FRAMING THE PROBLEM
It's awesome that Intuit has generously rented cars for summer interns this year. But this privilege also means that we need to manage carpool groups. Doing this everyday, twice a day is time-consuming and stressful.
The current experience is fragmented and asynchronous.
114 interns communicate on multiple Slack channels, Hipchat, Group me and messaging to make sense of it.
Meridio is a mobile app saves time and effort by providing an easy way to share cars just in time and in advance. Though intended for a focussed group of summer interns, it could be scaled up to all Intuit employees and even all those who work in Mountain View and live around the Bay.
Meridio is Greek for 'Share'. Rather than automating carpooling Meridio supports compromise and encourages adjustments essential to sharing cars and experiences during an internship.
VALIDATING THE PROBLEM
As someone who doesn't drive here, I was aware of the issues I faced. I wanted to understand how people who drive are impacted.I also wanted to find out if this was a problem that impacted more people than just me and my carpool group. These are some of the things those who drive and those who ride said -
Keeping track of who's travelling with me is not hard but it''s the co-ordination around it that is
All the responsibility of planning it out falls on me
Safety is the most important thing
Sometimes I'm looking for a ride but I first need to make sure that there is a driver for the car I usually drive
Nobody asks me to do it but I feel like I should offer
I don't mind having to adjusting my time upto an hour as long as I know beforehand
I feel bad about bothering people to ask for a ride
At the end of the day, I don't know when we're leaving the next day.
I don't want to inconvenience the rest of my carpool group
I wish I knew who left early on a regular basis so I could take a ride with them when I need to reach early.
Others in my group are in different teams and everyone has different time preferences
WIREFRAMING THE SOLUTION
To define the features and how the new platform would work, I created sketches on paper.
INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE - DESKTOP SITE
A desktop site seemed to be the best solution - a platform that passengers could refer to and request rides on and drivers could find other drivers. Click here to view the site or click on any of the images to navigate to the site.
Page to create an account
The Schedule page to view available spots. The car with 4 spots left is promoted since that makes the car eligibe for the carpool lane at that time.
Search for spots in advance
After walking people through the website, I realized that Meridio would work better as a mobile app. If we needed to quickly figure out a ride, we'd most likely unlock our phones first rather than opening our laptops. In order for notifications to work for both kinds of users, an app is more appropriate than a mobile website.
There were also some steps that could be shortened. For example, the information needed to create an account could be pulled in from the Intuit employee database.
The process of filling out the entire work and home addresses was cumbersome and unnecessary since all of us live in the same neighbourhood and work in the same office.
PROTOTYPING THE MOBILE APP EXPERIENCE
REFINING THE PROTOTYPE
The prototype can be viewed here. It's simulated as a mobile app but can be viewed on a browser.
First step in creating an account
Filling out the form
Second step of creating an account
Confirmation of new account
Asking for a confirmation of the request
Viewing the ride schedule
Scrolling down to the bottom of the schedule - CTA to Request a Ride if the user can't find a ride
Confirmation of the request
Scrolling to the top of the schedule to Join a car
The global menu
Message on the home screen
Message for the other riders in the car