Mobile

Inside Uber’s Revamped Hailing App

Uber has become a household name; its cab hailing service has gained a popularity over the years despite competitors popping up left and right.

Uber intends to maintain its market leading position by constantly innovating new features and refining old ones. We looked at the new app to see what new updates the app has and if its any better to its competitors or to its old version.

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Interface

The interface is crucial to every app, it’s the first impression a user gets even before they try out the features. Uber has made their interface very simple and straightforward for new users; the moment you open the app you will get the Uber logo and a space to enter your phone number. You then proceed to type a code sent via SMS and then key in your email and password and you are set.

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The home screen interface of the app is dead simple, you get a “where to” text space to fill your destination and below it is a messages tab  that informs you of tips and tricks of making the most out of the app. The remaining graphical aspects of this home page include a hidden slide out menu, and a small icon on the top left to switch between your personal and work Uber profiles. The simplistic and uncluttered interface might fool one into thinking that the app is bare-bones but once you start booking rides, things start building up.

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The navigation through the interface is simple, it’s a combination of swipes and icon presses. Swiping up bring up the messages, whereas swiping from left to right reveals a menu which includes ‘payment’ section which lets you choose your preferred method of payment; ‘your trips’ section which lists down your rides history and gives you a chance to file a complaint; ‘free rides’ section lets you redeem codes in exchange for free transport services; a ‘help’ section which offers guides and, a settings menu.

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Settings menu has a section for defining your personal and work profiles. Additionally, families can have one Uber account where they can share payments and track each others rides. In the settings menu resides a sub-menu labelled ‘advanced settings’ it enables the user to delete any contacts they might have saved into the app.

Functionality

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Uber has been expanding the scope of its services. They want to transform from a ride sharing company to offering a bouquet of services that may appeal to people when traveling. Ordering a ride has been made very intuitive. Once you type in your destination in the ‘where to’ section, a card pops up with the information of fare price estimate, car capacity, car category and the Uber profile you are using. Most Kenyan destinations only offer the UberX category which fortunately is the most affordable class. In other markets, you get three tabs namely, Economy, Premium and Extra seats and More. Each category is self-explanatory but the ‘More’ section offers specialized transport for people who may need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle or a baby car seat.

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Once you choose your category, you are prompted to confirm pickup and the fare estimate. This is the part that the Uber magic then happens; a ride is searched for you based on your current location; you get your drivers profile details, an estimate of how long they will take to get to you and the option to cancel the ride in case you change your mind. However be cautious about cancelling too many times, Uber gets angry and stops you from requesting a ride for some time. But if you follow through your trip, payment is deducted automatically from your credit card and you get a chance to rate your driver.

Uber has included some value adding features into its latest app update.

A user can stream music through Pandora while on transit. You can also learn about places of interest of your destination through Foursquare. In case you are meeting up with a friend, you can have the driver take you to them by having your friend share his or her location with you within the app.

UberEATS enables you to find places to order food so that you can have it arrive at your destination the moment you get there. The app has also gotten smarter at its core ride sharing feature, now you can see shortcuts to your destination as well as the various pricing options for each route. Also, instead of simply rating a driver, you can comment on them too.

Pros

  • One of the fastest ways to get a ride.
  • Simplistic and intuitive user interface.
  • A very informative help section to guide you through the app
  • Chock full of value adding features such as music streaming and food ordering.
  • Many sharing options from sharing of fare prices, to sharing locations.
  • Constant updates mean that the app will only keep getting better.

Cons

  • The fare price surges can be very high at times.
  • Not all Kenyan towns have Uber services at the time of writing.
  • Other Uber car categories are yet to be introduced in Kenya.
  • Competing ride hauling apps have lower fare prices.

 

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