Featured posts Show

Uber as a service is awesome but their app is not

home-hero-5-1440-900

I heard about Uber a few years ago and have been itching to try it ever since. Everytime I visited a town without a car I’d reinstall the app and check to see if Uber was there. Finally, this last week in San Diego I hit paydirt.

I first took a ride in the black car which was nice. After that I stuck to Uber-x, the cheaper service. I talked with each of my drivers about their experience and without exception they all raved about Uber. One man told me he had been a mechanic his whole life but with a sore back and knees he had to give it up. He said he was thrilled to get with Uber making around $60,000/year to drive around. He writes off his miles, Uber doesn’t pay for them, and in a Prius that turns out to be a pretty good deal.

All of my drivers dressed nice, had exceptionally clean new cars, and were unfailingly polite.

The Uber app on the other hand is a bit confusing.

Set pickup location

Set pickup location

Setting pickup is straight forward enough. The pin stays centered no matter what you do so to set the location you have to drag the screen to center on where you want the car to be. That can be a bit wonky, I’d rather just tap and it would be nice if I could set which side of the street I’m on.

Request a car

Request a car

I fiddled with this for a while before getting my car.

After setting a pickup location this is the next screen. As a new user I was confused because I thought I would set my destination. One of the advantages is knowing how much it costs right? I fiddled with this for a while before getting my car. I did a fair quote which gave me the estimate but none of my drivers ever saw the destination I set even though its available to them through there app.

Searching for the dropoff location

Searching for the dropoff location

I’m so used to live search that I thought the app was broken here. How could it not know where the airport is? You have to tap the search icon or go on the keyboard to get it to actually search. The no results found is for a live search of nearby locations. Why would I want an estimate to a nearby location? I’m at a nearby location and I don’t need a ride to get there. It would probably be ok if instead of showing “no results” it gave a “tap to search” or something.

Adding a credit card

Adding a credit card

Where’s the save button?

The first time I setup Uber this wasn’t an issue because I logged in with Google and set Uber to use Google Wallet. When setting up my wife’s phone I used the scan credit card feature which worked great. After the scan I was kicked back to a screen just like this. What to do? Clearly I don’t want paypal. Where’s the save button? Its the grayed out next button in the top right which on my phone was very small and in the glare of sunlight totally invisible. Finally I realized that it was missing a CVV number and after setting it the button because slightly more visible.

Just make a giant button below. Searching for this top right nonsense is silly.

Other thoughts

I’d love to be able to set the destination ahead of time so when the driver picks me up they can say “We’re going to X?” and I can just say yes. With addresses this would be especially useful as I don’t always have them in my head or readily available after loading bags, etc, into the car.

Several times I had drivers call me to ask where I was which was a very cool feature but would be less needed if Uber showed my GPS location as a pin in their own app. Twice the car got there a minute before Uber projected and I saw the car drive by while I was still walking to the pickup spot.

For any complaints or issues I’ll go Uber everytime now. It’s so much better.

Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014
8
7 comments
kate2
kate2

Kate here, Community Manager for Uber San Diego. Appreciate the detailed feedback on your experience with our app. The reason we don't share the drop-off location with your driver is so they accept as many trips as possible, regardless of distance being traveled. You can always get a fare quote within the app at or www.uber.com before your trip.


You made some great points here. I encourage you to share these concerns and suggestions at t.uber.com/support. Always love hearing about features that we can improve upon. :)


Take care!


Kate

bobthecow
bobthecow

1. Yes, it is awesome.


2. You're an Android user, remember? The app's better on better phones ;)


3. Uber drivers *do* see your GPS pin, but they don't trust it because so many phones are crap about GPS accuracy. One driver told me that he's seen GPS pins jump blocks at a time. So they drive to the pickup, not to the pin.

Dan Awesome
Dan Awesome moderator

@kate2  Thanks Kate! Thanks for sharing the info. I really appreciate it. 

Dan Awesome
Dan Awesome moderator

@bobthecow  Oh, i asked the driver if they could see our pin and he said no. I wonder if he just didn't want to talk about it or something. Or maybe it was too far away. 


The Android complaint is a bit of a copout, they made the app, they could make it the exact same as the iOS app if they wanted. 

bobthecow
bobthecow

@Dan Awesome The comment about Android is an observation, not a copout. Startups *would* like to do everything, and do everything perfectly, but the reality is that there's a giant resource allocation optimization function. Spending dev cycles on one project means they can't be spent on another. And you're a member of a demographic which tends to be reluctant to pay dollars for goods and services, so it's not super surprising that a larger share of the resources have been allocated toward a more financially viable audience.

bobthecow
bobthecow

@Dan Awesome But there have been:


http://www.asymco.com/2012/11/26/the-android-engagement-paradox/


http://blog.gogoair.com/?p=193


See also Gruber's comment on a Branch thread about the first link:


"The elephant in the room: people who choose iOS devices are better customers than people who choose Android. Or inverted: iOS (and iOS devices) are designed to attract better customers.


I think the reason many shy from stating this bluntly is that "better customers" sounds dangerously close to "better people". But there's no reason to tip-toe around this. There's no hypocrisy in believing that all people are created equal, but all customers are not."


http://branch.com/b/android-vs-ios-usage#E3zYpuD4lEE

Dan Awesome
Dan Awesome moderator

@bobthecow


Good point.


I wonder about the iOS vs Android stuff. I haven't seen any really conclusive studies around it. 


If you think Android always does worse so you don't put the same amount of resources into making a great Android experience wouldn't be expect the degraded experience to impact Android-derived revenue?