UX Design Case Study

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CASE STUDY: Uber

Background

Uber is, by now, a very well-known global brand after it’s phenomenal growth between launch in 2009 and 2015. Their app is often hailed (please excuse the pun) as being very simple and therefore a great example of user effective user experience. That much is true, but the goal was to take something that is actually quite complex and make it seem simple. This is the goal of good UX and Uber have succeeded here.

Strategy

Uber had to give a great deal of information to a user but in a format that was intuitive and beautiful. This is something that most app designers struggle to deliver. It was not enough to create icons and make numbers bigger or more colourful. The app needed to be easy to understand and use. Most travel apps for trains and flights are full of forms and are not only ugly but frustrating and slow to use. Uber needed to be different.

The key here is that this was not about being minimal, it was about being complex but in a well-designed interface that delights.

Uber therefore delivered a platform that could visually show you where a driver was, click to see his ratings and communicate with him directly. You could see an eta and simply move your pickup location on an interactive map. You would know the car and license plate and even see the driver’s route to you in real time. This is not simple at all – it is in fact a lot of complex information, but all displayed beautifully and quickly with an easy to use interface. That is great UX design.

Results

The results speak for themselves. Uber achieved their growth for many reasons including pricing and aggressive expansion but the UX they delivered created a great deal of word of mouth and was a significant part of their growth story. This should not be underestimated.

Key Lessons

US is all about the experience, not the interface but the latter leads to the former. In Uber’s case they made something as simple as calling a taxi feel fun and cool. Simplification is not the goal here. Deliver a complex solution if that is what is needed to give the user everything they require but complex does not have to result in a difficult to use interface and so good UX design principles are key to success.

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