When communicating with drivers, clarity is key. In May 2016, several teams launched a united effort to design and engineer a new, comprehensive, extensible system: the trip alert framework, created to make sure our messages and alerts would be simple, reliable, and safe, every single time.
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Team members / roles
Team members / roles
- Bjorn Hubert-Wallander - Design Researcher
- Bo Paweena Attayadmawittaya - Product Designer
- Alexander Vaughn - Product Designer
- Chris Sanchez - Motion Designer
- Evelyn Kim - Senior Design Manager
- Marcos Weskamp - Senior Design Manager
- Jadam Kahn - Design Director
Notifications and alerts in the driver app had been engineered and designed on an as-needed basis by the relevant team. As Uber grew, this ad hoc approach started to wear thin. With each addition, the source code grew more cumbersome. Teams were doing unnecessary work in building each new notification, reinventing the wheel over and over again.
Most importantly, new notifications were inconsistent and thus potentially unclear for drivers. It was essential that any new framework provide maximum clarity and ease-of-use to drivers.
We have created a sustainable system that allows for robust complexity but communicates it in a simple way. We designed the framework to maximize impact and improve understanding as efficiently as possible. This meant designing with the global audience in mind as well.
Any large project relies on collaboration. This was especially true with the trip alert framework. The framework affects every team that works with drivers, and so the input and contributions of each team were crucial. From rewriting the source code to implementing in dispatch, we worked together to create a better experience for drivers.
Cleaned up code
Our engineers streamlined the source code from 20,000 lines down to 5,000, removing redundancies and vestigial dead ends.
They essentially rebuilt from scratch a new framework that increases dispatch and alert effectiveness within the app, simplifies maintenance, allows for better monitoring and bug-detection, and vastly improves our understanding of how drivers interact and perceive alerts.
By keeping more of the work on the server (rather than in the app on the user’s phone), we can dynamically change content without having to wait for new mobile builds to be released in the app store. Our iteration cycle has dropped from weeks to minutes.
The new framework’s design coherence means that drivers will understand brand-new content the first time they see it. We worked under the constraints of the 3:1 rule—the notion that a typical driver will be looking at the app from a distance of about three feet, with each glance lasting about one second.
An extensible system
By creating a comprehensive framework, we save a lot of unnecessary work moving forward. The new trip alert framework should encompass all current and future use cases across all teams at Uber.
A multisensory experience
Image, sound, and vibration were paired with alerts so that no matter how the phone is used—on a phone mount in a car, attached to the handles of a bicycle, or in a courier’s pocket while walking to deliver a meal—on-trip alerts are always easily accessible and understood.
Better information for a better drive
After a year of research, hard work, and intense collaboration, we are very proud of the new framework. As we’ve rolled it out over the past few months, it has been great to see drivers using it, and useful as always to hear their generous feedback.
We continue to strive to make the driver experience as safe, reliable, and pleasant as possible. The trip alert framework is a great step on this ongoing journey.