The New Driver App: Building a Better Co-pilot


All over the world and every day, drivers work with Uber to help people get where they’re going. Every ride for every driver across 600 cities is unique. We wanted to build a comprehensive tool that could serve the needs of each of those drivers. The result: our new Driver app, a powerful co-pilot for 3 million drivers across the world.

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Team members / roles


April 2018

Team members / roles

  • Adnan Virk - Sr. Product Designer
  • Aimee Katz - Content Strategist
  • Alexander Vaughn - Product Designer
  • Alice Yang - Illustrator
  • Alvin Juano - Researcher
  • Amritha Prasad - Sr. Product Designer
  • Anthony Tadina - Sr. Product Designer
  • Anuja Rathi - Research Operations
  • Arjun Vora - Sr. Product Designer
  • Bjorn Hubert-Wallander - Researcher
  • Blake Engel - Design Manager
  • Bo Paweena - Sr. Product Designer
  • Bryant Jow - Staff Product Designer
  • Bryna Tsai - Research Operations
  • Cady Wachsman - Cartography Design Manager
  • Chanelle D’andria - Researcher
  • Chris Sanchez - Motion Designer
  • Connor Soltas - Product Designer
  • Corin Trachtman - Product Designer
  • Dan Birman - Product Designer
  • Dana Lee - Research
  • Dana Pozzi - Research Operations
  • Danny Walcoff - Product Designer
  • Darya Pilram - Sr. Researcher
  • Derek Bender - Product Designer
  • Didier Hilhorst - Design Director
  • Dustin Tanner - Sr. Product Designer
  • Eduardo Ruiz - Researcher
  • Elizabeth Castro Abrams - Research Operations
  • Elizabeth Ha - Product Designer
  • Erin Sayson - Product Designer
  • Elizabeth Spletzer - Content Strategist
  • Eric Schlakman - Head of Product Content
  • Evelyn Kim - Design Director
  • Evi Hui - Product Designer
  • Garima Gangwani - Research Operations
  • George Zhang - Research Manager
  • Ginger Kimler - Editor
  • Haylee Jung - Product Designer
  • Jadam Kahn - Design Director
  • Janice Suhji - Cartography Product Designer
  • Jason Hunter - Content Strategist
  • Jason Ring - Sr. Design Manager
  • Jeffrey Kalmikoff - Staff Product Designer
  • Jessica Caimi - Content Strategist
  • Joseph Huang - Design Manager
  • Jon Kantrowitz - Sr. Product Designer
  • Joshua Bisch - Sr. Product Designer
  • Krystle Young - Researcher
  • Laura Garcia Barrio - Sr. Researcher
  • Leonard Peng - Illustrator
  • Lori Mann - Design Program Manager
  • Lucas Lazaro - Researcher
  • Maggie Dieringer - Design Program Manager
  • Marcus Busby - Research Operations
  • Maria Arguello - Researcher
  • Maria Lechuga - Researcher
  • Marina Liu - Product Designer
  • Mayank Agarwal - Researcher
  • Michael Hu - Product Designer
  • Michael Stumpo - Content Strategist
  • Michael Takeshita - Staff Product Designer
  • Minal Jain - Researcher
  • Molly Stevens - Research Director
  • Naman Mathur - Product Designer
  • Namrata Mehta - Researcher
  • Nancy Douyon - Researcher
  • Neil Santiago - Research Operations
  • Oliver Lukman - Sr. Product Designer
  • Parvaneh Toghiani - Sr. Product Designer
  • Pati Nigri - Researcher
  • Pete Petras - Sr. Design Manager
  • Peter Foo - Sr. Product Designer
  • Peter Ng - Staff Product Designer
  • Phil Pham - Product Designer
  • Phoebe Fu - Researcher
  • Prakash Nair - Sr. Product Designer
  • Racine Davis - Product Designer
  • Russell Bongard - Sr. Content Strategist
  • Ryan Koziel - Design Manager
  • Saswati Saha Mitra - Research Manager
  • Scotty Silverman - Sr. Product Designer
  • Selwyn Kancharla - Product Designer
  • Shaun Lind - Sr. Product Designer
  • Sofia Qin - Researcher
  • Sonal Srivastava - Sr. Researcher
  • Stacey Farrelly - Sr. Product Designer
  • Stan Yeung - Sr. Product Designer
  • Tito Goldstein - Sr. Product Designer
  • Wenjun Zhao - Sr. Product Designer
  • Yi Hao - Product Designer
  • Yoel Sumitro - Researcher
  • Yuri Choi - Researcher
  • Zack Gottlieb - Sr. Design Manager
  • Zi Jung - Product Designer
  • Zoe Schiffer - Content Strategist

1000 years. That’s the total amount of time that drivers use the Uber app every single day. It is crucial that the app offers the best experience for drivers – and in the process, make rides better for all.

A lot of us have extensive experience as riders when it comes to Uber, but when it comes to drivers, our users’ experience vastly outpaces our own. And whereas the rider experience is fairly straightforward – you put in an address or two and request a ride – the driver experience is much more complex. To get a better idea of what drivers really wanted, we did a simple thing: we talked to the drivers.

Traffic jam on the highway
Driver being interviewed by research team
New driver map screen design

“I've picked up a drunk rider, without knowing it was a cash trip. He didn't want to pay me at the end of the trip.”

Mauro, Beta driver in São Paulo

Over time, the demands on the driver app have grown exponentially. What started as a tool for matching one rider to one driver in San Francisco must now meet the needs of drivers navigating hundreds of cities and a wide variety of situations – finding parking for restaurant pickups, accepting cash payments from riders, driving with a rental car, or picking up multiple riders for carpool trips. Drivers working with Uber are doing a wide variety of things that we never imagined at the beginning. We worked with drivers like Mauro to create a new app that would better meet these new needs.



How do you add complexity to an app while making sure the experience is as simple and as safe as possible? This was the challenge facing our designers, researchers, and content strategists. We wanted to put the things that mattered most front and center, like destination search, an earnings tracker, and driving opportunities.

Old app
New app

In short, we wanted to create a better experience from the word “Go” – literally. Drivers used to toggle a switch from “Off” to “On” when they wanted to accept trips. It was functional, but a little cold, like switching on an appliance.

Now drivers can tell us they’re ready to go with the push of a button – one that lets them know we’re always ready for them.

Ready to drive button

Now, when drivers are ready to begin, there's a blue pulsating button that awaits them.

“Go.” It’s our new, simple greeting – a nod to the real-world energy and movement that drivers bring every day. From this point on, every moment is designed to enable drivers to go forward in their journey.

On the road

Drivers want to go where they are needed most – where there are the best opportunities to connect with riders. In the old app, a lot of information was buried, making it difficult for drivers to find upcoming promotions and nearby events. The new app surfaces opportunities to help drivers decide where they’d like to drive. With a less cluttered home screen, we’re able to devote more real estate to the map: the most important surface when it comes to navigating the city.


Old app

New app

The maps in our new app are much more than street atlases. Our drivers want to know a lot of different information: where there are high-demand events and earning promotions, whether there’s surging, what the airport queue is like, etc. The new app puts all of this information at the drivers’ fingertips.

Old driver surge heatmap interaction

New driver surge heatmap interaction

Old driver surge in New York

New driver surge in New York

The trip

Surfacing the right tools and information at the right time was critical to improving the trip experience. Designers from San Francisco and New York City worked closely with our design engineers to build a fully functional iOS prototype so drivers could take real end-to-end trips with us.

“Since the necessary trip information has to be interactable from an arm-reach distance and understood at a glance while driving, we designed trip experience with the ‘3-foot-1-second rule’. Designers and content strategists worked closely on this orchestration of information – deciding when and how much info to present, what actions to be highlighted at a certain state, and all of the above with glanceable graphics and legible-from-afar text in different languages.”
Bo Paweena, Trip Experience Design
Team illustration



Drivers told us what information was valuable to them and when it would be most useful to see it. They wanted to see trip distance, time and the rider’s name for the duration of the trip. Couriers wanted delivery instructions and order details all in one place to avoid any hiccups. We eventually landed on a design that consolidated trip information and action in the bottom sheet for both current and future trips.


Managing my business

Drivers spend a ton of time using the app, but when they go offline, the app continues to work. Earnings, ratings, and in-app notifications are some of the tools that drivers use to reflect and manage their business, and the app is working on these even when the driver is away. While these features were previously organized as individual tabs, we created a new home for them in the app’s information architecture to better fit each driver’s journey. One of the biggest transformations in the new app is a unified profile that tells a complete story around the driver’s ratings, compliments, and achievements:

Building together

As these parts of the experience came together, we knew we didn’t have all the answers. So we went to the people who did. We connected with drivers by organizing ride alongs, visits, and group lunches to truly understand how the new experience affected them – when they were on the road and when they weren’t. All their feedback was shared internally via Google+, so that everyone working on the new app could hear directly from the people who would use it.

For the first time, our teams saw a driver’s face and name alongside every bug and issue.

Sketch of a driver holding up his cell phone during a user interview
“You have really brought people from so diverse backgrounds into this spirit of collaboration. Uber teams are enthusiastic about sharing feedback with HQ for an immediate fix. Drivers feel part of a community and this engagement will transcend the product itself, the Uber brand and maybe even the earnings as you have empowered them to create something that they can consider their own.”
Hatem, Beta driver in Cairo

What’s next?

What happens after a big redesign? For our design team, it’s all about returning to the very first step that began this long journey: we listen. As drivers start using the new app, we learn from their experience and continue to work to improve it. As long as we can make that experience a little easier, a little less stressful, a little bit better…our work is never done…and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

If working to make things better sounds like a good time to you, if you’re looking to design experiences that bridge the digital and physical divide and to create products that move people – the Uber design team is hiring researchers, designers, and content strategists.

Thank you to all the teams for contributing to this piece, and to our wonderfully talented extended team for their hard work on this project.

Find the perfect fit

We’re looking for talented creatives from all disciplines. Our team is focused on creating beautiful, functional designs that fit people’s lives. We’d love for you to join us.

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© 2018 Uber Technologies Inc.