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ClassCars

Google Classroom + Lyft

In this project, I took two pre-existing apps and combined their features to design a new product. What resulted was a ride-share service for university students called ClassCars.

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Project:

Combine two unrelated apps to encourage a new behavior

Tools:

Figma, Mural, Photoshop, After Effects

Skills:

Sketching, wire-framing, prototyping, UI design, user testing, personas, FTUE design, video editing, micro-interactions

Course:

Time Studio 2: Behavior, Michael Chanover

Duration:

7 weeks; October 2021 - November 2021

Mashup

When selecting the two apps, I thought about the sort of behavior I wanted to encourage, and eventually landed on something that would aid in the climate crisis. Ride-sharing as a climate solution immediately came to mind, so I chose Lyft as one of the apps. I then looked at the apps I already had on my phone and picked one at random I was familiar with: Google Classroom.

Lyft

Lyft is a mobile app that offers vehicles for hire, motorized scooters, a bicycle-sharing system, rental cars, and food delivery. The features that stood out to me were the map showing nearby rides and the ability to request and pay for rides.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a learning platform for teachers and students that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments. The features I initially wanted to include were the classes panels, assignments, and social aspect.

 

How Might We encourage ride-sharing between university students?

 
Research

Ride-sharing between students seemed like a good behavior to promote, so I did some research on it and its implications as a climate solution.

Secondary

To figure out who the target audience of this app could be and who I could model a persona for, I did some research. This is what I found out:

  • About 25% of US citizens use a ride-sharing app at least once a month
     

  • 87% of university students commute to classes
     

  • 43% of university students work part-time

  • It's estimated that ride-sharing helps reduce car emissions between 34% and 41% per year per each household using these services

Primary

Since most college students seemed to need to commute to class, and being in college myself, I found it easy to recruit participants to weigh in on the idea of a ride-share app for students. Below are the insights I got from talking to fellow students:

  • A commute service would be more useful to students in large universities than those in smaller schools like mine (CCA)

  • Many liked the idea of being able to make some extra cash

  • Being able to choose to ride with other students from the same class and discuss homework could be an appealing feature

Persona

Below is a persona I created based on who my research showed could be a prime user.

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Persona for average ClassCars user; Figma

 
Mashup Process

Figuring out the different micro-interactions I could mashup from each was what I spent most of my energy on in the initial stages of this project. These were the three main ideas:

  1. Students can drive other students going to the same location as them and get paid for it
     

  2. Students can get rides with other students going to the same location and ask questions about their classes if they share any
     

  3. Users can view classes and their locations on a map by entering their school's name to find specific rooms and buildings

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Sketches

Before pushing pixels, I sketched out some of the screens I thought the app should include. I looked through Google Classroom and Lyft and their visual styles and UI components and thought about how the micro-interactions could be combined in this new app. I wanted to use the 'class' panels from Classroom and the central map function from Lyft, so I created a 'Classes' card that users would swipe up on when choosing a destination.

After choosing a class, users would be directed to a thorough map of the campus, including buildings and room numbers, and view assignments. If there is a group project, they could select which group member will be driving and schedule with others through this app. I eventually decided against this feature though, as it might not be frequently useful enough to be necessary.

Sketches of possible screens; Graphite

Wire-framing

In Figma, I brought in screenshots of the two apps to reference, as well as some from Apple Maps and the CSU Long Beach app.

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References used; Figma

As I created the Figma prototype, I tried to stay true to the sort of color scheme Lyft and other map-based apps use. I took the Lyft magenta and changed it to a softer pink to complement Classroom's rounded aesthetic, and an overall calming design. The features I created micro-interactions for were searching for a campus, selecting to drive others, and selecting a driver to ride with. Below is a rough cut of the prototype.

Rough cut of prototype; Figma

I received some feedback from my professor and classmates, mainly about visual design decisions, and edited the prototype based on their suggestions. Below are the final screens.

 
Final Mashup Video

After finishing the prototype, I recorded the path a user might take while interacting with it. I wrote a script for a promotional video and did some editing in After Effects. This was the final deliverable for this half of the project.

Final Mashup App Video; After Effects

 
 
First Time User Experience

The second half of this mashup project was to design a first time user experience for the app. Our class started out by listing out what we thought were the features of a good FTUE.

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Group brainstorm of what makes a good FTUE; Mural

Sketches

When starting my FTUE concept, I thought about which features I wanted to highlight, as well as how to do so. Here were the main ideas I wanted to include:

  1. Brief overview of ClassCars and the value it will add to a user's life
     

  2. Users sign in through their Google account so the data from Google Classroom can quickly and easily transfer over to ClassCars

     

  3. Users can choose to enable location services and notifications, which will build trust​ and respect privacy​
     

  4. A short walkthrough of the app and its main features

Before sketching any screens, I deleted and re-downloaded Google Classroom and Lyft to my phone to see what the FTUEs of these apps were. I used this as inspiration and as a reference for what elements I could mash up together for the ClassCars FTUE.

In the sketches on the right, I was trying to figure out the tutorial portion of the FTUE. I thought the best way to introduce the various features to the user would be to have a small box of text explaining an action they could take as well as highlighting the part of the screen I want them to interact with. Not all of these screen ideas made it to the final set, but this was the starting point.

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Sketches of possible screens; Graphite

Wire-framing

I moved into Figma to create the FTUE prototype. My main focus was making sure the user could get through it quickly and efficiently, so I tried not to overcomplicate steps in the process. I also made sure to stay consistent with the look and feel I had defined in the first half of this project so that the experience wouldn't feel fragmented.

User Testing

After finishing a preliminary Figma prototype, I recruited 3 participants to test what I had with. I asked questions about the FTUE process, the screens, the design choices, the simplicity, the speed at which it was finished, what they thought worked well and what didn't. These were the main insights:

  1. The overall visual design is pleasing, and the pink felt soothing to all the participants.
     

  2. Signing in through Google was straightforward and understandably necessary. While an FTUE should try not to force users to create an account, the ability to use a pre-existing account was the best alternative.
     

  3. The onboarding screens (location, notifications, payment) were fast and easy to get through.
     

  4. The text in the tutorial was a bit too small so it was hard to read for one participant.
     

  5. It was hard to tell which visual components were highlighted during the tutorial.
     

  6. ​The lead-in from the onboarding screens to the tutorial didn't need a static screen with buttons for users to move the process along with.

Experiments

Before committing to the final screens, I experimented with a few ideas in Figma. These were shown to the testing participants and changed after I received feedback. Below are some of the choices I decided against and what I replaced them with.

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Initial Screen 1; Figma

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Initial Screen 2; Figma

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Revised Screen; Figma

One of the first things I tried was using a gesture icon to show the user they could slide up the classes card.

I decided against it though because swiping an element up is a very common interaction already and is fairly self-explanatory, so it seemed unnecessary to include the icon animation. The bar at the top of the card also indicates to users that it can be pulled up, which was further reason the pointer icon was not needed.

After all the onboarding screens, I wanted to lead into the tutorial somehow. I originally included the screen on the left so that the user could choose to use the service immediately instead of going through a walkthrough, but after testing, I found that the tutorial was fairly short already, so it made more sense to create an animation that would jump right into it. The user also wouldn't have to click any more buttons.

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Initial Screen; Figma

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Revised Screen; Figma

Final FTUE Video

Once I completed the FTUE path, I made a video showing how a user would interact with it. I tried keeping the branding consistent with the last video with the music and tone. This was the final deliverable for the second half of the project.

Process Book
 
Reflection

From this project, I learned that a solid idea makes it easy to recognize the features that should be introduced to a user from the beginning. When the concepts of the app's features were clear, the summary of them were as well, and this definitely expedited the FTUE creation process and revealed to me what aspects of the app the tutorial needed to cover. 

Additionally, I learned about the importance of accessible design. Some of my participants during the usability test had poor eyesight and so the text during the FTUE tutorial was difficult to read. The difference between the progress indicator and skip button also wasn't clear, which made it difficult to tell whether they were both buttons that could be interacted with or not. Overall, the visual design of this app could have benefited from a little more time and consideration of inclusivity.