The ability to split an Uber fare among friends was always a highly requested feature among both users and employees. A small group formed to tackle this opportunity, with me serving as the designer. We were so passionate about the challenge that we set out to make a minimum viable product (MVP) over a weekend hackathon, to prove its worth.
We spent the weekend whiteboarding, discussing, and digging into our best options for implementation in the short amount of time available. It was determined that we would use a system where the user initiating the fare split would receive a special code, unique to that ride, to give out to the other riders splitting the cost.. While this solution was not especially elegant, we determined it would work well as a first release, since users could easily coordinate code sharing with others in the same car.
We distributed the initial functioning version and it energized the entire company. Our team was pumped and ready to make the feature public. As we tested it further, we realized that although it functioned as expected, it did not meet the high bar that we had already established with our recently redesigned app. For this feature to be successful in our eyes, it would need to feel like seamless "magic". The MVP felt like work. Thus, we sat down to consider how the flow should look, given enough time to implement a more elegant solution.
As a team, we imagined how Fare Split could work if we had no preconceived limitations. We explored location based algorithms, "bump" to split, use of contacts lists, and many more concepts. We ultimately moved forward with the most feasible yet still "magical" solution available. As a user tried Fare Split, everything "just worked".
With a result that felt more "Uber" and a feature that was proven valuable, the project was added to the overall product roadmap and the team began work on the production version right away. I worked closely with the iOS and Android developers as we developed all of the many small details that made this feature feel natural - animations, small visual details, transitions, etc. By the end of the development cycle we released a feature that made us all amazingly proud, and which received a strong positive reception amongst our users.