HOMOBILES | RIDE SHARE APP
a ride share app for the LGBTQIA+ community
Roles & Responsibilities
Research: Discovering Need & Opportunity
Working with two colleagues, I developed a mobile app for a text-based ride-sharing service for the LGBTQIA community. The purpose of this ride-sharing service is to create a safe, affordable, and inclusive transportation service. Over three weeks, we researched the current ride-sharing service, identified their challenges and need for support. Through a process of research, ideation, and testing, we designed Homobiles ride-sharing app.
As a team, we collaborated on the research and design. I took the lead on research and created the research plan, surveys, interview guides and conducted both interviews and competitive analysis. I also led portions of the synthesis and ideation by designing the style tiles, style guide, finalizing all copy with a focus on inclusive language, and designing appropriate accessibility features.
In three weeks, we designed an app that developers are currently building. Our design includes features for safety and accessibility with a brand style that is fun, trendy, and empowering. We developed wireframes, visual design, tested our prototype with users, and delivered our work to a team of developers as well as to the CEO of Homobiles.
During the research phase, I gathered both quantitative and qualitative data on Homobiles riders and drivers in San Francisco, CA as well as ride-sharing riders and drivers who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Austin, TX. The purpose of this research was to determine what passengers and drivers need from a ride-sharing app to ensure safety and efficiency. My research was conducted in two cities to collect data on how to expand Homobile’s services beyond their current reach.
Research confirmed that members of the LGBTQIA+ community felt unsafe using most ride-sharing apps due to not knowing if they will face discrimination from drivers, passengers, as well as any possible hate crimes that could occur while waiting for their ride.
What do prospective Homobile users need?
Safety vs Reliability: Users need reliable services and did not want to wait 20 + minutes for a ride.
Transportation Use: Nightclubs are the #1 pickup and destination for Homobiles riders.
Payment: Riders prefer a fee-based model as the sliding scale model made riders unsure of how much to pay and increased their anxiety.
Interface: Users prefer Lyft’s interface due to the easy-to-navigate UX Design
Technology: The majority of riders use iPhones leading to our choice to develop an iOS interface.
Based on our contextual interviews and surveys- we developed two personas and journey maps.
Persona 1 - San Francisco, CA
Lulu is a social single drag queen who is 37. She is need of a ride-sharing service that is affordable, reliable, safe, and easy to use. Additionally, she wants to thank her driver with a tip when she arrives at her destination.
Lulu “As Is - Journey” (now)
Lulu is familiar with the Homobiles service and wants to continue to support them. She pre-books a ride from home to get to work at a bar where she is a drag performer. Her driver is friendly driver and arrives on time. She pays upon arrival and donates an extra amount to the non profit to help pay for a future rider. She is dropped off at work and arrives safely.
After work Lulu texts Homobiles for an immediate ride. But, she waits to hear back because Homobiles is too busy and does not have enough drivers. Lulu is in her performance wear, is stressed and feeling unsafe outside of the workplace. She continues waiting and orders a different ride-sharing service instead. While waiting for the new car the driver pulls up, pulls away, and drives off when he sees her in full drag. Lulu is vulnerable. But wait- Homobiles texts back and says they can arrive shortly & she gets picked up, home safely, and her driver is nice and friendly. However, the experience was an emotional rollercoaster. Lulu needs an app with more efficient communication and safety checks so she can be safe.
Persona 2- Austin, TX
Moody is a caring, religious, non-binary, and inclusive. They are twenty-nine and need a ride-sharing service where Moody will feel accepted and seen. They appreciate trendy branding and features to promote safety.
Moody “To Be- Journey” (future)
Moody has never used Homobiles and is out in Austin with some friends. It’s late and Moody needs a ride home. They order a Homobiles ride via the app. Moody is anxious as they are standing alone at night outside the bar but the driver shows up in under 5 minutes and shows Moody a turquoise light with the #4. Moody gets in the car but NPR is playing a clip of the president’s update on immigration. Moody has been targeted before and is feeling tense. The driver asks about the club they were at and Moody questions whether they can trust this driver. But thinks, why not? Moody decides to send their route to a friend & they feel safe. The driver is on the phone and talks about Moody in the third person using the correct pronoun. Moody feels seen, respected, and understood. Moody’s driver drops them off and tells Moody it was nice meeting and talking. Moody feels connected and appreciated and thinks, what a great ride!
ideation : Brand & Interaction
The style guide is designed with AAA conformance & branding is inspired by our research participants and Lynn Breedlove, the CEO of Homobiles.
My team sketched the design features and our UI lead created a series of wireframes for testing. The wireframes incorporate the layout and content that aligns with both business and user goals. The first iterations of mid-fidelity wireframes incorporated key features from our ridesharing app research as well as additional copy and features that meet the needs of the Homobiles community.
I asked 4 participants to test out the usability of the prototype. The participants were men and women who ranged in age 25-40. The participants met with our team to complete the usability test. The tasks to complete were:
Book a ride immediately. Then, navigate through the app as a rider until you arrive at your destination.
Book a ride for later in the day. Use the color & number assignment for pick up once your driver confirms your ride and picks you up.
At the end of your ride, donate to Homobiles.
Overall, users navigated through the app with ease. However, navigating payment, understanding each feature, and the order of services within the app needed to be further developed.
Confirm the user account details when setting up a new account.
Update the location of the payment methods for easier access.
Edit the copy to include inclusive terminology discovered via user research.
Rearrange the order of navigation to reflect the prioritization of user needs.
Final Brand Identity:
The feedback from the CEO and our participants was very positive. My next steps is to continue to work with our client to build the driver’s side of the app. I will continue the iterative cycle of testing and updating to ensure both the driver and passenger version of the app work together to support all users of Homobiles.
Learn more …
In-Person Interviews in Austin, TX:
I designed an in-person interview guide for members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Austin, TX and reached out to local establishments to secure three people to interview between the ages of 27 and 38. I asked them about their ride-sharing experiences with a focus on safety, accessibility, and what interface designs lead them to prioritize certain ride-sharing services.
Passenger & Driver Surveys:
To design a ridesharing app that ensures great user experience for the LGBTQIA+ community, I identified the needs of the Homobiles target audience by collecting surveys in two regions: San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX.
San Francisco launched Homobiles in 2010 as a text-based service (passengers text the Homobiles drivers). Since Lynn is invested in an expansion model, it made sense to research in my home city of Austin, TX to gather additional data to support a region outside of the current Homobiles market.
I listened to his episode on The Moth (The Birth of the Homobile) and watched his Upworthy video where he further discusses how Homobiles makes members of the LGBTQIA community safe with an added focus on supporting members of the community to and from gender-affirmation surgeries.