Simob app screen shot

Problem statement


The project was an original idea developed by my team Pradeep Debata (Business developer), Mariam Wakili (Web designer) and I, Abdulkadir Mohammed (UI & UX designer) during a weekend Hackathon hosted by Transport Systems Catapult. This was on behalf of TFL in November of twenty 2015. Our team name was SIMOB, which we used as the brand for the application.


Firstly, I will give details of what we did during the project and show the end results, then I will tell you how I reviewed the project and what my findings and improvements are and showing the end result.


The DIAL-A-RIDE service currently operates by scheduling bookings a day or more before travel. The ride is also shared by others going to the same area or place, which puts customers in a position of discomfort by making them wait days, sometimes weeks for the service.

We decided on improving the service by making it an on-demand transport system, accessible through an app on a mobile phone or device that would provide a way for customers to be able to easily use the platform. They can get the service any time they need it, as well as enable service officials to locate their customers with ease.

The time scale for the hackathon was two days. We were introduced to our tasks on Saturday and we presented our solution on Sunday.

Team Aproach

We brainstormed and came up with a quick solution to our problem. We felt this was the best approach to take on the project, due to the time constraints. We then decided to come up with research questions, by gathering data on the existing Dial-a-Ride service.

Some of our questions were:
1. Who are the users of the service?
2. Why is there no real-time service?
3. How will a mobile application improve the service?

What we learnt from the data:
The users of the service are the elderly. Customers have to call to be able to book, and they can only book a day or two ahead. Customers have to wait for long time on the phone before they get through to the booking team.

Our Solution:
We concluded that we could build an IOS application that will be easy for the elderly to use by setting a departure time, taping a button and getting a ride.
The application registration process will be easy for the elderly, since their data is already on the TfL database. The customer would only need to enter their member number code, and their profile would be automatically built for them.

Our End Product

End product

A UX Review of the product

Image of the author

After developing my knowledge further on UX design, i decided to review the project from a UX point of view, doing a full research and design.

Some research questions asked:
1. Who are the competition and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
2.How will Dial-a-ride provide an On-demand transport for the elderly?
3. How will the customer fill in their destination within the application?
4. How can we make the app more accessible to everyone and the buttons and text larger?
5. What if they forgot their login details?
6. How will a customer cancel a ride already on its way?


My Role


1 Problem outline

Competition Review

Customer review

Product and customer alignment review

Product overhaul

Complete product design

2 Research Questions

Some questions asked;

How will a mobile application improve the service?

Who are the competition and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

How will the customer fill in their destination within the application?

is there a way we can make the application icons and text larger?

3 Market research

At the time of our presenting the application to the stakeholders, we were told that Uber had just launched a simillar application (Uber Assist)the day before. The London dial-a-ride service is a free government service for the elderly, our aim was to make the service more accessible and on-demand and so i did a market research to see the what is possible and what is not.

It is better to create a webb App, than an ios app as it can be accessed on any platform

The dial a ride can work with local cabs in order to achieve the on-demand strategy of the app

Competitive Analysis

Competitie Analysis Screen shot

I reviewed Uber Assist as a competitor, and compared both Uber Assist and Dial a Ride ’s strengths and weaknesses.

From the findings, it was apparent that the development of an application will still serve an important role for the Dial-a-ride customers, knowing that they can choose to get a free ride from Dial-a-Ride service but with constraints. and they can also get the option of a payed ride from Uber Assist and other private cabs at a price.

Which means uber/private cabs are not competition but rather work in synergy with Dial-a-ride


Working with local/private cabs

Private cab Screen shot

The key for achieving an on-demand transport system is through the recruitment of local and private cab services. This brings in focus why a cab version of the application should be produced in the future development. As we were only asked to produce the customer version of the application we did not exploit the drivers sersion of the app


A Closer look at the customers

Customer Screen shot

As of 26 February 2018, there are 45,621 registered members across London, the dial a ride service is currently booked by calling the service, some of the pain points mentioned in the research were that:
1. Bookings are taken only on specific weekdays
2. Customers compete to call as early as they can to book a service.
3. Services are also booked a day before the journey.
4. Customers/none customers cannot book the service any time they want As a rsult, customers are looking for alternative ways to book the service(Steer Davies Gleave, 2009).

Adults Access to Smartphones & Social Media:
A 2017 Research shows that 4 in 10 (39%) seniors aged over 65 use smart phones and tablets, the rise of over 75s using smart phones is 15% and the use of tablets has gone up to 27% (Ofcom 2017).

48% of seniors within the age range of 65 - 74 have social media profiles, and 41% of seniors above the age of 75 do have social media profiles.
Seniors over 65 use of social media:
Facebook: 87%
86% do not plan to use mobile phones or social media. (Ofcom 2017).

We can deduce that the popularity of smart phones and social media is increasing within the elderly people’s demographic. Slowly and surely, the growing understanding of how easy life has become with a smart phone at hand for example, always having your reminders, alarms, navigation, and quick access to friends and family is important to many, which pushes the elderly to learn to use these devices.



Proto-Person Screen shot

Considering the time scale for the project, a proto-persona would have been the best approach to a customer analysis, I went ahead and produced some proto-persona's in order to refine the data already gathered by putting myself in the shoes of the customers.

George Mansfield's Context scenario
1. While George was trying to book a ride, he was informed that there is a new application for booking a ride with just a click of a button, available in the app store or dial a ride website. He says his sight is not as good as it used to be and he does not use his mobile phone much, but was told there is voice assistant and the buttons and texts are really large to make usage easier, he was told he could be sent a link for the application through text and he agreed.
2. George was willing to try the new easy way of booking a ride and so he waited for the sms, the sms finally arrives on his android phone and he downloads the application, the registration process was so simple, it just required his membership number and then pops up his profile, it was amazingly fast. Within seconds he hears the voice assistant asking him “would you like a ride now? He answers “yes” and he was told his ride was on its way and will be with him in 15 minutes, showing him the cab on the map and a button to cancel the ride

Requirements extracted from George's Experience
> The app should be developed in the popular mobile phone operating systems in UK, this is generally iOS or Android, Dial-a-ride chose iOS as the first development platform and plans to create an android version in the future.
> Since the customers’ information is already in the Dial A Ride database, their profiles will readily be available within the app, all they need is to register with their membership number and they are ready to use the app.
> The app should have a voice assistant that would be introduced at every first time use and will be available as an option within the settings tab.
> The customer can respond to the voice assistant either by asking a question and getting a response or answering “yes” or “no” or questions from the voice assistant, or by choosing the yes or no buttons shown on the screen during the voice assistant interactions.
> There should be an option to cancel a ride.
> There should be information like the time the ride would get there and how many miles it will take.

1. The app should be simple enough for the elderly to use, and has minimal interaction
2. The App should be web based so that everyone can have access to it through mobile or tablets, plus there won't be any mobile operating system constraints, which means larger buttons, it also cuts costs for DIAL-A-RIDE for developing different version of the app.
3. The app should have a voice assistant to help make navigating the app easier.


Information Architecture

 Information Architecture Screen shot


User Flows

 User flow Screen shot



 Sketches Screen shot


Final design

 Final design Screen shot


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