RIDESHARE MOBILE APPLICATION
We created a real time rideshare app called ConGo. ConGo connects college commuters as they travel to and from school. Drivers can connect with neighbors or students on the way to school to give them rides, and walkers can find a commuting buddy so the walk is safe and comfortable, even at night.
ConGo brings the university community together. Whether sharing a ride home with an old floor-mate or walking to school with a complete stranger, students are sure to take advantage of the diverse community around them.
The prompt for this project was to design interfaces for a mobile information system that allows commuters to share, seek, and retrieve information in support of their commute.
We decided to focus on students and their commute to and from campus. Students have very unpredictable and frequently-changing commute times (because of group meetings, extracurriculars, and office hours, for example). Therefore, it is hard to plan the commute ahead of time, even though this may be necessary in order to avoid walking alone late at night or walking home in a snowstorm. We thought that technology could help ease the pain of commuting, and decided to explore this opportunity space.
We started by researching our target users, students who commute to campus. When finding students to interview, we made sure to gather data from a variety of commuting situations. The primary variables we considered when recruiting participants were the length of the commute and whether or not the student has a car.
In the interviews, we found that most students don't mind walking to campus on a daily basis. However, they are interested in using alternate forms of transportation during bad weather or late at night. We found that students go to great lengths in order to avoid walking alone late at night. This minimizes the time that students can spend on campus working collaboratively with classmates. We also found that students who drive to campus are happy to drive others as long as this does not inconvenience them.
From our research, we identified three main user types around which we built personas and scenarios:
- Walkers concerned with safety
- Walkers looking for convenience
- Drivers who don't mind helping
NARROWING THE FOCUS
We started our ideation process by coming up with features that we thought would be helpful to our personas. After discussing our ideas, we decided that the most beneficial concept would be a real time rideshare system. Below are some photographs of our initial whiteboard sessions.
REFINING THE FLOW AND DESIGN
After sketching our basic flow and screens, we created our navigational map. One of our main objectives when creating this was to use as few screens as possible, especially for drivers offering a ride. We placed a high priority on convenience in order to be more appealing to drivers.
We created a low-fidelity prototype in Balsamiq Mockups to better visualize and test our interactions and flow.
One of the interactions we spent a long time working on is the time slider. This slider is used to indicate the block of possible departure times. Some of our iterations and inspirations are below.
Using iOS elements
Inspiration: the Hipmunk iPad app
Slider inspired by Hipmunk
Refining and exploring more ideas
We created a final high-fidelity clickable prototype using Proto.io.
EXAMPLE SCENARIO WALKTHROUGH
Jessica Cheung, a busy CMU student, had to stay on campus late to work on a group project. The meeting didn't end until midnight, and she needs to get home. She considers walking home by herself, but she remembers the most recent crime alert in the area. She wants to either find someone to walk with or hitch a ride, so she opens up her ConGo app.
Jessica clicks on "Search for a group."
She chooses yes to walking and driving, and inputs the window of time during which she is willing to leave. Even though its midnight now, she wouldn't mind doing homework on campus until 1:15 if this means she doesn't have to walk home alone.
She sees that two students who live near her have already created posts for depart times within her desired parameters. She selects Sandra Lee, who happens to be an friend from her freshman writing class. Jessica is excited to see her again.
Jessica sees that Sandra actually lives just down the street from her. She had no idea! She confirms the details and clicks to join the group.
Once she joins the group, she sees the window of time where her preferred departure time overlaps with Sandra's.
She sends Sandra a message to coordinate their meet-up and settles into a cozy corner of the library to work for the next hour or so. She is relieved that she doesn't need to walk home alone, and she's excited to catch up with an old classmate.