Hopin — The Tale of Bangalore’s Traffic Woes: A Product Design Case Study

Praveen Kumar
9 min readSep 10, 2023

Your Journey, Shared Simply 💎

👀 Introduction

Time is an important asset in our lives, and as someone who values punctuality, I always arrive early for meetings. The thought of being late makes me uncomfortable.

However, due to continuous traffic concerns, this commitment was dropped.

App screens

🖍 Overview

Hopin is an app that connects you with nearby hosts (drivers) and partners (passengers) by filling empty seats in cars to minimize traffic, emissions, and travel costs. With in-city commuters constituting the majority of customers, the app makes it easy for them to find and manage rides along their routes.

🔺 Why did I start this project?

Have you ever experienced being stuck in traffic for hours on end, barely moving an inch? You’re late for work, your stress levels are through the roof, and you can feel your blood pressure rising.

This is the reality for millions of people living in cities like Bangalore, where traffic congestion has become a major problem. This is where the idea of Hopin was born!

📌 The average commuter in Bangalore spends over 240 hours per year stuck in traffic.

🚗 How can we solve it?

The idea is simple reducing the number of empty seats on the car. When three or four people are going in the same direction, they can form a group and have one of them drive while the others split the expense.

💼 Who will be using the product?

I have narrowed down the target audience due to time constraints. My intended audience consists of IT professionals and college students.

Why?

  • Daily routine in commute
  • Availability in big tech parks and colleges means we can cover a large group of people and locations will be the same
  • They are tech-savvy.
Based on research the primary mode of transportation are auto, bus, own vehicle and taxi.
Modes of transportation based on the research

🧠 Research

I started research by interviewing people to learn about their frustrations and expectations during travel. The aim was to validate my assumptions regarding the problems faced by them while commuting.

Market research

  • The Car-sharing market, the number of users is expected to amount to 2.08m users by 2027.
  • User penetration is projected to be 0.1% in 2023 and 0.1% by 2027.
Forecast for Capooling market size & share

Survey

Goal: Confirm if individuals are interested in using this type of service.

Is this a service that people actually want?

To find the answer to this question, I created the survey.

The survey was filled by 14 people and results have shown both interest & need for this app to take place in people’s lives.

Interviews

Goal: Identify the people’s needs, motivations, behaviors, and frustrations.

I conducted the interview session with a total of seven participants, largely colleagues, and college students, all of whom live and work in Bangalore. To empathize with people as much as possible.

💡 Insights

People’s responses in the interviews clearly identified primary motives and difficulties when it comes to using such an app.

Insights based on the primary and secondary research

🙎‍♂️ User persona

After research and hypothesis, I started creating user personas to stick to our product focus.

Since personas are based on real people, they helped me in making better design decisions and generating ideas, by putting the user in the first place.

User persona for both host and partner

💡 Ideate

The main task then was to fill the gaps in the user experience and make the most out of them.

How will the app work?

The app’s logic is simple — people traveling from point A to point B fill their extra seats by inviting other people to carpool with them.

On the other hand, people who need a ride can also search for drivers and invite them.

When the requested person accepts the request, the ride is happening.

📍 How does it benefit you?

Hosts get money to cover their travel expenses.

(They aren’t allowed to make a profit by carpooling)

Partners get a very cheap ride & save time compared to public transport.

(Prices are calculated based on local public transport and gas costs, and they are fixed, in order to avoid negotiating and misuse).

🎨 Let’s start to design

In order not to make the case study too long, the following designs are going to show the experience of the user who uses the app as a passenger.

Onboarding

  • Note: The user login/sign-up is skipped since it’s quite a standard process.

Fueling Connections, Driving Conversation

Instead of standard onboarding, I thought of adding some value to consumers by learning about their hobbies. So that you can start an engaging conversation. With selected hobbies, you will have everything they need to spark up a conversation!

Hopin pledge

Unite for a Greener Tomorrow, One Ride at a Time

I made the onboarding even more engaging by adding a pledge that motivates active participation in ethical and ecologically conscious carpooling.

Increase the engagement through Hopin pledge and getting personalized host recommendation based on hobbies,
Personalized onboarding

Verifying the profile

Elevating Trust, One User at a Time

Now that I’ve narrowed down the target people, we can verify them using their organization and college email addresses. So that we can provide a more secure, trustworthy, and community-focused environment while lowering the risk of misuse and spam.

Verify the users profile using organization mail ID or institutional mail ID
Verification through mail ID

🔁 Recurring rides

Say goodbye to daily ride reservations!

You can effortlessly schedule usual commutes in advance with our recurring rides feature. Simply enter the date, location, and time, and you’re ready to go.

How it will help you?

Save time by eliminating daily bookings. Set it and forget it, and we’ll make sure your ride is waiting for you when you need it.

Simple management: View all of your upcoming rides in a tidy, card-format list. With a tap, you can make adjustments or cancel.

Recurring rides reduce the redundant activity of booking the ride daily.
Recurring rides and managing the rides

📍 Route

Tailor Your Journey, Your Way

What does this mean?

The application searches for the shortest route between the locations for the ride. If two (or more) routes are almost the same distance apart, the one with the least traffic is preferred.

All right, but what’s the point of having the main route?

When matching carpoolers, the algorithm looks for matches first on the primary route. If there is no match, the search for the next closest route continues.

If multiple route are there for particular destination. Set a primary route
Multiple routes for a single destination select a primary route

💯 Building trust

Know Your Host, Travel with Confidence

During the research, the lack of trust was the number one reason people, especially women, were afraid to use a carpooling app.

I tried to make every person’s profile a resourceful trust indicator.

Host profile to gain the trust of users

💰 Payment

Seamless Payments: Your Ride, Your Way, Your Wallet

You can link your preferred payment accounts and experience effortless transactions on our platform.

Money to Points Conversion

When you transfer money to the Hopin wallet, it’s automatically converted into points. For example, INR 1,000 becomes 1,000 points (1 point = 1 INR).

But why in points?

In India, where carpooling restrictions are problematic, I created a solution. You can send money to our Hopin wallet, which we turn into points — a secure, legal, and user-friendly way to pay for rides. It is an innovation that ensures your carpooling experience is both convenient and legal.

Transaction History: Easily track your spending with a detailed transaction history, accessible at your fingertips.

Ride Breakdown: Get a clear overview of your ride expenses, so you always know where your money is going.

Multiple payment modes for ease of use

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Teams

Your Commute, Your Crew, Your Carpooling Community!

Simplify coordination by forming teams with members heading in the same direction. This can help you find compatible carpooling partners and reduce the time and effort required to coordinate rides.

Enhances safety by allowing you to carpool with people they know and trust.

My teams

When grouped in a team, people have their team’s ride schedule and always travel together. You can have as many teams as there are active lines.

If there’s any reason you can’t carpool, he can quickly message other members of the team and explain the situation.

Create a team if multiple persons are going through the same route

🏆 Keeping you engaged

Fueling Empathy: Together, Achieve Missions and Top Leaderboards

How does it work?

  • Earn Badges: Complete rides, and watch your EcoMeter badge transform.
  • Track Progress: Monitor your progress as you rack up rides and contribute to a healthier environment.
  • Compete and Contribute: Join the ride leaderboard and see how your efforts stack up against fellow carpoolers. Together, we’re making a real impact.
Missions and leaderboards for keeping engaged

Some of the basic principles of the gamification I applied are:

  • Missions — This encourages you to participate in rides more frequently and drives you back to the app to complete unfinished tasks.
  • Points & Levels — Earned for each ride completed.
  • Leaderboard — The leaderboard gets reset every month, and the person with the most points receives valuable rewards.

📧 Request a ride

Your Journey, Your Way, Your Click Away

Simply enter your pickup and drop-off locations, ride date, and time. Not sure about the location? No worries, you can either type in the name or pick it from the map.

Plus, save your frequent addresses for even faster bookings in the future.

Our host list, presented in a sleek card format, provides all the info you need at your fingertips.

Simplify your payments with the Hopin Wallet.

🎟 My rides

Your Commute History Made Easy

To make your experience even more seamless recent and upcoming rides are separated into two dedicated tabs.

Another insight from the user interview was the importance of onboarding the correct partner. So every upcoming ride has a unique OTP. This ensures that only the right passenger boards, elevating the ride’s security to the next level.

Within the ride information, you can view the partners and their profiles. To understand more about the person with whom you will go.

Easy navigation of rides through different badges about the ride status.

Manage the upcoming rides effectively

🌈 Refer and user profile

Share the Love, Earn the Perks

Gamify your commute, celebrate your achievements, and inspire others. I made badges based on the number of rides you have completed. But isn’t just a badge, it’s a step towards a greener planet. We’re turning carpooling into an engaging game, and you’re the hero.

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Gamified Fun: Turning your daily commute into a game adds an extra layer of excitement to carpooling.
  • Green Milestones: Earn badges that celebrate your journey towards a sustainable future.
  • Community Spirit: Feel the camaraderie as you and your fellow carpoolers work together for a greener planet.

🔚 Conclusion

Note: This is a self-initiated project. It was done in order for me to acquire wider knowledge and skillset in the UX field.

🔭 Future scope

I would really like to test my design solutions and see how they perform in real-world use cases. Since this is a personal project, which I had to do all by myself, it wasn’t affordable for me to run usability tests and inquire about my assumptions and ideas which are based on user research.

📄 Takeaways

Throughout the process, I realized how important it is to rethink every assumption I make by putting myself in the shoes of the user. You should always try to understand and predict the mental models of your customers, and you should never allow yourself to believe you are the user.

Emotions also play a significant influence in UX design. People recall feelings, and they tend to associate every scenario with a specific emotion. After I understood this, I realized that understanding human behavior is critical for success.

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