Grab x (these)abilities

I facilitated and took part in a 9 weeks long workshop by (these)abilities, a social enterprise that aims to enable Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) through design and technology.

The weekly workshop aims to improve the ride-hailing experience of the Grab app for the Blind and Deaf community. The sessions provided opportunities for participants to interact with Persons with Disabilities and co-create solutions using design thinking.

Platform
iOS app

Role
Workshop Facilitation
Research
User Experience Design
User Interface Design

 

The Process

 
 
 

Understanding the Ride Journey

Apart from interviewing PwDs, we did role plays and played devil’s advocate, in order to imagine best and worst case scenarios that PwDs have to go through. This was also where we uncovered measures that PwDs currently use to cope with their troubles, e.g. the Blind using audio-enabled GPS to track whether the cab is heading in the right direction.

 

The key stakeholders in the ride hailing journey will include both the rider and driver. Breaking down their ride journeys respectively allowed us to identifying goals, expectations, pleasure and pain points at each part of the journey.

 

Ride Journey for a Rider with Visual Impairment (VI)

  HIGHLIGHTS   One interesting habit of an interviewee was that he always brings a blue cap with him, for cab drivers to easily identify him.

HIGHLIGHTS

One interesting habit of an interviewee was that he always brings a blue cap with him, for cab drivers to easily identify him.

Ride Journey for a Driver

  HIGHLIGHTS   Drivers are usually on the road while interacting with the screen . In addition, the  screen view is usually in less-than-ideal situations e.g. under sunlight, far away from eyes.   Hence, information display should be simple and clear.  Scrolling is favoured above multiple tapping due to greater tap area and ease of accessing information.

HIGHLIGHTS

Drivers are usually on the road while interacting with the screen . In addition, the screen view is usually in less-than-ideal situations e.g. under sunlight, far away from eyes.  Hence, information display should be simple and clear.

Scrolling is favoured above multiple tapping due to greater tap area and ease of accessing information.

Ride Journey for a Rider with Hearing Impairment (HI)


Those with hearing impairment mainly face difficulties in communication, before and during the ride itself.

  1. Inability to pick up calls from drivers, who may call to confirm the ride, or notify of changes in pick up location or timing.
  2. Having trouble in communicating to the driver through basic sign language, pen and paper, or typing on their phones. Drivers will have limited ability in communicating through visual aids since they are on the wheel. Instances include the rider communicating preferring routes, the driver changing routes due to own reasons/ traffic jam, communicating payment details.

We also learnt that independence was key for HI. If they need to seek help from the public to help in talking to a driver, they may choose to cancel the ride.


Designing for Emotion

We realised that especially for PwDs, riders feelings are centered around certainty (or lack thereof), as every step in the journey is imperative to achieving a successful ride hailing outcome.

The state of rider emotions consists of three broad tiers: satisfaction, uncertainty and anxiety.

Satisfaction
When receiving prompts or reaching a mini-milestone that makes the rider feel assured in proceeding to the next step.

Uncertainty
Due to difficulty in communication between the driver and rider, lack of trust in whether the driver has the rider’s best interests at heart, and information gap in fare pricing.

Anxiety
Concerns about safety at pick-up and drop-off points.

Hence, a good design will

  • Display timely and relevant ride-specific information
  • Keep rider aware of immediate steps
  • Capture delight moments through mini-milestones
  • Deliver timely prompts
  • Communicate rider needs to driver
  • Facilitate exchanges between rider and driver

Focus Areas

Communication is essential, expectations and needs should be effectively conveyed to both the rider and driver, especially at the booking stage.

Visibility of status is important for riders to feel at ease during the ride itself.

Driver sensitivity towards PwDs plays a huge part in the ride experience. Drivers can provide verbal updates in traffic information to those with visual impairment, follow standard routes to ease the rider and even extend their services, such as offering to guide the rider to a safe location outside of the cab.


Based on the key findings and focus areas, we used the 6-3-5 method (6 in group/ 3 ideas per round/ 5 minutes per round) to brainstorm on how the ride journey can be improved.

Thinking Wild

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After feature prioritisation and clustering of ideas, the common themes that emerged are as follows. 


Prototyping Concepts

My team worked on the first focus area, to communicate expectations and needs between rider and driver, especially at the booking stage. 

Multiple iterations of paper prototyping, wireframing and testing with PwDs were conducted. It was especially interesting to prototype the screen reader function, using the 'Wizard of Oz' method, where we manually narrated out what would be said given certain user gestures.

Here are the final concepts!

Rider Profile

Rider Submit Booking

Driver Accept Booking


What I Learnt

I had a lot of valuable takeaways from designing and interacting with PwDs. My greatest insight was the importance of universal accessibility. Inclusive design pushes on the boundaries of innovation and allows us to notice details that more often than not, can benefit everyone. 

(I’ve penned down some thoughts on empathising with PwDs in this article as well. Take a look!

I have also become more well-versed with the screen reader function, as well has several other designs that extent beyond the screen interface (e.g. using vibrations as timely alerts).

All in all, it was a very fulfilling and enriching experience!