tuk-tuk, bajaj, etc.) with uberAUTO. Another great example of how Uber caters to its local market.

The Rest

At this point I was signed out of the app. I decided to end my vacation early in fear that Uber would ban my account for suspicious activity. But from these pictures its clear that Uber invests quite a bit of resources on localization. As a designer certainly I appreciate these simple yet effective changes to the UI to cater to varying markets.


If you haven’t tried Uber yet, sign up at (full disclosure: this is my referral link) here and get a free ride.

Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

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