Improve the ride-hailing experience for Persons with Disabilities
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.
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
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)
Ride Journey for a Driver
Ride Journey for a Rider with Hearing Impairment (HI)
Those with hearing impairment mainly face difficulties in communication, before and during the ride itself.
Inability to pick up calls from drivers, who may call to confirm the ride, or notify of changes in pick up location or timing.
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.
When receiving prompts or reaching a mini-milestone that makes the rider feel assured in proceeding to the next step.
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.
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
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.
After feature prioritisation and clustering of ideas, the common themes that emerged are as follows.
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 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 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!