Mobile App for GroundLink Drivers
Building a mobile dispatch platform to achieve business objectives.
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.
· Customer demand for rides not met.
· Complaints from drivers waiting a long time for jobs.
· Increased driver error & late pickups.
· 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.
· 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 .
User & stakeholder interviews, user & competitor personas, business process mapping, surveys, statistical analysis, competitive analysis.
· 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
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
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
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
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.