Fare Alert

Last updated on 21st October 2019

Have you ever cross-checked multiple ride-hailing apps during a surge? That behavior is common. Riders tend to check the fare during high surge periods, especially those with time flexibility. Riders have to keep jumping back and forth between apps and manually do all of those steps to fare check.

Fare Alert is an opt-in feature that alerts the rider when the fare drops during surge periods.

In the Fare Alert project, we hypothesize that allowing riders to subscribe to a fare drop alert will help them with this situation. This feature allows riders to plan their trip better but also, now that they don't have to check their fare manually, they can use that window of time for something else.

User Experience Research

Since this feature involves some of the most sensitive experiences in the app, we must have a deep understanding of the problem space. So we had to do Fundamental Research within a couple of markets before starting anything on the drawing boards.

Collaborating with Behavioral Science teammate

Around the same time, our brilliant Behavioral Scientist also made an internal framework called Fairness Framework relevant to the problem space we are researching. We observed a few parallels that riders may have anchored their perceptions on the fare in general. Some key insights we discovered are dynamic pricing might be straightforward to us, given that we are aware of the market condition that influences the fare like the supply and demand of the marketplace, weather and traffic, and more. However, that was not clear to them.

Explorations & Concept Testing

So with all these valuable insights and takeaways, we ran a mini-workshop as an ideation process with the working team. From there, we narrowed it down to a couple of options for concept testing.

Going into this concept test, we were constrained and set to have a less intrusive design. Even if the feature has a high adoption rate but hurts other critical metrics of different elements within the same experience, it will be a no-go. So, naturally, I decided to design the component with a lower hierarchy and Fare Alert component further from the main call-to-action, the "Book" button.

For the Concept Test, we decided to go with the cleaner approach with the "Bell" icon (Exploration B).

Observation from concept testing

  • The first things the testers look at on this screen are the fare and surging icon.
  • Testers don't know what the "Bell" icon means and what it does with no explanatory text.
  • Testers are still blinded to the "Bell" icon even after I prompted them.

Usability Testing

With the learnings from the concept test, we made these adjustments to the prototype we later tested for Usability Testing.

I messed up my Usability Testing Framer file but luckily it's almost identical to the feature that is now live.

All the changes made for Usability Testing

  • Move the Fare Alert component much closer to the bottom sheet where the fare is.
  • Introduce micro-interaction to increase affordance.
  • Include text content to increase affordance, which can also be experimented with.

These changes result in significantly better usability and feature discoverability. In addition, the added affordance using text allows us to experiment with the content that resonates better with the users. For example, now we can test between a utilitarian tone like "Set Fare Alert" or go with a more casual style like "Beat High Fares" as per the video above.

Behind the scenes footages of Concept Testing & Usability Testing prototypes made in Framer Classic.

Project Outcome

The result was overwhelmingly positive, but sadly, I can't share the details due to the sensitivity and confidentiality of the information. However, some of the high-level milestones of the project are:

  • A high percentage of repeat usage from those who received their first successful alert.
  • Success metrics were achieved in less than a few months. 
  • The feature is still available in the latest iteration of the app.

Personal Reflections & Takeaways

My favorite thing about this project is that the Behavioral Science learnings and takeaways we had for the project are still relevant and revisited today. Sharing ideas and concepts like "Priming" and "Procedural Transparency" seems more natural and less foreign with the wider teams.

My personal takeaways for this project are that Behavioral Science opens up promising and productive synergy with design practices when done right:

  • A deeper understanding of human behaviors and creative nudges sets us up for more innovative ideas to experiment.
  • I gained an insightful knowledge & substantial understanding of Behavioral Science that can be translated into operating frameworks, which I can now include in my design processes.
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