inclusive design 5 min read
the elderly need rides
so why aren't they using Uber?
tiffany lau, winson dieu
As a tradeoff of designing for the majority our users, the elderly and disabled population are often left out of the equation—implying that the current and available solutions are not optimized or suitable for their specific needs. So, why should we design for the elderly?
Because designing for inclusivity is designing for everyone.
Uber promises to provide reliable transportation options for everyone. My team and I did some digging around and found out that Uber already has accessible options including WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicles), select, and assist. Great!… right?
The problem is no one seems to know that these programs even exist. And more importantly, the intended population that would benefit from these special services the most are unaware.
To enhance the quality of life for disabled persons by eliminating their everyday transportation concerns and improving their overall ride-hailing experience.
Understanding the elderly population and their transportation needs and decisions.
San Diego County has a large military and healthcare presence with more than a million people who are over the age of 65+ so accessing our user base was not a challenge. My team and I visited and conducted field observations and user interviews at the Veteran Affairs San Diego Healthcare Center (0.6 miles away from UCSD) to help us develop empathy for our users and understand their day-to-day.
We tend to think of disabilities as physical in nature (consider auditory impairments, poor eyesight, broken limbs, deterioration of the body over time, and etc.) because it hinders a persons ability to do certain tasks. However, it also immensely deflates our emotional or mental wellbeing, in other words, our overall quality of life.
Beyond usability, our redesign aims to help the elderly and disabled population regain their sense of independence so that they can start participating in everyday activities on their own!
To a previous research project that I worked on for Hyundai, our transportation decisions are based on a mix of pre-planned decisions and "last-minute" alternatives (e.g. waking up an hour earlier to ensure that we arrive at the bus stop in time v.s. taking a bird or lime scooter to class because we missed the bus).
However, the elderly and disabled population do not have the same liberty to access these different transportation options or modalities with ease and are, therefore, limited to destinations and activities.
Ideate, ideate, ideate!
Lack of Discoverability
The current request flow requires users to scroll to the bottom of the screen to get to the accessible options.
Overwhelming Map View
This option requires a level of precision that most elderly users do not have. The tiny font also makes it difficult to see.
The elderly and disabled populations frequent places like the hospital where it is crucial that they arrive on schedule.
Low to Mid Fidelity
Awareness to options via slider
Have recurring places to go? automate your schedule.
Re-organize view of ride options
pop-up to increase awareness to accessibility features
enable users to identify if they require additional assistance
Quick reminder that these ride options are available
after user saves a place they can create a recurring schedule