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Copyright © 2019 Jose Arias. All rights reserved.

Work: Truck Driver Power

Onboarding Optimization

User Discovery of Features

Truck Driver Power is a startup that aims to provide truck drivers nationwide with a platform that will help them with their career prospects as autonomous trucking looms on the horizon. By gamifying the truck driver experience, they believe a more humane truck driving experience can be achieved.

Role

UX Designer & Researcher

Platform

Mobile

Tools

Paper, markers, Mural, Sketch app, and InVision.

Project Goals

Evaluate and optimize the onboarding process to increase user retention and adoption; user discovery of 4 features in the app.

User Background

Truck drivers using a mobile app while they are on the road to serve the human element of the truck driving experience as the truck driving industry embraces a movement toward to autonomous truck driving.

Discovery

There was much to learn and understand about the truck driver experience. Understanding what you are designing is as important as understanding whom you are designing for. For starters, there are three types of truck drivers: local, regional, and over-the-road truck drivers. In the United States, there are an estimated 3.5 million professional truck drivers, according to the American Trucking Association. With the advent of driverless vehicle technology on the horizon, the truck driving industry will be met with a gradual and decreasing need for human truck drivers. We conducted secondary research of the trucking industry, in addition to competitor apps, sites, and truck driving associations within the United States. We also conducted a usability test of the current version of the app to collect qualitative and quantitative data, as well as note any issues with respect to app usability. 

Affinity Diagram

We had a time constraint with respect to the user research interview participants we wished to schedule one-on-one interviews with. As no trucking associations or schools returned our requests to interview current truckers in advance, my partner interviewed current users of the app. I took it upon myself to conduct guerilla research and go somewhere I knew I could find current truck drivers: a truck stop in Oakland, CA. It provided me an opportunity to further develop empathy for truck drivers and their experience on the road. Combining our user research interview findings yielded interesting takeaways.

Define

After conducting a baseline usability test of the current app with 6 participants, the issues my partner and I found that stood out in the current version of the app include:

  • The onboarding experience was ambiguous (80% of participants completed the task of app sign up with difficulty).

  • Confusion engaging with the gaming element of the app (80% of participants completed the task of attacking an enemy territory with difficulty).

  • Value of app use is not clearly communicated.

  • Interest lost due to limited social engagement.

The research we conducted provided us with contrasting objectives: that between drivers at the beginning of their careers and drivers with several years of experience, respectively. Considering one of our objectives of creating a more streamlined onboarding experience, we crafted our primary persona to reflect that to help guide our decisions.

As we synthesized our research findings, it became evident to us there was not an all-encompassing categorization of truck drivers and their motivations. That is when affinity diagrams prove to be a useful tool to help us construct our primary and secondary personas: to help guide our design decisions going forward.

To create a redesigned onboarding experience, it is essential to document the current process before going ahead with a new solution as it provides opportunities to identify what may not be working and what can be improved upon. The current onboarding user flow demonstrates confusion and potentially causes users to disengage with the app before they ever get to interact with it. So the goal my partner and I set was simplicity. Based on the baseline usability test, we wanted users to have a clear and simple onboarding experience, ensuring the value of using the app was clearly communicated.

Ideate

One of the challenging aspects of a design project can be sketching out multiple solutions. It becomes important to focus less on getting the right solution as soon as possible, and more on allowing yourself to sketch as many solutions as possible.

A few of the concerns we came across as we conducted user interviews were:

• Unclear purpose of the app

• The invasiveness of the app during the onboarding experience

To address those concerns, my partner and I wanted to communicate the app features that would provide a benefit to users. We also strived to address user privacy concerns by eliminating the need for providing a mobile number to complete the registration process. In addition, we did not want to make assumptions that users would know how to use the app after successfully registering with the app. So we wanted to include tooltips that would create a less confusion, and create a simpler interaction between users and the app.

Design

As you start comparing solutions among the sketches you produce, you begin to pare down the quantity, and emphasize the quality of, the ideas. Combining and/or refining ideated solutions can help to uncover ideas that may not have been evident at the onset. They reveal themselves once the marker, pen, or pencil is put away, while keeping the personas created earlier in mind.

By redesigning the onboarding experience, my partner and I wanted to establish clarity from the onset. We included an accompanying image of a key feature in the app in the three welcome screens to convey to users the utility of Truck Driver Power. To skip an individual screen, users have the option of pressing or swiping to the next screen. They can also skip the screens altogether by pressing on the Sign Up button at any time. If a user already has a Truck Driver Power account, they can press on the link and be taken directly to the Sign In screen. Throughout each screen, we purposefully kept one element a constant: the Truck Driver Power logo, to establish awareness with the app so that hopefully over time, users will become familiar with the company's offerings and the company will have established a relationship with its users based on awareness and trust.

Our research indicated the gaming element was considered nonessential. We wanted to build a sense of community and drive social engagement upward. In lieu of the gaming element, we included a chat feature and provided information on restaurants, rest stops and truck stops based on user reviews and suggestions that would be useful to truck drivers. Furthermore we wanted the key features we ideated to come together into a solution that was useful, simple, and relevant. The tooltips that appear after onboarding are useful to communicate what the features in the app do, such as the filter bar, navigation bar, and radar toggle feature. To ease privacy concerns, we included a modal that asks the user's permission to access their location and explain what it will be used for, once they have finished using the tooltips.

Using the InVision online app to use the wireframes to turn into a clickable prototype gave us the opportunity to consider the user experience and make further improvements, if necessary. In this walkthrough, we looked at the onboarding experience and checking in to a rest area.

Test

We conducted usability testing based on the current version of the Truck Driver Power app. The feedback we received from participants showed confusion as to the purpose of the app. Participants did not know what features performed what functions, nor find any usefulness for the app as a whole. During our user research interviews, my partner and I discovered truck drivers did not have the time to engage in a gaming app that provided no utility, as the time spent on the road did not warrant investment in the app while off-duty.

Before

After

Albeit brief, we conducted usability testing based on the prototype we created. Having removed the gaming element from the app, users demonstrated a clearer understanding of the app's purpose and found the onboarding experience to be streamlined. We also took the opportunity to implement changes in our design, changing the weather icon to a radar icon to provide more clarity with respect to the weather function, and improving the functionality of the filters to work across all screens to create a cohesive experience.

Outcome

Initially, our clients chose not to implement our design recommendations and solutions. We were met with concerns centered on why we removed the game element from the app altogether. To that effect, we provided research insights and actual user feedback captured on video by my partner that lent strength to our decision to do so. We also provided a list of recommendations that would place the user at the center of the experience in order to provide value and create a relationship that increases user retention in the long-term. However, the clients explained their rationale for continuing with their engineering driven process. Presently, three of the recommendations we proposed (weather, chat capabilities, and truck stop information) made it to the current version of the Truck Driver Power app.

Retrospective

The clients did not provide my partner and I with enough current users to interview, so we expanded the scope of our user interviews to include current truck drivers with no prior experience engaging with the app. To do so, I set out to conduct guerilla user research at a truck stop in Oakland, CA and a phone interview with a truck driver from a Bay Area container company. It was a challenge I relished to hone my research skills, and collaboratively design solutions for our client. Although our clients initially chose not to implement our design solutions, my partner and I provided objective design and economic reasons for them to stop further development of the app. It was a capital intensive endeavor to develop the app at that juncture than spending capital on validating assumptions and ideas that can lead to creating a delightful user experience. However, it was an enriching experience to work collaboratively and continue developing my skills, in addition to communicating with stakeholders.