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Behind the design: Building a seamless experience to request a ride for others

by David Hildebrand
14 min read
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A conversation with Lyft Product Designer Kyo Kim


The journey to product design

David: Before we go deep on the new request a ride for others experience, can you tell us a little bit about your journey into becoming a product designer? How did you arrive at this career?

Requesting a ride for a friend

Previously, the only way to order a ride for someone else with the Lyft app was to overwrite your GPS-reported pickup location by manually editing the address and replacing it with the pickup location of the person you wanted to order a ride for. This created a scenario where drivers would go to pick up the rider — and find that photo and name of the actual person for whom the ride was ordered for didn’t match with the person getting into their car. The result? Confusion for both rider and driver. The new experience addresses this use case head-on and makes it simple and safe for people to order rides for their family and friends.

Add a Rider
Lyft rider app showing how to add another rider

Design process: Getting started

David: Lets jump forward to Lyft, and your experience leading the design for the request a ride for a friend project. Can you tell us how you got things rolling? What user or business needs were you trying to solve for?

Design process: Pushing through

David: Jumping forward, lets talk about the middle of the project. In many ways, I think this is the toughest phase. Because even though you’ve built awareness, interest, traction, there are so many teams you still have to collaborate with: rider, driver, safety, support and more. And where some of our projects sit more squarely in a single org vertical, this project was unique in that it’s part of the core “golden path” flow of both the rider and driver apps. Can you talk about how you maintain momentum and focus over a project effort this long and with this high volume of collaboration?

Request ride for another rider
Lyft rider app showing how to request a ride for a friend

Design process: Wrapping up

David: What were some ways that design changed or evolved in the final stages of the project? I know we did an employee beta, user testing and observation. What were some things that surprised you?

Mentorship, coaching, onboarding

David: You’ve really been a major force in Lyft Design, and our team specifically, in helping new designers (interns, new graduates) get up to speed, and be productive quickly. What are some of the ingredients for you in setting people up for success?

Design All Hands
Kyo adding light and levity to our Design All Hands

“This too shall pass”

David: One of the things that makes you so delightful to work with is the positive attitude you consistently radiate. It ripples throughout our team, our cross-functional relationships, and the design team as a whole. It also aligns with the company’s core values (“Uplifting others”). What is your secret for maintaining a positive outlook? Even now — when we’re living in such challenging times — you’ve managed to stay the course. How do you do that?

Source: thekyokim on Instagram

post authorDavid Hildebrand

David Hildebrand, David is Head of Design for Payments, Identity and Integrity at Lyft. His passions include harnessing the power of design thinking to unlock new business value, helping designers and managers find their voice as writers and presenters, and harnessing the power of mentorship. He lives with his partner Mike in Oakland, California.


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