Trypr is a car rental service that enables an engaging, convenient and memorable experience for long distance road trips with friends.
Led interaction and visual design for the car dashboard. Co-led user research and usability testing.
Class & Advisor
Designing Information Experiences, Prof. Jacob Wobbrock
9 weeks, April - June 2019
Augustus Arthur, Tony Tran, Sejal Khatri
How might we create a memorable road trip experience for friends renting a car?
Car rental is viewed as a ‘means to an end’. The current experience is marred with complex pricing and insurance structures as well as long lines, excessive upselling and fraudulent behavior. This creates stress, confuses customers and builds tension in their relationship with the rental company. Recent developments focus on the pick-up and drop-off experience to an extent but the in-car journey has remained untouched.
Trypr provides seamless booking, enables and amplifies in-car engagement among friends as well as captures memories throughout the journey for post trip memorability.
Booking a car
Trypr provides a simple, safe and a completely online booking experience.
Car recommendations are customized for the destination, number of passengers as well as time and duration of travel.
All cars are fully insured and all the costs are shown upfront for transparency and the driver’s peace of mind.
Curated music for everyone in the car
The in-car infotainment system curates songs based on everyone’s preferences. Passengers can let Trypr access their favorite songs from a music streaming app to curate playlists and a song database that everyone can enjoy.
No need to fight for aux cables, struggle with bluetooth configurations or listen to an arbitrary radio channel.
Capturing candid moments and scenic views
Trypr cars have 3 cameras outside and 1 camera inside the car. The cameras are always on and capture candid moments and scenic views. Passengers can manually clicks photos or use voice. Trypr makes it safe and easy to capture the exact moment.
All photos and videos are backed up to the cloud and can be accessed through the Trypr app.
Engage in games and trivia with friends
Trypr supports conversations in the car by including games and trivia. It enables having fun while getting rid of boredom and aides in building stronger bonds.
Greeting with Goodie Bags
Passengers are greeted with goodie bags the first they get in the car. The bag’s content is customized for each trip and includes essential items like neck pillows, snacks, water bottle, chocolate, etc.
Trypr is fully voice supported that enables the driver to operate it hands-free. Rear row passengers don’t have to extend their arms out in an uncomfortable position to operate the infotainment system.
Research and Synthesis
Hassenzahl’s Hedonic/Pragmatic Model
Our team was motivated by Hassenzahl’s hedonic model for creating experiences rather than the usual pragmatic approach to creating products and services. We decided early on to prioritize our user’s ‘be’ (why) goals which are strongly related to an individual’s basic needs such as relatedness, security, effective, etc. Why goals motivate actions and provide it with meaning while also influencing both ‘do’ (what) and ‘motor’ (how) goals.
Expert Interview and Competitive Analysis
We started the formative research process by understanding the current state of the car rental industry. We interviewed a car rental company’s location manager. The goal was to identify the customer journey, the challenges they face, potential opportunities and the recent development in technology to aid the rental experience.
The competitive analysis involved looking at a wide variety of services offered by rental companies and the related car-sharing industry. It allowed us to identify ignored areas in the customer experience journey.
We followed one of our teammates in their process of renting a car. They had never before rented a car and were completely new to the process. The aim of this contextual inquiry was to identify unexpected issues in the existing car rental process and understand the emotional state of a novice user as they underwent the experience. We observed them without interfering in their interactions and queried them once the process was complete.
We interviewed 8 users who had a varying degree of car rental experience and rented cars for either business related needs or personal use. The frequency of renting varied between once a year to twice every month. Through this exercise, we wished to decipher the rental decision-making process, motivations for renting cars, assistance required throughout the task and expectations from the rental car and company.
We externalized data gathered from our research methods and the team went through multiple rounds of moving and manipulating this data to identify themes and later, insights.
01. The confusing opaque insurance process poses a higher risk for renters on a long distance road trip.
“I have to google insurance terminologies every time I rent a car.” - Contextual Inquiry, Driver
02. The rental desk causes frustration for the group through price complications, wait times, and miscommunication.
“I want to have peace of mind and not deal with the rental desk.” - User Interview 4, Driver
03. Interactions with friends makes a road trip memorable.
“Old memories were triggered due to the songs we were playing and that was the best part of the trip.” - User Interview 5, Passenger
04. The existing in-car rental experience doesn’t facilitate group engagement.
“Friends bring in games they know like 20 questions which engages everyone.” - User Interview 1, Passenger
We identified opportunities at every touch point in the car rental journey - booking, pick-up, in-car and drop-off. Due to time constraints we mainly focused and ideated on improving the in-car engagement and streaming the rental booking. These were the two most important touchpoints for our participants and also showed potential for better solutions.
We used braiding and metaphorical design to come up with around 30 ideas. We chose to select brainstorm ideas for each touchpoint individually. In the end, we did a shareout within the team.
We categorized the ideas based on where they fell in the user journey and what issues they addressed. Each idea was evaluated based on our criteria that included
Simplifying existing steps
Personalization of experience
Our final idea consisted of features related to the booking and in-car experience.
Quick, simple and online booking process without human intervention.
Personalized car recommendations based on destination, duration of travel, time of the year, and no. of people.
Eliminate insurance options and provide full coverage on cars and convey all the pricing options upfront.
Personalized Goodie bag for the trip based on the destination, and travel duration.
Curate music suggestions for the group by integrating their music playlists and song database.
Capture cherishable moments using cameras inside and outside the car.
Support and enable engaging conversations through games and trivia.
Simultaneously along with the ideation exercise, we mapped ‘envisioned’ journey for our user with the aim of understanding the ‘best’ experience. Plotting the emotions and valence assisted us in prioritizing the features for our prototype.
01. Providing experience enablers was crucial rather than crafting a universal response as experiences are subjective.
02. Focusing on touchpoints with high sentimental value would allow us to effectively deliver a memorable experience.
Experience prototyping allowed us to explore and evaluate our design idea while considering contextual, physical, sensory, and cognitive factors that come into play when using such a service. The prototyping technique goes beyond just using screen mockups and incorporates props, scripts, background, actors, and audience.
Iteration 1 - Lo-fi prototype and goodie bag
The objective here was to identify the gaps in our prototypes and our user’s mental model of the product. For the goodie bag, we wished to know the items users would prefer to have on their road trip.
We mocked up our interface in Figma and linked them together. Here are a few screens that we used during our first iteration.
For the goodie bag, we placed neck pillows, mints and snacks in a paper bag. This bag was branded with our logo and placed on the driver seat as well as passenger seats.
Testing it with a driver
We tested Trypr with a frequent car rental user who generally assumes the driving role. The driver has to go through the whole process of finding and booking a car to driving it and dropping it off. We gave him a prompt and observed him go through the process of booking the car, picking it up and getting in the car. In the car, he was prompted to play music, capture photos using the car camera and play conversation related games.
We used wizard of oz prototyping with one team member as the wizard, one as the moderator and another taking notes.
Iteration 1 takeaways
01. Participant loved the idea of goodie bag and suggested we other essential items like water napkins to the bag.
02. Users wished to see the navigation screen at any given point of time and using any of our features cut their access to maps.
03. Participant was puzzled by the ‘games and conversation’ icon and didn’t know what it did.
04. The photo capture screen was confusing and users didn’t understand what actions to take.
Iteration 2 - Mid-fi prototype
For this iteration, we focused on improving the infotainment system further. Based on feedback from previous tests, we changed
Streamlined all the interaction flows to incorporate navigation information
Added music widget on the home screen
Simplified the camera capture screen by showing a single panoramic view from all the car cameras
Changed the ‘Game’ icon for the navigation bar
Testing it with Passengers
We recruited two participants who have been on road trips but didn’t drive. The aim here was to observe how passengers in the car use the system. I was also interested in knowing how rear-seat passengers use the voice feature to achieve their goals.
Iteration 2 takeaways
01. Participants were not aware of what voice commands to use in order to complete the task and needed more information about commands were possible.
02. For the camera flow, participants preferred seeing one view at a time by default and wanted a capture button in addition to voice commands.
03. The ‘game’ icon was still confusing to users and didn’t know what it led to.
04. Participants wished to play a specific song but the functionality to do so was not sufficiently visible.
Iteration 3 - Hi-fi prototype and expert feedback
Based on user feedback we made further changes to the overall prototype - UI as well as the goodie bag. Few of the important changes we introduced are
I suggested including a personalized greeting card with the goodie bags that provided examples of popular voice commands. This would help users familiarize themselves with the system and kickstart their interactions with the dashboard.
Capturing photos and toggling camera view
I redesigned the camera flow to allow easy toggling between views. A capture button was also added for manual control.
Changing the ‘game’ icon
All of us had a difficult time identifying an appropriate icon for the games and trivia feature. We initially chose to not use a ‘controller‘ icon as it would defeat the human-human engagement feature of the apps we included here. As none of the other options worked, we chose to revert back to a ‘controller.’
We polished the design of the goodie bag and included additional items as suggested by our participants.
We chose to go for a black and orange color scheme. We used black and its shades for the background due to its readability and contrast. Orange was chosen as it causes less eye fatigue and allows driver to quickly adjust to the outside.
Widgets use their own color with maps being green, music changing color based on album art. For the typeface, we used Freight Sans for its reading comfort, legibility and spacing.
We sought advice from Michael Smith who has extensive experience designing car infotainment and dashboards to ensure our UI was usable when the car was in motion and the information architecture aligned with user’s mental model.
Iteration 3 takeaways
01. Placing the voice icon on the nav bar indicated that it was an independent option separate from the rest. This was wrong and led us to rethink the position of voice icon.
02. For the music feature, the amount of on-screen content was high affecting legibility and increasing reaction time and consequently the risk of using the UI.
03. For voice commands, it was important to show the user their input and the system’s response acknowledging the task or ways to handle errors.
In-car infotainment system
I incorporated the feedback to streamline the information architecture, make the voice UI more informative and limit content on information heavy screens. Few screens are shown below.
Simultaneously, we also iterated on the booking flow providing personalized recommendations, a simple booking process and a simple way to add friends to the trip. Adding friends to the app allowed Trypr to curate a music database as well easily share photos captured by car camera.
Designing for the ‘why’
Our team heavily focused on our user’s ‘be’ goals - why would they use such a service and used these goals to develop our final response. This allowed us to transform the car rental experience from merely ‘means to an end’ to a memorable and engaging journey. We also took this opportunity to address the multiple touch points in our user’s journey to achieve this outcome.
We tested our prototype in a stationary car with a single participant at a time. This was mainly due to time constraint and difficulty in mimicking an actual trip experience with friends. In the future, we wish to test the prototype with a group of friends in a moving car to better evaluate Trypr.