HOMOBILES

Designing a Queer-friendly mobile app for rideshare drivers

OVERVIEW

BRIEF

Homobiles is seeking a rideshare mobile app to reach a greater number of passengers in need of a ride. Our task was to design the drivers’ side of the mobile app and improve the experience for Homobiles drivers.

ROLE & DURATION

Lead Visual Designer
Team of 3 designers

3-week project

How can Homobiles create a tool for their drivers that will provide a safe and meaningful work environment?
PROCESS

We went through the following methods for our process:

RESEARCH

ANALYSIS

DESIGN

ITERATION

APPROACH

Doing it the right way

The first thing I did was research the ethical considerations and terminology to better communicate with the LGBTQIA+ community. I realized I didn't know enough and I wanted to be more empathetic to the community beyond this project. I continuously researched so I could make design decisions with evidence and continued to learn as the community generously shared their unique identities, experiences, and opinions.

RESEARCH

Our team was very collaborative in the various research methods because we knew it was crucial to our design decisions and process. I focused on the stakeholder interview, competitive analysis, discussion guide, and surveys.

For the queer community by the queer community

Long before Uber and Lyft, that’s what Lynn Breedlove (he/him), punk-rocking activist, did and continues to do. He conceived Homobiles to serve individuals who, due to their perceived gender or sexuality, were most vulnerable to violence and harassment while traveling on public transportation. This ride with a social mission is a nonprofit that provides a reliable and safe mode of transportation to the San Francisco Bay area LGBTQIA+ community and allies. Homoblies is funded through donations from passengers, benefits, and grants.

STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEW

Understanding their current system

We started with a stakeholder interview to understand how Homobiles is currently operating. The interview was through video conference, so as a team, we recapped with a quick whiteboarding session to make sure we're on the same page.

The main points from the whiteboard session:

  • Outdated system, running via text with dispatch coordinating rides
  • Not enough drivers to accept on-demand rides without long wait times
  • Mostly cater to pre-scheduled rides for gender confirmation surgery
  • Goal is to patrol the streets to provide safe rides at night
  • Drivers provide rides even if the passenger cannot afford it and cover the costs with donations and grants
  • Confusing payroll system for drivers
  • Insufficient recruitment with a slow procedure by submitting application on website and waiting for in-person interview
  • Design for the passenger's side of the mobile app complete
"Moes gettin' hoes where they needz 2 goes" - Lynn Breedlove
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Getting to know the competition

Having only been on the passenger side of rideshare services, I was unfamiliar with the driver’s experience apart from their direct interactions with the passenger. I did a competitive analysis on the following rideshare apps to quickly identify industry-standard features, elements, and qualities.

Uber was the main reference for the UX/UI design. Uber has a straightforward interface for a safe and comprehensive experience for the driver.

Lyft’s visual language was a point of reference for a more friendly vibe. We incorporated their inclusive profile feature.

Safr’s mission and features to ensure the safety of drivers was used as a reference in our solution.

Ride Austin is a locally-based, nonprofit rideshare service that was the community’s solution to the problem. We can identify with the drive and pain points.

USER INTERVIEWS

Understanding the drivers

We prepared surveys and discussion guides to interview rideshare drivers to understand their needs, motivations, and experiences. We specifically interviewed LGBTQIA+ rideshare drivers and how they felt in their workplace.

Here are some responses that stood out:

Driving is a hustle, so I toggle between Uber and Lyft.

I've met so many queer friends. I see myself as a connector anyways.

It's 3 in the morning and I'm not in the mood to explain my gender to passengers.

I'm always concerned about my ratings because you get disadvantages.

I'd feel safer with a safety button feature I could press that wouldn't go directly to 911, but to a support person.

It took me 6 months harassing them to change my name. I go to pick people up and they don't think it's me.

Uber values the experience of passengers over drivers.

AFFINITY MAPPING

To summarize what we discovered

We gathered our findings from the research and organized through a few rounds of affinity mapping to identify trends and pain points. I was able to categorize the top 3 insights.

1

Drive for the income
and flexibility

2

Inclusivity and being able to freely express themselves play
a big role in user satisfaction

3

Drivers want a safer and welcoming workspace

DEFINE

Problem

Homobiles drivers need a more efficient way to accept rides while staying safe in an inclusive environment and earning a transparent wage.

Solution

By designing a rideshare mobile app to efficiently connect drivers to passengers with a focus on LGBTQIA+ safe and inclusive design, Homobiles can retain more drivers and grow while providing a welcoming and meaningful work environment.

USER PERSONA

Identifying the user

The user interviews inspired the following types of user personas to communicate the insights and user goals. We developed the primary persona based on what the majority of our research showed.

USER FLOW

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DESIGN

Translating ideas into Wireframes

We started the ideation process with a design studio to flesh out the architecture and visualize the user flows.  

Due to the short duration of the project, we started to design the most important functions first. As a team, we used the MSCW method and feature matrix to prioritize by our users needs and feasibility. We divided up the wireframes amongst the team and quickly went through drafts to developing higher fidelity wireframes. I focused on the home and following map wireframes.

FEATURES

Designing the Solution

We ideated the following features to clarify the user's needs:

Inclusive Onboarding

Inclusive design enables freedom to express themselves and acceptance to succeed in their work place.

  • During onboarding, no need to specify gender
  • Text field to customize pronoun
  • Simple process of just editing profile for transitions
Easy and Reliable Co-pilot

Keeping the navigation screens uncluttered yet intuitive with all the necessary information accessible to ensure safe driving.

  • Status bar at the bottom of the screen expands to show details of trip
  • Quick notification showing the next destination will appear
  • Confirm the correct passenger by matching color-number combination
  • Safety button on all screens for easy access
Safety Measures

Safety button appears on all screens for easy access to different levels of help

  • Stay connected with trust contacts and share location in real time
  • Call Homobiles directly to report incidents
  • Call 911 with in-app button and refer to the current location and vehicle information shown to share with emergency dispatcher
Support System

Users feel like Homobiles cares for them and are open to communication and feedback

  • Communication between Homobiles and drivers goes both ways
  • After each trip, users convey their experience by choosing between three emotions
  • Users can report further comments to Homobiles about the app, passenger, or other experience
MOBILE MOCKUPS
ITERATION

Is it usable?

We tested the prototype on 5 users and had them carry out the following tasks:

  1. Go through the onboarding process.
  2. Call Homobiles directly to report incidents
  3. Call 911 with in-app button and refer to the current location and vehicle information shown to share with emergency dispatcher
VISUAL DESIGN

Building off the Homobiles brand

As the Visual Design Lead, I was responsible for the look and feel of the mobile app. The side of the app for riders has already been designed, so we aimed to create an experience that is cohesive with the existing content.

I started with the moodboard to communicate the the tone and personality of the app.

STYLE GUIDE

The style guide I created is loosely defined in the typography, colors, and components. We went through a lot of trial and error and defined our standards throughout the process.

I made sure the user interfaces met the minimum accessibility contrast guidelines.

LESSONS LEARNED

Growing Pains

It was an amazing learning experience in inclusive design. I learned that I knew less than I thought and their stories showed that I had gender assumptions and unconscious bias. My teammates were amazing and always challenged any bias I might have. Recognizing the gender diversity and incorporating gender fluid language is a continuing work in progress, as I continue to grow as a designer and person.

“Many LGBTQ people experience anxiety while moving through the world. They deserve to get where they're going free from fear.”

Lynn Breedlove
Special thanks to
Please contact me if you would like to see more from our process!