Uber app update focuses on personalization

The app learns your preferred destinations over time, and also building up a more ‘people’ approach to journeys


Uber app update is now available on our iOS device
Uber app update is now available on our iOS device

Earlier this month, ridesharing app Uber announced that it will be rolling out a pretty big update for its rider app for Android and iOS devices. Since this is a phased rollout, not everyone will get the new app at the same time on their phones. However, the update is now available on our iOS device, and the new features immediately stand out.

The design changes are what you will immediately notice. The first screen the app loads on shows your current location on a map, with a floating “Where to?” bar, which allows you to quickly set your destination and be on your way. Also, if you have saved any favourite locations in the app, there will be shortcuts shown at the bottom of that screen itself—one tap, and you don’t need to manually punch in the address of the destination. For us, it was Home and Office, but these will be dependent on how many locations you have saved and frequency of use.

We feel that these shortcut buttons just add that much more convenience for users—for example, if you book an Uber to head back home every day after work, the same process will now become even more intuitive and faster as well. Below these shortcuts, there are the message cards, which can update you about features, offers, and more, depending on what is relevant at the time.

Once you pointed the Uber app to the coordinates of your destination, either by searching for a location or tapping one of the shortcut options, the map on the screen quickly changes to show you the route, as well as the cards with the cab options and estimated fares show up. Swipe right or left on your screen to flip between the cab options (such as Economy, Pool and Premium, for example). One very thoughtful feature is that you see the maximum number of riders the car that which is heading your way will be able to seat.

What Uber will also add is the integration with your contacts list—at present, this option does not pop up for us on the iOS app. It will allow you to set a person as the destination, instead of a place. The app will message your friend, and request for the location. Once the location is received, you can book and start the journey. There is also the option of scheduling a ride for some time in the next few days, and the calendar integration will allow users to add those meetings and appointments to their schedules.

The clearer fonts, the generous white space and the new layout is most definitely more intuitive than before, and looks modern as well in line with what many apps are doing. The biggest advantage of this would be on smaller screen sized phones, such as the 4-inch, 4.7-inch and maybe even the 5-inch smartphones that many users prefer.

Overall, there is a greater focusing on making your journeys more personal, rather just relying on destinations. The basics remain, and everything looks and feels more modern. In case the new update isn’t showing up for you just yet, no need to worry, because the update is being rolled out in batches, and will arrive on your iPhone or Android phone soon.

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