Personalizing Uber.

What if advertising was invisible? Or even better, what if advertising was designed with the same user-centric intention as the rest of the product experience?

For the app that helps you go places and get things, we challenged the idea that ads were destined to be interruptive and created a space that responds to every day needs and context.

Vision

Messaging that helps you navigate everyday life.

A unified and coordinated "always on" discovery experience to encourage adoption of new and existing services across the product.

Goals

Efficient.

Uber gives you your time back.

Contextual.

Uber understands you to serve you better.

Consistent.

Uber has your trust and confidence.

Drives adoption.

Increase revenue and engagement.

Drives internal efficiency.

Rapidly experiment and grow new services.

Drives brand positioning.

Become synonymous with everyday needs.

User insights.

Users come to Uber with clear intent, ignoring what they perceive as irrevelevant content.

Users are receptive to learn about and use new services, so long as they're in a context that matches their mental state.

A limited surface with little relevance.

The existing surface had a number of pain points. Its dominating size detracted from high-intent users, even pushing "Home" and "Work" shortcuts off the screen on smaller phones. The visual design only allowed for a small range of colors and only supported small illustrations. Internal teams were ill-trained in content development, leading to impersonal promotions detached from our powerful targeting capabilities.

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An inconsistent journey leads to missed opportunities.

Every messaging surface across the product was designed with different specs and poor guidance on how to capture user intention at discrete points of the journey. Despite data showing higher click-through rates en route and on trip, internal teams used only home screen surfaces a disproportionate amount of the time. Additionally, very few (if any) campaigns customized their messages based on user context (waiting for a ride or already in one?).

Exploring the possibilities.

I lead a team of designers, illustrators, and copywriters through a three-week, blue-sky conceptual exploration, landing on four distinct territories. Through a collaborative process with our product partners, we pulled out the best and most feasible ideas to bring to cross-functional leadership for alignment and buy-in.

conversation

Conversational?

routine

Anchored in routine?

search

Driven by search?

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Integrated with third parties?

journey

Bringing the vision to life through narrative storytelling.

We refined our conceptual thinking into a succinct user journey narrative that spanned three types of users, all connected by the family unit. By bringing these features to life in the context of our users, we were able to double down on the importance and impact of the work.

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Actions, not ads.

Our vision highlighted how through the use of context and personalization, traditional advertising surfaces could be transformed into meaningful, assistive actions.

From concept to execution: standardizing our components.

We worked with the design platform team to create a system of uniform components that would cut down on internal asset creation time, allow for faster experimentation, and create consistency across the user journey.

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Building consistency across the entire journey.

The previous design system only allowed for small illustrations, not representative of the entirety of Uber's brand identity and causing consistency issues with marketing efforts. The new system accomodates all types of assets, with motion on the roadmap, allowing for the full expression of Uber's brand across the entire customer experience.

Guiding by doing: over 100 new messages created.

With the components moving into production, I resourced a creative team and, in partnership with PMM, produced over 100 evergreen messages and content guidelines in time for the redesign rollout. In addition, we held office hours and trainings with stakeholders to help teams understand our vision and how to bring it to life.

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From generic to contextual.

By using simple data like time of day, we turned generic Eats promos into more contextually relevant messages. In the future, these messages may be paired with local favorites and recommendations.

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The right message at the right time.

By taking into consideration day of the week, we're able to turn seemingly irrelevant product upsells into helpful recommendations and services.

seasonality

Turning value props into meaningful messages.

We audited nine of the highest priority products and services and developed unique concepts based on their core value props. We combined these concepts with variable data to create contextually relevant messages that feel assistive, not interruptive.

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Marketing as an integrated part of the product.

In our vision, we laid out a clear idea: we need to radically rethink our in-app marketing—not just as a surface, but as an integrated part of the experience. In conversations with product leadership, this approach alleviated concerns around losing high-intent users. By aligning marketing and product, we were able to re-imagine how a traditional ad space could be used to solve real-world problems.

brand

Design Direction
Dan Schwer

Product Design
Joan Pons & Josh White

Program Management
Ioannis Argiris

Illustration
Jordon Cheung, Aldo Hernandez, & Giulia Giovannini

Production Design
Elena Costello & Seth Jones

product

Product Management
Wes Leung, Giovanni Ravone, & Rhetta Nadas

Platform Product Design
Corin Nader

Mobility Product Design
Kyu Lee

Copywriting
Josh Elder

PMM
Priscilla Kong