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.
Combine two unrelated apps to encourage a new behavior
Figma, Mural, Photoshop, After Effects
Sketching, wire-framing, prototyping, UI design, user testing, personas, FTUE design, video editing, micro-interactions
Time Studio 2: Behavior, Michael Chanover
7 weeks; October 2021 - November 2021
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 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 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?
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.
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
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
Below is a persona I created based on who my research showed could be a prime user.
Persona for average ClassCars user; Figma
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:
Students can drive other students going to the same location as them and get paid for it
Students can get rides with other students going to the same location and ask questions about their classes if they share any
Users can view classes and their locations on a map by entering their school's name to find specific rooms and buildings
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
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.
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.
Group brainstorm of what makes a good FTUE; Mural
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:
Brief overview of ClassCars and the value it will add to a user's life
Users sign in through their Google account so the data from Google Classroom can quickly and easily transfer over to ClassCars
Users can choose to enable location services and notifications, which will build trust and respect privacy
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.
Sketches of possible screens; Graphite
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.
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:
The overall visual design is pleasing, and the pink felt soothing to all the participants.
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.
The onboarding screens (location, notifications, payment) were fast and easy to get through.
The text in the tutorial was a bit too small so it was hard to read for one participant.
It was hard to tell which visual components were highlighted during the tutorial.
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.
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.
Initial Screen 1; Figma
Initial Screen 2; Figma
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.
Initial Screen; Figma
Revised Screen; Figma