DIBI conference 2017 - Molly Nix




Molly is a Senior Product Designer at Uber developing the driver app, and self-driving technology. Uber solved a simple problem: How do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Six years and more than 2 billion trips later, Uber continues to grow in more than 450 cities in 74 countries.

Uber is a company with a diverse set of products that often face design challenges with plenty  of risk. It is their goal as designers not only to minimise risk, but to channel risk in a way that helps fuel design, and to choose those risks that we deem worthy.

Molly's talk gave some insight into how Uber deals with risk in the design process. She began explaining the importance of risk within design and how to discover which risks are worth taking. 
She explained her '3 Step process' the uber team takes to minimise risk for both designers and stakeholders.

  1. Participate - Try to experience the problem from the first hand user, as much as you possibly can. Although you can replicate the users surroundings or situation of human stimulants, it helps to gain a deeper level of understanding.
  2. Involve - Develop a design direction, discover key challenges and user stories to help solve users concerns or achieve their goals.
  3. Observe - Research and use the product from your own perspective and apply your own knowledge and skills to develop a solution.

Molly also shared how designers at Uber work to deliver the best experience by 'Body Storming'. They would act out scenarios to create an 'improv' class to share ideas as a team and develop solutions to client problems. This process adds a sense of humanity to the problem, providing aid for a better understanding of the pressure points Uber drivers face in the real world.


Molly shared with us a problem she encountered when developing the Uber Driver App. When undertaking some user research in India, the team found that firstly there are some literacy issues that the app needed to address. Iconography aided this issue greatly but the icons chosen created another puzzling discovery. After the icons were put in place and tested on users, they found a peek in users visiting the 'Earnings' section in the App. The Uber team looked into this and discovered that users thought the 'Earnings' icon was a 'connectivity' icon. India also struggle with connectivity issues quite frequently and the Uber app relies heavily on connectivity to link drivers with passengers. The team listened to the users and learn from them. They changed the UI slightly and it made the app much more user friendly for Uber drivers around the world.

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