Sketch / InVision


UX / Branding



While potential savings from increased ride-sharing land at over $30 billion annually. Less vehicles on the road every day leads to significantly less negative environmental impact. Less drivers per day leads to less traffic. None the less, 77% of Americans drive to work alone.



Our client ZooKKs, brought on my team and myself to take the beta product to a fully-developed seamlessly-functional application to solve American professionals daily commuting problems. That meant understanding the domain, the target user, and creating a solution based on our findings using our human-centered design expertise. 

Our challenge was to explore the world of carpooling. Why although potentially a money, planet, and headache-saver, is carpooling not being taken advantage of by America as an option when traveling to and from work? The task was upon the team and myself to dive into understanding why many Americans don't carpool, and what would make carpooling more appealing than riding alone. 

Explore and Learn


Research plan

As a team we needed to start at basics, laying out a framework for research to understand our domain and user. We decided to tackle research using the following methods:

  • Domain and market research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Interviews
  • User-testing
  • Card-sorting
  • Heuristic evaluation

Competitive analysis

Our competitive analysis revealed a significant amount of other carpooling services do exist, however they are mostly carpooling services enabling complete strangers to carpool together on a one-time only basis. It is a matching of two people wanting to do the same thing at that one time. There did seem to possibly be room for a new platform where riders were on a schedule and knew each other however two other platforms did exist in this space. We needed to find out if there were much fewer in this space because the concept isn't successful, or if there was simply room for ZooKKs to come in and dominate because it hadn't been a perfected platform yet.

Starting with beta

Vital to starting off the project as an informed team we explored the current beta before breaking ground with the client. In this exploration room for improvements to align with best practices, and questions for reasonings of current included and excluded features arose.

Exploratory interviews / card sorting / user testing

Seven exploratory interviews along with a beta user-test and card sorting exercise were conducted with users, and subject matter experts defined as the following:

  • User: professional commuter
  • Subject matter expert: Lyft or Uber driver



Affinity diagraming

Synthesis was conducted in a collaborative style among the team using affinity diagraming and discussion to identify trends and patterns in our research. What we found out about the domain and user turned out to be quite interesting. 

Empathy tools


"The Millennial Bachelor"


"The Power Mom"

The persona empathy tools which emerged were Alex and Maria, two professionals in different stages of life and career who do have commutes either daily or most of the time to or from the city. Maria is a power mom. She's successful at work and is also a dedicated mom which also means having to sometimes pick up her children or leave during emergencies or special events for her kids. Alex is new on the work scene and eager to make a great impression to start climbing the ladder. That means he needs to be willing to travel on a whim or run around town for the company on short notice.

Our problem statement and design principles were developed based on the needs of our empathy tool personas.

Problem statement

Carpooling is a more convenient and financially-efficient alternative to commuting. However, carpooling eliminates the flexibility, privacy and control commuters enjoy.

Design principles

Trustworthy   /   Flexible   /   Personal


As indicated above, what we found was quite interesting. We found the target user, commuting professionals are actually not who Zookks' current concept would be viable for. Professional commuters value the flexibility, privacy and control they get by commuting alone and having their own vehicle available at any time. From here it was time to think outside the box. 





As a team it was decided the best way to provide what the client asked for along with our best professional recommendation was to develop proto-personas and figure out what type of user is in need of, would use, and would benefit from a carpooling application. Each team member went through the crazy 8 rapid ideation exercise to think about new directions the app could viably go to develop our own concept for a new user. 

We then presented within the team for open discussion, picking the top concept from each person's sketches. From there each team member made paper and digital prototypes to think through flow, features, and present to the client.


Concept 1

My concept was for parents to coordinate carpooling with other parents to transport kids to and from school, play-dates, and activities.

Concept 2

An application to help social people commute to events together

Concept 3

An application to help professionals such as union workers on a very strict working schedule commute together



We each pitched our concepts to the client in which he chose concept 3 based on the similarities between that concept and his own application, ZooKKs. We would go forward with developing concept 3 while conducting a heuristic evaluation on the current app to make improvements.

Test and Iterate

Heuristic evaluation 

To make sure along with our pivoted ideas we addressed directly what our client was asking us to do we conducted a heuristic evaluation on the current beta. We then took those results along with our initial user-testing and card-sorting to develop a new flow for the application. This new flow effectively and simply addressed features necessary for seamless use and excluded features not useful or desired by users. 

Paper prototype testing

Using paper prototype testing we took our new concept as well as the current concept with changes, through user-testing to be able to quickly iterate changes before taking it into full digital wireframes.





Improvements made to the client concept based on testing, research, and the heuristic evaluation included the following:

  • solidified concept of connecting commuters
  • singular calls to action per screen
  • rebuilt app architecture
  • quicker and more comprehensive on boarding
  • cleaner layout
  • applied heuristic guidelines


User interface design