In late 2017, Uber was nearly a year into a complete redesign of its driver-facing mobile app. This case study describes the research program we executed to support the app’s global beta launch, which aimed to “Build Together” with drivers across different geographies. With the goal of minimizing the time-space-cognitive distance between beta drivers and the product team, we deployed researchers in 7 cities for a 3-week research sprint, combining four high-touch ethnographic methods to understand drivers’ reaction to the product. Unusually, we used an internal Google+ social media site to post a continual stream of raw, unsynthesized “atomic evidence” from research activities. The G+ unexpectedly went viral, creating extremely high engagement, impact, and stakeholder sentiment. Here we discuss the pros, cons, and impact of our approach, and also how success came from creating space for others to create, engage with, and act on raw evidence from the field.
Bjorn Hubert-Wallander, Eduardo Gomez Ruiz, Minal Jain, Laura Garcia Barrio, Saswati Saha Mitra, Molly Stevens
‘Building Together: When Research Went Viral at Uber’ (PDF)