- Uber Lite app become relaunched in India in June final yr
- The app presently helps English, Portuguese, and Spanish
- Uber’s Bengaluru tech center has approximately 2 hundred human beings overall
Uber remaining yr launched the Uber Lite app for Android. The lightweight app, which is touted to be eighty-five percent smaller in its download length than the regular Uber app – exactly just 5MB in size – was first launched in India. It became, in fact, the brainchild of the crew primarily based out of Uber’s Bengaluru tech center. The middle goal at the back of the Uber Lite app turned into to supply a cozy revel into customers who are new to smartphones or who own entry-stage Android gadgets with low garage and negative community connectivity. But the San Francisco, California-primarily based cab aggregator is now taking a step in advance and adding new functions to its ‘lite’ app to carry new riders on board.
“Our users have resonated properly with the enjoy that we’ve got created,” Shirish Andhare, Head of Product and Growth, India — Uber, says in a conversation with Gadgets 360. “It [Uber Lite] is staying in India and also in 14 international locations in Latin America, together with Brazil and Mexico — some of our biggest markets. We’ve crossed extra than million installs.”
The Uber Lite app presently supports English, Portuguese, and Spanish. However, Andhare notes that due to the fact vernacular is thought to be a vital driving force of cellphone adoption in India, his crew is actively considering the addition of a few Indic languages, which includes Hindi. The Uber Lite group had, in the beginning, deliberate the debut of Hindi and a few different key Indian languages for September’s final year. However, that plan is manifestly yet to take form.
“We generally revel in, get the outcomes, after which form of making investments greater closely in those regions,” the govt says. “But we’re searching at Hindi and in all likelihood the top-seven Indic languages for India to experience and see if we get the person adoption progressed and allow the consolation stage with the app after which we will move from there.”
Some different interesting trends are also taking place at Uber’s tech center in Bengaluru. Andhare warned that the paintings across the Indic language integration into the Uber Lite app are currently at a totally early stage. “We are also operating on an offline app, and perhaps using speech reputation or voice seek, to make the revel in of reserving a ride smoother,” divulges Andhare, without detailing any specifics.
A journey from zero to greater than 1,000,000 journeys
Andhare and his group of engineers, statistics scientists, and researchers at the Bengaluru tech center have managed to bring the Uber Lite app from 0 to one million journeys throughout over 14 countries in less than a year, given that it’s launch returned in June, closing 12 months.
“The idea at the back of Uber Lite was literally to create a mild, immediately, and easy software that works for our customers specifically in emerging markets on traditional gadgets, and additionally folks that are new to the smartphone user interfaces and are not completely technologically savvy,” says Andhare.
Uber’s Bengaluru tech center currently has approximately 2 hundred humans in general, though the intention was more than double the engineering headcount in 2019.
The team in the back of the Uber Lite app, to begin with, prepared a list of features that have been available at the original Uber app. But in preference to definitely ditching the features in the Lite app, the plan becomes to reduce the steps concerned in reserving a cab from the unique app.
“One of our observations turned into that during mature programs, we require users to make many more than one decision on every screen,” mentions Andhare. “If you have a look at Uber Lite, we’ve minimized that. We need them to be relaxed and confident approximately that one selection they want to make – whether or not it’s my pick out-up location, destination, the sort of automobile I need, and the sort of charge device earlier than I e-book. So we’ve got actually damaged it down. That simplicity calls for us to be judicious approximately the type of capabilities we need to feature.”
To provide a cozy person to enjoy the Uber Lite app, Andhare’s crew eliminated the visual appearance of maps. This helped customers choose their choice-up factor from a list of interest factors as a substitute for selecting any precise area on the map.
“The thrilling component is all of this nonetheless is maps facts – it is simply no longer the visual,” underlines Andhare. “But the net result becomes we ended up having an app this is map-constrained, which permits us to make the app even lighter, which we make it simpler for the consumer enjoy as well.”
Naman Mathur, one of the middle researchers in the back of the Uber Lite app, talks about the three challenges that Uber confronted whilst developing the Lite app — affordability, connectivity, and ease.
“More than a 3rd of those customers come from connectivity zones which might be lesser than 3G,” states Mathur. “We noticed that this demographic of customers had been pressured with how maps characteristic, and so after our user studies, we reinterpreted the design of the app to cater to their consolation. We made the map less congested, with lesser pointers, and closely relied on factors of a hobby as we realized that maximum riders experience extra relaxed with that form of region tracking.”
Since the Uber Lite app is designed for entry-stage Android devices that have lesser display screen area over regular smartphones, the crew has used a principle of ‘tap before kind.’
“We approached the designers of the app with this precept of ‘faucet earlier than kind,'” says Andhare. “The tap earlier than type means that the app surfaces more and more information that customers can type as opposed to having to type long addresses and so forth.” “This concept of [the] tap before type got here from looking at the sizes of telephones and the manner users use the keyboard,” he maintains.
Andhare additionally highlights that the Uber Lite app is pickup-first, whereas the regular Uber app comes as a destination-first solution. “It [the regular Uber app] right away asks you where do you need to go,” he says. “But our app says where must we pick you up – is that this the right vicinity to select you up.”
The Uber Lite group visited Brazil, Mexico, and India to explore a diffusion of paradigms to locate the maximum suitable model. Importantly, months before the Uber Lite launch, rival Ola already introduced the Ola Lite app. But the crew led through Andhare took a special method and used WhatsApp as their proposal.
“We met a grandmother, who turned into like, I assume 60 years old, and she turned into using WhatsApp and YouTube variously and yet when we asked her to an ebook that enjoys on our app, it turned into a bit hard for her,” remembers Andhare. “So one interesting concept we had explored earlier changed into if humans are acquainted with chat, may want to it assist if we create a booking experience that looks extra like say a chat verbal exchange. We experimented with that.”
To provide an instant messaging app-like enjoy through the Uber Lite app, Andhare and his teammates deployed a one-contact booking waft and simple steps that are being guided to users.
“We learned that at the same time as users had been very relaxed chatting on WhatsApp, they had been not completely at ease having an enjoy outside of WhatsApp that had any of these elements, and we stated k, a guided, easy step-with the aid of-step flow is virtually plenty higher in this interaction,” says Andhare. “We learned that a guided waft is vital, and so instead of leaving all the decisions to the consumer to find out, we sincerely manual the user.”
Initially, the Uber Lite app failed to assist primary capabilities, including the Uber Pool integration and Paytm as a payment method. The team but updated the app in December to bring in each popular capability. The app still would not permit customers in India to apply credit scores or debit cards for payments, even though.
Then digital pockets payments were observed to be, in reality, extra famous inside the U. S. A. Andhare tells Gadgets 360 that even as his team does allow payments via credit score and debit playing cards in Latin America, it nevertheless now not lets in Indian users for paying through playing cards as coins enjoy. Nevertheless, they’re receiving requests to add UPI assistance.
“We’re always looking to study from the marketplace,” the govt affirms. “In truth, we’ve got a few reviews on when is UPI coming or can I pay using a card and so forth. So we maintain a watch on these indicators.”
Unlike the authentic app, Uber Lite additionally lacks riders’ rankings. Andhare, though, mentions that riders’ own rankings by no means are absolutely long past. “At a few points, we’ll carry it,” he assures. “But we felt it become vital to check our center hypothesis, which is this guided glide.”
“We make the decisions carefully due to the fact we want to preserve this app easy and the selection-making very-very simple and relatively clutter-loose. But if we see a sturdy sufficient sign and call for from our users, now that we have an awesome important mass of customers the usage of the app, we’ll make sure that we prioritize this stuff over time,” he adds.
For assisting 2G-kind network situations at the Uber Lite app, the crew has implemented caching in the app for popular locations. “When you begin typing, even though the community isn’t that exquisite because a number of the popular destinations are already on the app — in its database — those destinations display up way extra quick than having to move across a terrible community to get that reaction again,” Andhare explains.
Need a Jamil and Anurag Arora from the Product Design Team at the back of the Uber Lite app inform Gadgets 360 that they’ve made the app “more faucet-in a position” and “greater convenient” for users compared to the regular Uber app, after collating statistics primarily based on frequent places and records of rides through knowledge the existing consumer base.
“To make certain that our crew continues to thrive for simplicity whilst new features are being brought, we continually move lower back to our layout ideas and spot if we are doing sufficient justice to create the only experience possible for our end customers,” the engineers said.
Affordability – the next huge consciousness vicinity
While the Uber Lite crew underneath the management of Andhare has controlled to construct a successful answer for first-time smartphone users, it is but to draw human beings for whom Uber as a cab service continues to be a top-class alternative.
“We do trust that for this audience, as a way to make Uber a habit, first of all, we want to offer them with an app that in reality works and they are secure with, and secondly, we want to provide the products that simply match of their day by day lifestyle and their budget,” says Andhare. “So if you see Uber Lite, we’re already surfacing Moto and Auto where these are available within the towns. And affordability is really a key-key place for the business enterprise normal.”
Uber currently has the UberGo because of the most low-priced alternative for a private tour. But though, the corporation ought to carry different models to get absorbed deeply in price-touchy markets like India.
“Having better capability motors, as an example, is one possible location that we should spend money on and adapt that to these markets,” presumes Andhare. “The other is simply making matters more green typical and also taking existing models like Pool and others and adapting them to the needs of precise markets like India.”
“Lots of questioning occurring; however, Uber Bus is a great instance of what we introduced in Cairo that would potentially be applicable even in these markets wherein affordability can certainly force normal utilization of secure, at ease transportation,” he concludes.