Design Thinking: Mobility As A Service (MaaS)
From optimizing the user experience at Expedia to reimagining mobility as a service at Migo, Jeff Warren is a product leader who understands the importance of making it easy for users to make informed decisions. While Uber and Lyft get most of the headlines, the world of mobility as a service (MaaS) is expanding beyond rideshare services. As Jeff explains, the paradox of choice created by the wide variety of transportation services creates an opportunity to provide users with a simpler way to see how they can get from Point A to Point B.
Expedia fmr Product VP on Design Thinking (Part 3)
Since I launched Migo, I have operated in the unique world of “mobility as a service” (MaaS). First, many people assume that Uber and Lyft essentially own the category. In reality, MaaS solutions use technology to locate transportation services to get people from Point A to B. For example, “eHailing” options cover everything from bicycles and scooters to car shares and specialty transportation. Given the variety of options, the paradox of choice plays a big role in our design thinking process. At Migo, we need to provide a summary of available options for users without overwhelming them with too many choices.
Looking at MaaS globally, there are more than 180 eHailing services in major cities around the world. Furthermore, these services are very popular in a variety of markets. For example, major cities in Western Europe (Berlin, Paris, Madrid) have higher penetration for eHailing services than US cities. In addition, cities like Jakarta have four eHailing services for scooters alone. Furthermore, many cities in Asia have lower car ownership rates and broader use of smartphones. As a result, eHailing options are the primary solution that people use for daily transportation.
At our home base in Seattle, we identified 15 eHailing options for rideshare, bikes, scooters, etc. On a larger scale, New York City has 43 eHailing services. With this, our design thinking has always been focused on providing a view of available ride services that is informative and not overwhelming. In the beginning, we started by showing a 2 km radius from a user’s location for available services. Even by showing options from four partners, the interface was crowded with too many choices. As a result, it’s challenging for users to make an easy decision.
With this, we hired a design consultant to help enhance our user experience to simplify results. These insights led to the creation of a new app view. Now, it only shows up to seven ride options from no more than three service providers. With this, we provided users with a manageable amount of options within an immediate radius. Furthermore, we added a “real-time density” tracker to show options that are less than 10 minutes away. It’s easy to think that you’re not going to “win out” on the ride that’s closest to you. By showing a range within a manageable time frame, users can see a variety of easy-to-access options.
In the end, our design thinking continues to adapt and evolve virtually on a daily basis. For instance, the addition of dockless bikes has added thousands of new options. With this, we added a new filter to scale back the number of bike options on display to maintain a clean interface. These sudden changes in the MaaS landscape will continue to influence our user experience. Given the ever-changing landscape of available options in every product category, it’s more critical than ever to adapt to user tendencies. With this, our focus is to mitigate the effects of the paradox of choice.