Designer (Product, UX, UI)
Rugged Roads is a mobile app that automatically records potholes the user’s car has hit. The data is then reported to the appropriate department and insurance company, leading to potholes being filled more quickly, users saving money with their insurance, and other users being aware of surrounding potholes as well as their severity. I designed the wireframes and app, and created a prototype. I also played an integral role in ideation and user interviews.
Potholes cause a lot of safety issues, ranging from people swerving to avoid them to their cars being damaged from simply riding through the hole. These can result in a generally unpleasant ride, spilling drinks, children crying, and overall frustration at the city. Currently, people do not have an automatic or easy way to record and report potholes. The app aims to reduce all of this by introducing an efficient and easy way to report potholes.
Poorly maintained roads cause $3 billion worth of damage every year in the U.S.
- AAA Auto Insurance
44 million licensed drivers express concern over pothole damage, and yet there are 55 million reported potholes across America.
- AAA Auto Insurance
Usually, I have time on my side when it comes to creating a project. However, this app is a result of Startup Weekend Columbus. My team of five created this from scratch in under 32 hours with no budget, no access to our target audience, and only one designer (me).
Nevertheless, we began. Our ideal target audience is people who drive a lot for a living, such as truckers. However, there was no way to gather such an audience in a short time, so my teammate and I created a survey and headed outside to talk to people. We received over 40 responses and found that:
Of people felt strongly about their drives being smooth.
Of people deal with potholes daily.
Of people encountered potholes at least once a week.
Of people suffered car damage and had to pay for repairs due to bad roads. Some even needed to pay a few hundred dollars annually.
These responses may not be from our target audience, but this study showed that there was a lot of interest in the Rugged Roads product. Out of the people we questioned, those that were in our target audience cared the most about potholes, drove the most, and had experienced the most extreme car damages resulting from hitting potholes.
We also asked people what they would like to see in such an app and noted all of their responses.
Armed with our research, my teammates and I regrouped to move onto ideation and discussed what features are necessary. We noted down what users suggested, as well as a couple features that would make us stand out from competition, such as Waze.
Map of potholes the user has hit
Map of potholes other users have hit
Severity of each pothole recorded
System to show whether a pothole has been confirmed by a user
When the app is active, the user does not have to do anything. It runs in the background, and thanks to today’s technology, developers can tune a phone's accelerometer to detect when the car hits a pothole. However, if the user wants to see how many potholes they have hit, report a false reading, or see potholes in the area, then they can use the app to do so.
After settling on a design, I started working on a prototype. Once the phone's accelerometer detects the pothole, it is automatically sent in a report to those responsible for fixing it, as well as the driver's insurance. None of this needed a UI and is thus not included below.
If a user does not want to search the map, they can click "See All" for a quick list of potholes in their searched location.
This page details the potholes that the user has come across, instead of all potholes in the area.
As part of our business plan, we decided to include an advertisement for our Pro Plan. We had two questions in mind when deciding this:
1. Will people really pay $1.99/month for this service?
2. Is an ad annoying?
Our user research and usability tests showed that most users interested in our application would be willing to pay this amount, and the ad was rather quick, clean, and reasonable instead of annoying.
Our team decided to incentivize the user to make an account with us through a true statistic.
Once a location is searched, all of the potholes in that area became visible.
Each pothole is ranked by its severity. The more severe a pothole, the more likely it will cause car damage.
A user can hover over a pothole on the map to see more details about it, including when it was first discovered, whether another person confirmed it is a pothole, and how many other people have been affected by it.
In case anyone was curious about us or wanted to get in touch, we created an "About Us" page with easy access to our contact information.
This page also details exactly how our application works and why we are worth paying $1.99/month.
One of the main challenges of this project was the time restriction. It did not take me long to realize that I had to prioritize certain steps in my process to punch out a quality prototype by the time of our presentation. I also realized the importance of having the right audience around to do our user testing. Based on the people I talked to, it was clear that their responses to my questions differed depending on characteristics we were interested in, such as occupation. It was clear that the few people within our audience had responses most in line with what we were looking for; the other responses skewed our data a bit. Overall, our project placed 3rd, and I conducted user tests afterwards focused on how intuitive the design was and whether this was an app people would actually want to use.
Felt the design was intuitive
Did not mind the advertisement
Would download the app
Overall, my testers found the design to be very intuitive and provided all of the information that was necessary. Not all were sure about the advertisement for upgrading, but acknowledged they believed it was necessary and understood its purpose.