Favorite Driver

An Uber experience created for you, by you.

Project Context

Recently, there is a constant voice online asking Uber to develop a feature that allows riders to favorite drivers or request specific driver. My capstone team would like to dive deeper into this user request and figure out the actual "user needs" underneath the "user wants".
Executing independently, we conducted user research and found out that users actually need more freedom to customize or recreate a memorable Uber experience, rather than to request a specific driver. It's more about the entire experience, the car, the service, the conversation, less about the driver personally.
Therefore, our design question was that "How might we help Uber riders recreate an Uber experience?"
TeammatesHyewon Son (Designer), Rachael Cicero (PM), Christina Mauri (Researcher)
Sponsored by: Uber
Methods & Tool
User Interview, Competitive Analysis, Usability Studies, Affinity Diagram, Figma
Product Designer
October 2018
- March 2019


Competitive Analysis: similar products already existed

Design Requirement

People want "the least number of taps"

Thinking through what a rider would need during the use cases identified, we determined design requirements for the solution. We did so to ensure we were holding ourselves accountable to referring back to the data learned in research, and to use these requirements as our guiding principles as we moved onto brainstorming.


Brainstormed the possible UX for the new feature

Designing a new feature within the Uber rider experience required us to brainstorm not only the design but how we would introduce this new flow to users. We explored different solutions and sketched out the user flows. Then we discussed and decided the most feasible solution for this new feature.


Favorite Driver Solution

We identified two possible design solutions. The first, an option for riders to input certain preferences (i.e. a quiet ride, extra luggage, room for pets) for each ride. The other, an option to favorite and request specific drivers that delivered an ideal Uber experience. We chose the latter, as we thought by allowing riders to request specific drivers, they would really be favoriting an entire experience which embodied their preferences, and giving them an opportunity to recreate this experience.

We named the solution Favorite Driver.

Usability Tests

Evaluate the mid-fidelity prototypes

We narrowed down on potential ideas and started prototyping Favorite Driver based on the flow identified in the service design blueprints. We created a mid-fidelity prototype and moved on to evaluate on that.

Using paper prototype for usability studies
We recruited a total of 6 Uber riders from our social channels. Through use of a screener, we screened for riders who take rides at least 3 times a month and had a mix of experience in scheduling rides in advance. Sessions were conducted at the University of Washington. Each session lasted around one hour.

Our goals for the testing were to:
1. Test discoverability of newly designed components such as “Add Favorite Driver”
2. Test discoverability and usability of new interaction flow
3. Learn about riders’ behavior, especially around how and when they rate drivers


Based on the key findings we synthesized through conducting affinity diagram, we iterated on the design and upgraded the prototype from mid-fidelity to high-fidelity.

Synthesizing insights from usability studies

Key Finding #1: Riders don't always give a complimnet even when they liked the driver

Originally we thought 5 stars, a compliment and a tip should activate Favorite Driver feature, but some users don't give a compliment even they liked the driver. This made us reconsider the triggers for the Favorite Driver feature. We decided to remove compliment from the requirement so that riders don’t miss any opportunity to use the feature.

Solution - Remove Compliment from Favorite Driver Prompts

Key Finding #2: Managing a list of favorite drivers is burdensome

In our first iteration, we built the ability to customize Favorite Driver lists based on manual creation of categories to filter drivers (much like a custom playlist). However, through evaluation, we found that users felt this required too much effort and they would not utilize a feature like list.

Solution - Replace Custom List with Compliments
Instead, we utilized compliments (an existing feature) as a default mechanism to help users record traits/characteristics of the driver. Keeping in mind not all riders compliment upon rating a driver, we allowed for the ability to add custom compliments at a later time to help recall a favorited driver.

Key Finding #3: Riders want information that can help them remember why they marked drivers as their favorite

In the test, riders mentioned that they would like to see more personal related information of the specific driver. Things like ride history and past trips might help. In addition, riders also pointed that the three-dot icon was confusing and they had a hard time recognizing the badge icon for each driver. When prompted what information would be helpful for riders to recall a driver, one participant said "something like a hashtag would be super helpful".

Solution - Add more relevant driver information
Therefore, we removed driver ratings, since riders only care about their personal experience with the driver, not an overall average rating. Then we added previous trips, total number of trips, and last trip to help riders recall their ride. We also made compliments more legible by using text instead of the badges that currently exist.

Key Finding #4: Riders were confused about selecting specific drivers during scheduling

All of the riders were confused with the copy “Select Favorite Drivers” and the avatar photos during evaluation. One rider stated, “editing is weird when I haven’t selected anything.”

Solution - Change wording and remove visual hint
Therefore, we tried to make the section less prominent by removing avatars and replacing “edit” with an arrow, so that it’s clear that riders don’t have to take any action unless they desire to. Also, we added help text below to let riders know that all Favorite Drivers are selected by default.

Key Finding #5: Riders don’t always have time to rate the driver after a trip

Some riders mentioned that they don’t always have time to rate the driver directly after a trip. Therefore, we added an opportunity for riders to favorite driver during the trip, when they’re closer to the destination. We did not want riders to potentially miss out on the favorite driver feature purely due to lack of time. Through competitive analysis, we found that “Lyft riders open the app during 53% of trips”, and we wanted to use the during-trip screen as a opportunity for interaction with Favorite Driver.

Solution - Add During Ride Scenario

Final Design

Our final design encompassed four main opportunity areas for rider interaction with Favorite Driver, within the Uber application. We updated one existing area, the rating screen, adding in a trigger and prompt for Favorite Driver. For the other three areas we were able to innovate, creating new experiences through our solutions for during-trip ratings, favorite driver selection in a scheduled ride, and the Favorite Driver list. Finally, though out of scope our project, we did explore and design a solution for driver acceptance. Thinking about original design requirements, we created a mechanism for driver’s to opt-in to Favorite Driver.

Add Favorite Driver & Schedule Future Rides
Add favorite driver during a trip
Add favorite driver after a trip
Request favorite drivers for future scheduled rides
Manage Favorite Driver List
Add compliments for future references
Check out ride frequency and past trips
Remove driver from the list
Driver can choose to accept or decline a scheduled ride
Driver Interaction
Though initiated by the rider, the favorite driver solution is a transaction between the rider and the driver. The system notifies drivers when a ride has been scheduled, requesting them as a the driver. Once the driver receives the notification (the next time they are online) they have the opportunity to opt-in, either accepting or denying requests. We believe this will give drivers more control and consistency over their Uber experience and impact to daily earnings by being able to better plan out their days in advance.
Poster & Video - Check them out!


Some potential risks remain to be considered
It is possible that rider prejudice (on the basis of traits like gender, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation) will be reflected in riders’ repeat driver requests. As such, drivers that are of a certain demographic might receive more business than other drivers.

In addition, by creating a mechanism for drivers to learn the habits and whereabouts of repeat riders, unscrupulous drivers might take advantage of riders. For example, by knowing that a rider travels to the airport on a regular basis, a driver would know when they are not home, leaving the rider’s home and belongings more vulnerable.

Another potential risk is that when a driver drives a rider repeatedly using the Favorite Driver feature, the two might be more likely to do business without using the Uber app. As such, the driver and rider would benefit from the relationship, but Uber would not profit from it.


The feature was shipped by Uber 🚀
It was so exciting to learn that the "Favorite Driver" feature has been shipped by Uber in 2020, with most of our designs and idea. Feel free to find more information in this article and Uber Help page.