Designing a real time carpooling app for students at University of Michigan


User Interviews, Persona, Crazy Eight, Storyboarding, Journey Mapping, Sketching, Paper Prototyping, & Low Fidelity Prototype


12 weeks


UX Designer



Problem Statement

Students at the University of Michigan who live off campus don't have affordable and frequent commute solutions for grocery shopping

Solution Overview


This individual project stemmed from my own experiences of inefficient and inconvenient commute to grocery shopping.

I observed other students waiting up to half an hour for the bus after purchasing groceries. Most of them generally have a commute of 15 minutes or less but they usually cannot walk back comfortably with their groceries. The bus rides are free but they are infrequent on weekends and during the late hours which makes commute inconvenient.

Validation of problem

I conducted seven interviews with students asking about their experience commuting in Ann Arbor to do groceries. I asked them about their grocery shopping habits, process for grocery shopping, time taken to do groceries, and means of transportation. The problem validation phase made me realize that commute on the whole could be improved though grocery shopping was one of the bigger concerns since students don't want to walk while carrying heavy groceries.

Target Audience

The primary audience of my project are students without a car who require better solution to do groceries. The secondary audience of the solution are students who need to commute in an affordable manner in Ann Arbor.

Competitive Analysis

I considered The Ride (bus service), Uber, Zipcar, InstaCart (grocery delivery app), ArborBike (Bike Sharing program), and IShareaRide (Carpooling for work) for competitive analysis.


I devised eight unique solutions without considering any constraints on feasibility.


After peer feedback, I dropped the 3D printing idea and replaced it with community grocery solution.


I created 3 personas and 1 anti-persona based on the interviews. My personas were a mix of international and US students with diverse background, interests, ethnicities, and education. My anti persona did not have financial constraints my personas had.

Journey Map

I mapped my personas on the journey map to find common patterns in their frustrations that my solution can help solve. At this stage, I decided to work on an on-demand carpooling app for student needs. The infrastructure for carpooling is already in place in Ann Arbor.

Research findings

Ann Arbor is a college town where two types of car owners are interested in carpooling:

  • The students who would like to have company and also make some extra money by carpooling.
  • Students and working population who own car want to carpool to meet new people, help students, and reduce carbon print.

During my interviews, I realized networking and helping others was one of the primary reasons why drivers would like to carpool.

Census Bureau, 2016

  • More than 40% households in Ann Arbor have 2 cars and more than 33% of the household have 1 car
  • Driving alone is the most popular method of commute and is adopted by 55% population

Design Rationale

I used Questions, Options, and Criteria to come up with the features of the app. It made me think critically about each way to solve a problem via different features to evaluate and compare all my options.

ziptrip qoc

Paper Prototype

Digital Interactive Prototype

Try the digital prototype my design.

Digital Prototype

After testing my paper prototype, I incorporated the feedback and created a medium fidelity prototype

Description Of How Car Owner And Riders Are Matched

Societal Impact

ZipTrip might help in saving time and money for students. It would provide an affordable option to the students besides the Ride to commute. If car owners are students, they might make some pocket money by carpooling and meet other new students. Other residents and working professionals might have sense of fulfilment by giving rides to people who need it and help in saving energy and reducing carbon footprint. Also, since Ann Arbor has huge international student population, this app will promote conversations among people from different cultural and national backgrounds.

Usability Testing

I tested the final prototype with students for the rider flow. While the users liked the overall simplicity of design and could follow the entire flow, I got the feedback to change certain aspects.


This was my first UX design project and in retrospect I realize more research could have helped in making of this solution.

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