The Challenge

In the context of a product design training at The Design Crew, we worked on a case study for Heetch, in groups of two. The Product Manager briefed us on our goal: improve the “pick-up experience”, meaning the time before the user actually get in the car, as it has a low conversion rate funnel (many users cancel the ride before the driver has arrived).

Visuals of Heetch’s current order experience

User research

We started off with interviews of five VTC users (tourist car with driver services, like Heetch, Uber or Kapten), from which we uncovered some pain points:

  • The user chooses which service to use by comparing different apps and picking the best ratio price-waiting time.

“I always look at Uber and Heetch to choose the cheapest.”
– Mayra

  • Safety is an essential factor for girls, especially at night.

“I usually stay inside, I don’t want to be assaulted.”
– Nishu

  • There is a lack of trust on the waiting time indicated on the app.

I often get my waiting time extended all of a sudden, it’s unreliable.”
– Guillaume

On that last point, the Heetch team informed us many drivers tend to use several apps at the same time to optimise their rides. This is a major problem because it leads to unreliable waiting times, which tend to raise up in unpredictable ways after booking confirmation.

Defining the problem

We started by doing a collaborative journey map of the current Heetch experience to define the main steps and possible pain points in the process.

Collaborative journey map of a Heetch ride

Based on our user research, we brainstormed on possible How Might We questions and voted for the most relevant ones.

“How Might We” session

We settle on a problematic: How might we facilitate the passenger’s pick-up? with a list of KPIs:

  • Reduction of the driver’s waiting time
  • Reduction of cancellation rate for both passenger and driver
  • Reduction of the number of tickets for support regarding pick-up
  • Reduction of communications between passenger and driver at encounter


With my partner, we started by making a mindmap to drop all of our thoughts on paper and see possible connexions.

Mindmap of the problematic: How might we facilitate the passenger’s pick-up?

We generated a diversity of ideas, starting with a “Crazy 8s” and building up with a “Remix & Improve” workshop. Then, we narrowed down to two ideas that we developed into storyboards.

Workshop session: Crazy 8s
Workshop session: Remix & Improve from my partner’s Crazy 8s ideas
Designing storyboards from our selected ideas

Our design proposition

We decided to focus on delays happening while waiting for a ride, as we witnessed from our user research that it was a recurrent complaint after ordering a Heetch: the waiting time would suddenly increase, sometimes doubling the time displayed at the moment of the order.

Our solution is to be transparent and offer an alternative: when a delay over 5 minutes happens, we notify the user and suggest to walk a couple of minutes to get closer and reduce the waiting time.

We also introduced an incentive of 10% of discount if the user wants to cancel the ride after a delay, in case they change their mind. We improved the copywriting at that point, to clarify: if the user cancels after 5 minutes, there is a cancellation fee. Under 5 minutes, the user doesn’t pay anything.

We also adapted the tone of voice currently used in the app to better fit the brand image. We switched from “vous” (formal) to “tu” (casual), as Heetch mainly targets young adults. We took extra care on the copy to convey empathy and transparency in our messages following a delay.

User testing

Following the prototyping of these features (notify a delay, offer the alternative of walking, and 10% discount), we tested them out on a panel of 5 users. Although it wasn’t in the right context (in the street, at night, ordering a car), we received many interesting insights:

  • Being notified of a delay has been positively received by all of our testers.

“Knowing why doesn’t impact my decision by my emotion.”
– Pierre

  • Walking is not an admissible solution to 4 out of our 5 users.

“Your service has a delay and you force me to walk, annoying !” – Ardjo

  • A 10% discount doesn’t impact the decision to cancel the ride for all of our users.

“It’s nice but I’m annoyed, I’m not happy… 10% doesn’t sound like a lot.”
– Georges

From these insights, we took a few decisions:

  • We should implement the notification of a delay, as acknowledging the change makes the user less confused and frustrated.
  • As the alternative of walking isn’t a solution for our users, we decided to iterate on another way to distract the user and reduce frustration during delays.
  • Instead of playing with a 10% discount incentive, we should let the user cancel if the decision has already been taken, while being more transparent about the user getting charged or not.


Our new solution is partnering with a popular game like Color Road, which is simple and short enough to be played for a few minutes while waiting for the car. The goal is both to make time go by quicker, and to enhance the playful brand image Heetch represents.

We also removed the 10% discount and replace it with a transparent and empathetic message adapted to the ordering time: over 5mn, we inform the user before cancelling that they will be charged a cancellation fee to compensate the driver; under 5mn, we just sincerely apologise before confirmation.

The next steps would be to A/B test this solution, to help in deciding either to add the game right after booking or after a delay occurs.

Prototype in motion