Mobile App for GroundLink Drivers

Building a mobile dispatch platform to achieve business objectives.

Project Overview​

GroundLink is a technology-enabled car service that caters to corporate clientele through its On-Time guarantee and ability to book in advance.

Over the course of several months, I led the redesign of their driver-facing mobile app, which we used as a means to address a number of business problems.

 

The Problems​

· Customer demand for rides not met.

· Complaints from drivers waiting a long time for jobs.

· Increased driver error & late pickups.

The Solution

· A driver app with features that makes GroundLink more       

 desirable to drivers and addresses internal inefficiencies.

· A driver heatmap that automates dispatch process of directing drivers to areas of high demand.

My Role

· Created wireframes of app experience.​​

· Led user research efforts (usability tests + interviews).​​

· Re-mapped steps of driver status updates.

· Managed development + design team from concept to launch.

· Managed product roadmap post-launch.

· Visual Design by Ognjen Lopusina .

Methods

User & stakeholder interviews, user & competitor personas, business process mapping, surveys, statistical analysis, competitive analysis.

Outcomes

· Launched on time and without business disruption.

· Increased Fleet Size & Driver Retention.

· Lowest Service Failure rate in 5 years.

· App is being expanded to acquiring company, Boston. Coach/Dav El as their new driver management platform.

Why We Built an App

Research Overview

Which Drivers are Best for GroundLink?

At the outset of the project, we established that drivers were our customers just as much as our paying passengers were; they could choose for whom they wanted to drive.

However, not all customers are created equal. Of the various drivers types that GroundLink employed, we determined which aligned best with the preferences of our customers and the strategic goals of the company itself. 

The first step was to determine the driver types most valuable to GroundLink

Appealing to Full Time Drivers

Conducting interviews with drivers and fleet managers of other companies helped us create personas of each of our driver types. We focused on the desires of full time drivers as they were most valuable.

We interviewed full time drivers and consolidated our findings into personas.

Looking for Ways to to Outperform GroundLink's Competition

By creating competitive personas of major players in the market, accomplished through speaking with drivers that worked for multiple companies, we identified the appeal of each company to each driver type. It became clear that automation was an area in which we could excel.

Our analysis compared the strengths of out competitors to the desires of each persona.

Job Detail Screen

Driver Home Screen

Job Summary Screen

Building a Mobile Platform for Drivers

Many of the issues hurting both driver retention and operational efficiency could be resolved by automating dispatch processes. 

We identified that an app, serving as the face of our planned dispatch automations, was the appropriate solution.

The app was the face of the processes automation being done behind the scenes in order to reduce errors.

The Design Process

  INSIGHT  

Drivers Aren't Waiting Where           

Customers Need Them The Most

We examined wait per working time, earnings per hour, number of active drivers and number of jobs.

Analysis revealed that the Year-over-year there were more drivers doing less jobs – yet customers often could not find a car. This suggested that we had underutilized drivers that we needed to direct to areas of demand.

Analysis revealed that despite more drivers doing less jobs, customers were unable to find rides.

  INSIGHT → SOLUTION  

Driver-Customer HeatMap

A Heat map allowed dispatch to automate the process of directing drivers to where jobs were needed by combining predictive and just-in-time data.

The was made visible while drivers were not working, an approach Uber later adopted as well. The map encouraged drivers to start working when they saw that demand was high.

A heatmap directed drivers to customers in need of service, while providing drivers with more income.

Offline Drivers Cause Late Arrivals

I had previously led a redesign for our sister company LimoAnywhere, where we surveyed professional drivers and learned about their behavior. Read More.

One finding was that – due to the battery drain of tracking apps – many drivers log out of their app to conserve battery, even when the phone is connected to a power source. Logged out drivers interfered with tracking on-time pickups.

Poor GPS tracking caused late arrivals, which flew in the face of GroundLink's On-Time guarantee.

  INSIGHT → SOLUTION  

Multi-modal Alerts + Driver Status + No Logout

Drivers would also lose GPS reception and become invisible to the system, causing frustration as they waited unnecessarily for a job

In order to promote awareness of the drivers online or offline status we implemented a status bar that changes color throughout that app.​

When GPS was disconnected, we changed the status bar color, showed an additional alert, and played audio alerts.

Finally, as there was no need for other drivers to be using the same phone, we did away with the logout feature completely. We were able to acquire rough GPS coordinates of drivers whom we could message in case of emergency level low supply.

Improved GPS tracking reduced the effort of predicting and preventing late arrivals.

Technical & Visual Design 

 

· Exclusion of log-out feature

· Visual & Audio alert for GPS failure

· Status color shown on all screens

· Late arrival prediction

Results & Outcomes

Adoption and Expansion by MTG

GroundLink was recently acquired by ​Marcou Transportation Group (MTG), the parent company of Boston Coach and other car service companies. Due to the success of the app at GroundLink, MTG has begun rolling out the driver app to their subsidiary companies, including Boston Coach.

Marcou Transportation Group is now rolling out the app and dispatch to all subsidiary companies.

Becoming Driver Centered

Throughout the process of developing the app, we used Human-Centered Design principles to transform the organization from calling drivers "supply" to one that tailors solutions to their needs. Our UX research was about prioritizing the features important to both the drivers and the business.

The company reorganized around the principle of adapting to drivers' needs rather than forcing drivers to meet ours.

Revised Status-Update Process for Drivers 

Job Schedule Screen

Job Detail Screen

Update Status for Dispatch

Live Chat with Dispatch

Increased Fleet Size, Improved Retention

We met our original business goal of increasing retention, by immediately incorporating features that were of high value to drivers such as multiple jobs scheduled in advance, direct communication with dispatch, and adding a status for circling the block.

No Disruption to Business

Through a staged a rollout including a plot program with 20 drivers, we were able to catch technical issues and hard to find usability problems before they disrupted the business's primary source of revenue.

Lowest Service Failure Rate in 5 years

By collaborating with the Operations team, and user testing with call center representatives, specific UI changes remedied common errors. A backend arrival time predictor also prevented late pickups. The result was a rapid decrease in service failures and a decrease in the number of refunds issued by GroundLink.