HitchRides is a ride sharing app that connects UCSD students living in the same apartment complex into carpooling groups to and from campus. Our apps main goal is to decrease carbon emissions by reducing the amount of students that drive to campus alone.
I held the role of team lead of this project which was completed with an on campus club called Design for America. Design for America is a national organization that teaches design thinking to address local and social issues. My team consisted of 5 interdisciplinary members and we took on the problem space of energy conservation and transportation. I led my team through each stage of the design process from user research to creating a final product.
- Team lead
- User research
- UX/UI design
- Google Suite
Carbon emissions are one of the leading causes of global warming so we became interested in what UCSD does to reduce their energy consumption. We were originally interested in getting in contact with the transportation department on campus but quickly realized that they were not able to talk to use as much as we needed. We decided to pivot our focus to discovering and understanding the needs of commuter students and how we could help reduce the amount of students that are driving to campus alone.
We sent out online surveys to commuter students to gather general information about our target population.
We asked 10 commuter students to participate in a card sort in which we asked them to group together different cards in any pattern they want. Card examples: car, convenience, bus, cost. etc.
In person surveys
We went out to parking structures on campus and asked commuter students to fill out a survey that hlped us understand their commute, if they carpool, etc.
Students like bringing their cars to campus because it is the most convenient option
Most students would be willing to carpool but don't know people to carpool with
- Majority of students commute a distance of 1-10 miles
"I always see people waiting outside of my apartment complex for their Ubers and Lyfts as I'm driving to campus and think 'Why can't I just give them a ride?'"
We did multiple ideation sessions with the goals of addressing convenience, comfort, and practicality for commuter students needs.
We came up with many ideas from creating carpool parking permits for students to developing a pitch to create parking spots on campus specifically for students who carpool.
Ultimately, we decided to move forward with the idea of creating a ride sharing app for students who live in the same apartment complex's near campus. We eliminated many other ideas due to the difficulty we had in reaching UCSD executives who could help us make changes to parking lots, parking permits, etc.
Functionality & User Flow
Before prototyping, we solidified our app functionality and a user interaction flow starting from a sign up or log in page.
The main functionality of our app is:
- Drivers can input their schedule of when they will be going to and from campus as well as how many seats they have available
- Riders can view upcoming available rides and request to carpool
- User profiles with ratings
- Messaging functionality
- Motivation through energy conservation tracking
We created many iterations of paper prototypes before reaching a unified and concise information flow. Throughout the paper prototyping process, we learned that our app was going to need a lot more pages than we initially thought so we aimed for simplicity in both design and functionality.
Design Specs & Branding
We created design specs in order to maintain consistent branding throughout our app. Our desired look and feel is modern and eco friendly.
HitchRides is a ride sharing app that connects members of the same living communities to and from UCSD. Users can either sign up as a driver or a rider. As a driver, users have the freedom to input when they will be going to/from campus and approve people who request to hitch a ride with them. As a rider, users can view all upcoming rides and request to join a car if there's room. Our app also calculates how much energy users are conserving and provides rewards as users participate in more carpools.
Being the team lead of this year long project helped me grow a lot as a UX researcher, designer, and leader. Teaching my team about the human centered design process and guiding them through this project helped me become more confident in my skills and practice effective leadership. One of the biggest challenges I had with this project was when we were in the initial research phase, we went through many different iterations of what to focus on and it took a while to find a clear and concise focus area. We were able to get through this stage by performing extensive user research and continually narrowing down our project scope until we reached our target audience of commuter students who want to carpool living in apartment complex's near campus (1-10 miles).