Find your friend with a truck! A freight broker company that connects customers with local drivers who have pickup trucks, minivans, and cargo vans, for moving large items, with same day service and upfront pricing.
How might we provide local large vehicles with drivers to consumers who need to safely transport bulk items from one place to another, with same-day pickup and upfront-pricing?
Problem Background and Research Insights
Currently, there are two points of sale: retailers that have delivery options (direct or third-party), and resellers such as Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji or Karrot that don’t have delivery services.
Customers can wait a few days to get large items delivered for the former or contact a friend or find movers’ quotes online for the latter. However, 60% of survey respondents preferred not having to wait for a delivery and rather, getting their items immediately.
From those surveyed, 100% tried fitting large items in their car.
Fig. 1: When asked “Have you ever tried moving a large item in your vehicle?” One hundred percent of surveyors responded with “Yes”.
Of those, 80% mentioned it was difficult to fit items, and when it did “fit”, 70% reported a driving risk with either the trunk remaining open, doors not fully closing, items loaded on top of cars, or items too close to windows. This poses a serious risk to the mover and surrounding drivers.
Fig. 2: Survey responses to “What was the most difficult part about moving a large item in your car?” The “Driving Risk” option includes: trunk open, difficulty closing doors, item on top of car/too close to windows.
Additionally, an interviewee expressed fear of “getting home safely without being pulled over” due to moving a 12 ft construction beam extending out of their passenger window. No red flags, as legally required, were attached and instead, a Home Depot bag was covering it. Another interviewee mentioned: “We made the move at night. We were scared the mattress would fall from the top of the car and cause an accident”.
Other drivers have tried fitting: an Ikea bed, camera cranes, a wardrobe, a dresser, a stove, and a piano. With access to larger vehicles, we can stop such dangerous transports on our roads.
Lastly, for those who were unable to fit items in their car, 40% chose U-Haul or a Home Depot truck rental as the next option. However, 30% customers also reported being “somewhat comfortable” with driving large rental vehicles with 20% being “somewhat uncomfortable”. If shipping isn’t available in some cases (i.e., Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji) what options do we have for safer transports? Additionally, for the 20% who would call a friend, they don’t prefer to wait for a family member/friend to show up or waste time calling different people. They would like the help but without the wait and searching.
Fig. 3: Survey responses to “If an item doesn't fit in your car, and the store doesn't deliver, what next option do you consider?” The “Other” responses include: “pay for shipping” and “Home Depot truck rental”.
Based on our target users’ pain points, we worked on the following user stories:
- As a Mover driver, I want to sign up as a driver so that I can find passengers
- As a Mover driver, I want to be able to view the ride request details so I know what kind of service to expect
- As a Mover driver, I want to be able to accept/deny requests so I control over who I’m providing service to
- As a Mover driver, I want to communicate with the passenger so I can communicate appropriate updates, if necessary
- As a Mover customer, I want to be able to search for nearby drivers so that I can request a ride
- As a Mover customer, I want to know how much I’m paying for a pickup service before booking it so I’m not charged random fees
- As a Mover customer, I want to be able to pick a vehicle according to my item size so I don’t have to pay extra for a larger vehicle
- As a Mover customer, I want a simple interface so that it’s not complicated to book rides
Hifi Mockups: Figma File
Iterative Design Learnings
Through three distinct user stories, we gathered feedback on the Mover prototype. We asked four different user’s to provide feedback on the following use stories:
- Driver registration
- Driver accepting requests
- User requesting mover
Driver registration: The driver registration process was well-received by users. They found it user-friendly, with a step-by-step approach that eased the onboarding process. Participants noted appreciating the clarity in providing necessary information and felt the process was not overwhelming. Users suggested making account status information more readily available upon logging in, and provided clearer guidance regarding payment terms and tax implications.
Driver accepting request: Users valued the visual representation of job locations via the map. However, there were recommendations to specify if drivers are equipped to handle item loading independently, and to provide information on item size and loading/unloading time. Additionally, users suggested labelling different roads/routes on the map for easier navigation.
User requesting mover: Users found the page for requesting a mover easy to use and appreciated features like choosing additional services and leaving special instructions. However, they recommended adding a live map for tracking a driver’s location, incorporating a rating system for drivers, and providing clearer definitions for terms like “elevator.” Users also expressed the need to clearly define item sizes as well as ability to communicate with the driver via call or text. There were concerns regarding driver capability, safety, and responsibility for potential damages. Lastly, users suggested improving the visibility of the “cancel trip” button to improve user control and understanding.
Where is it hosted?
- Python Anywhere Hosting service
What is your tech stack?
What was the hardest part of development?
- Coming with the entire structure right from the database schema to writing logic for proper functioning was a tough task.
Does your app have any scaling issues?
- No, our application does not have scaling issues, it’s functioning properly.
What are some key takeaways?
More experience on software development, managing third party libraries and being realistic with features.
We will be moving forward as a team into Phase 2 of the development after the MVP.
Product Manager Learnings:
- Forward Planning: staying one step ahead is imperative for a PM. Co.Lab taught me to look beyond the current week’s submission to plan ahead for product development. Once the designs are out, start the development but also the iterative process with gathering initial user feedback. The user feedback we gathered with our design prototypes showed us just how much more work needs to be done.
- Additionally, enforcing deadlines on small tasks and communicating with the team. With many small steps involved in creating the bigger product, having everyone on the same page with set targets leads to a more seamless process. This can be done by incorporating technical platforms to stay organized.
- Lastly, the research never stops. After researching the problem statement is gathering product requirements, followed by product iteration. It’s important to always have users available early enough to gather the data on time. Which leads me to my first point - stay ahead of the game.
- Pushing out a C2C web app in just 8 weeks came with multiple learnings! First, it taught me the importance of evaluating trade-offs and making decisions amongst competing priorities, especially in determining which features merited immediate attention. I also learned to adapt designs based on changing priorities, all while navigating limitations with developers.
- Navigating a globally dispersed team presented its own set of challenges. It emphasised the importance of having a strong line of transparent communication and a flexible approach to accommodate varying time zones and work styles
- Overall, this project has been an incredible learning experience. It's reinforced the importance of realistic goal-setting and iterative development in fast-paced environments. I'm proud of what our team accomplished in those 8 weeks, and I'm excited to carry these lessons forward in future endeavours.
- Building a mover app requires you to integrate logistical and operational components into your software. I learnt how to synchronize and manage real-world processes, such as scheduling movers and optimizing routes, through code. This experience in integrating software with physical operations can be valuable for future projects in various industries
- Building a complete mover app involves both front-end (user interfaces) and back-end (server-side logic and databases) development. I gained experience in full-stack development, allowing me to work on all aspects of a project. This versatility can make me a well-rounded developer, capable of handling various roles in software development.
- Developing Mover means focusing on user-centric design and development. I gained insights into creating intuitive user interfaces, improving user experiences, and addressing user needs. This user-centred approach can be applied to other software development projects, enhancing my ability to create user-friendly applications
- Scalability and Performance Optimization: As we worked on our Mover app, we definitely encountered challenges related to scalability and performance. Handling a growing user base and optimizing your application's speed and efficiency are crucial aspects of software development. l learnt strategies for scaling apps and optimizing code, which can be applied to other projects as well, especially as I aim to develop high-performance applications.
Full Team Learning
Our team experience in developing Mover with Co.Lab taught us valuable lessons in forward planning, effective communication, and adapting to changing priorities. We learned the importance of staying ahead of the game, making trade-offs, and maintaining transparent communication in a globally dispersed team. Additionally, the developers gained skills in integrating software with real-world processes and focusing on user-centric design, while addressing scalability and performance challenges. These lessons are valuable for future projects and in the continued development of Mover.