The Ride Sharing App For Daily Commute

NOV 2014 - MAY 2015


Weelio is a startup project founded by students from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  It's a ride-sharing app helping daily commuter find other people to share the ride. We also submitted this as an entry for New Venture Challenge 2015 and ended as one of the Finalists.


I joined the team as the only UX/UI designer, designed the brand, UI system, and the whole experience. I worked with the founders to brainstorm the concept and also worked with developers to build the iOS app. After launching our MVP, I lead lead the user research and analysis for design iteration.

Understand the Problem: The Pain of Daily Commute

Weelio was started in Chicago Booth for a reason. The school has 2 campuses, one in downtown Chicago, one in Hyde Park, a neiboughood in the south that is 20min drive from downtown. Students usually commute between these 2 location by train, which takes about 40 min. The problem is: once you missed the train, you'll have to wait for one hour for the next one.

That's why students stated to create group chat room looking for school mates to share a Uber to go to the other campus. ( this is the pre-Uberpool age in Chicago )Therefore, the team created Weelio, an app where user can find people from your network with same destination and share ride together.

How might we help these students with their daily commute?

MVP Launch

Seeing the problem and opportunity in the growing nutrition market, the team came up with the initial concept of Weelio, where user can find people from your network with same destination and share ride together.

I mapped out the experience and created the initial concept and working closely with the developer to quickly launch the MVP.

Learnings from MVP: Should I Share a Ride With Strangers?

After launching MVP, we didn’t see a lot daily active users joining the rides. So we talked to our target users trying to understand the barriers.

After talking to some students, we realized that some students have strong sense of community and they’re more willing to share rides with people from their own groups.

Iteration 1 : Creating Sense of Community

To create more sense of community, we came up with “group” feature, where users can create private groups based on their class schedule, locations, communities so they’re more comfortable sharing rides with each other.

To test out how it works, I've created an interactive prototype with Marvel App, and conducted a simple user research, tested the prototype with a group of target users.

Learnings from Iteration 1: The Trade-off Between Time and Money

The group-based idea did seemed interesting, but there’s a bigger problem to solve: time VS money.

Some of our users are more price-sensitive,  they are not willing to join a ride when there's only one person in that ride since the price will be lower they're sharing with 3 or 4 people.

Some of our users are more time-sensitive. If they are in a hurry, they're not willing to wait for a long time to gather more riders.

Iteration 2 : Help User With Price/Time Trade-off

Based on the feedback for the first iteration. We came up with the second iteration focusing on the barriers for price-sensitive and time-sensitive users.

For price-sensitive users, we introduced "Activated Rides", which means only when there's more than 3 people, a ride is "activated" and good to go. In this way, we can assure there's 3 people sharing the cost.

For time-sensitive users, we introduced "Flash Rides", which means the rides is only effective for 30min. If no more riders join within 30min, the ride will expire and they don't have to wait anymore.

We also added this "Event" function for user to create rides based on pre-set events that already has time and location informations.

To test out how it works, I've created an interactive prototype and tested the prototype with a group of target users.

Learnings from Iteration 2

We tested this concept with a group of user, it seemed to help with the price/time trade-off.

Emerging Challenge: Should I Create a New Ride and.....Wait?

A new challenge has emerged: according to our analytics data, we didn't get a lot of users creating new rides. Most users just browsing through the feed but only few of them will create a new ride.

We talked to a group of users again to understand what are the barriers of creating a new ride. We realize that except for the fact they have to input locations, the major barrier is that they don't want to take responsibility to coordinate the ride.

Iteration 3: Lower The Barrier of Creating New Rides

To solve the new problem, we decide to change the user flow into a match-based model.

In this new model, users have to input commute information first, then we'll search if they have matching rides. If there's no matching rides, they can choose to create one using existing commute information or we can notify them later once we have a match.

To test out how it works, I've created an new prototype and tested the prototype with a group of target users.


Unfortunately the project ended and the team was dismissed after New Venture Challenge 2015. It was really nice to work in a small team like this to identify problems, quickly design and launch and test it with real users. I've learn a lot from this project and will continue the entrepreneur spirit in future work.

Thanks for reading :)