Transit App’s focus on design leads to high conversion

Uber Developers
Uber Developers
Published in
5 min readMar 4, 2015

Every app store has hundreds of apps that carry the same basic functionality, but there’s always one app that stands out amongst the rest. More often than not, it’s one where the people behind the app have a relentless focus on how their end user interacts with the app. The team at Transit App understands this better than anyone.

Transit App reimagines the everyday commute using new technologies and services to let users accurately find their next departure instantly. Recently, the team integrated Uber’s API to add another reliable option for their users to get from point A to point B, while saving them time and money during their daily commute.

“When we were integrating Uber into our app, we wanted to make sure that it not only felt like it belonged there, but that it felt like it was always part of the original blueprint. Just like bike sharing or car sharing, Uber is another mode that naturally complements public transit and that’s how we wanted its addition perceived. In order to do this we knew that we had to focus on creating a design that felt natural and make sure that the experience had zero friction.”

—Sam Vermette, Co-Founder and CEO of Transit App

Behind the scenes: designing the perfect integration

Creating a Design that Feels Natural: Third party integrations can be tricky. If done incorrectly, these integrations can feel out of place or even feel hacked together. To avoid this, the team asked themselves a series of general and detailed questions, to get a more concise picture of what the end product would eventually look like.

  • Does the integration provide value for the user and where is the best placement for it?
  • Since Transit App’s design generates transportation options based on the user’s current location, what is the optimal distance for users to see Uber as an option?
  • How can we take advantage of the different endpoints that Uber has to offer?
  • How can we create a design that showcases the variety of different services that Uber provides, without taking up additional real estate?
  • What is the best way to educate our users about the product?

Creating a Zero Friction Customer Experience: Whenever you introduce a new feature, customers are bound to have questions about the feature. To solve this pain point, the team integrated the “question mark” feature, which allows new users to understand what Uber is without leaving the app. Here you can learn general information about Uber, how to use it, and how to get your free ride if you’re a new user. Simply tap the Uber option and the feature will be available to you.

The question mark disappears once the user has taken at least two rides, reassuring guidance but maintaining minimal design. The feature which was only released at the end of January has already seen over 13k clicks with a 20% signup conversion alone (Note: Does not include users who sign up directly without interacting with the question mark). As you can tell from the graph below, the question mark feature has already had a significant impact on signups and first trips. (Note: Initial first spike is correlated to New Years activity)

The proof is in the numbers

Signups and first rides are the top two metrics that matter most when it comes to the Uber Affiliate Program. The program provides app developers with the opportunity to earn rewards with Uber, simply by using the Uber API. For every new Uber user that takes a ride through their app, Uber will credit the app developer with $5 (USD) in Uber credits. Using weighted numbers, we were able to evenly compare how Transit App was performing amongst other apps that also leveraged our API.

In the app category for public transit, Transit App had 3.4 times more signups than any other app. Public transit also currently ranks as the number one performing app category.

Within that same category, Transit App also generated 4.7 times more “first trips” than any other app. In order for a first trip to be valid, users must sign up for Uber through their app and complete their first Uber trip.

Even though public transit is currently the top performing app category, there are several other categories that are also performing significantly well including travel, hotels and airlines. Here’s a look at how Transit App stacks against leading apps in those specific categories.

Though design is not the only dependent factor when it comes to performance, it definitely has a strong impact on any successful API integration. With the right design and tutorial to help users understand new features, every app developer can improve their feature adoption.

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