Getaround provides a peer-to-peer car sharing platform, allowing car "owners" to make money by renting their car to people (renters) nearby. Originally renters had to send a request to the car owner to rent the car; once the rental was approved, the renter would meet the car owner to retrieve the car keys.
This process led to renter uncertainty and frustration since a request could be denied or unanswered until it's expiration. Even accepted rentals came with friction points since users must meet to exchange keys. This had inherent safety concerns and other issues like people not showing to exchange keys. In 2012 Getaround decided to try a new form of booking called "Instant Rentals".
Due to the nature of Instant Rentals, owners would no longer be able to vet potential renters and therefore would have to trust our safety system to do the vetting for them. Our comprehensive vetting system creates a trust score for each renter using data from Facebook, DMV, credit bureau, and 16 other points of reference.
To prepare a car for Instant Rentals it would need to have the Getaorund Connect™ hardware which allows us to track the car's location and provides remote lock and unlock from the Getaround app.
We started by reaching out to power users in the owner community to gauge interest in trying instant bookings. Our target owners were willing to make their car available for rentals at least 75% of monthly weekends so we could compare against other top earning cars.
After a few focus groups, we found most owners were interested in the program, so we launched a targeted email campaign to our top earning owners leading them to a Instant Rental signup form. We soon had over 100 owners on the program.
Over the next three months we began installing owners' cars with our Connect™ hardware. On the product side we started exploring how Instant enabled cars and features would be added to the app and our own internal tool called "Spirit". We needed to educate users how Instant Rentals worked, a way to search for Instant Rental cars, a way to identify Instant Rental enabled cars, and tools for the owners to turn off or opt out of the Instant Rental trial.
We developed a design and copy language to differentiate Instant Rental from request based cars including a unique map pin, badge on car photos, and "Rent Now" CTA at checkout. This design language extended into marketing materials and pins owners could wear at community events to get others excited about Instant Rentals.
Within the product we added a simple filter to allow renters to quickly find Instant Rental cars. Once selected we added a click-lock informational modal to remind users of the differences between the new Instant Rental feature and the old request based rentals.
Instant Rentals were an instant success. Not only did it take out the uncertainty of renting a car, but it was also a checkout model people were more familiar with. Within three months our checkouts went from 100% request based rentals to 90% Instant Rentals. On the flip side, we found that 90% of our new customer complaints came from the remaining 10% of request based rentals. Last minute bookings rose dramatically and car utilization skyrocketed – for the first time our inventory started selling out on warm weekends.
Getaround soon dropped all request based rentals. This was a difficult decision as it meant shutting down active markets, such as Chicago and Austin, since we couldn't support ramping up hardware installations in all markets overnight. Even though there were downsides, the benefit was clear - Instant Rentals led to a superior customer experience allowing Getaround to compete directly with traditional rental car services.
Instant Rentals enabled Getaround to develop many features in the following years such as Extend Rental and Dynamic Pricing, but it has also enabled partnerships with suppliers and simplified fleet management. Today the idea of Instant Rental is baked into Getaround's service and is becoming a golden standard for the rest of the peer-to-peer sharing industry on services like Airbnb, Turo, VRBO, and others.
You walk up to the BMW 4 series you just rented on Getaround. You tap the unlock button in the Getaround app and the BMW blinks its lights and unlocks! This is Getaround's "wow moment". The complex connection between software and hardware creating a seamless, simple user experience.
By unlocking the car through the Getaround app, Getaround provides a number of services to the users including car security for the owner through ignition start lock, it removes the need for in person key exchange, plus rental start and location confirmation for the renter.
Since unlocking a car from a smartphone was a new idea to most people at the time, the original key screen designs were skeuomorphic interfaces modeled after traditional car key fobs. This helped acclimate people to the idea of unlocking the car from the phone, but the design left very little room on screen for other functions and information. With the release of Apple's "flattened" iOS 7, we decided to update the look and feel of the app with a focus on redesigning the key screen.
We started by looking at interaction data from our key screen and focused on what features users were accessing most. Users often referred to the location of the car before unlocking the car, which was buried a tap away on the current design. Looking at customer support tickets, we found users didn't know whether to contact customer service or the owner if they were having issues accessing the car. There were other pieces of information missing from the screen including the rental status, location and parking information, and a reference photo of the rental car.
I started exploring new directions for the screen while incorporating concepts we had gathered from user research. I wanted a design that would work for both owners and renters and could be reduced to a simple Android or iOS dashboard widget. We started gravitating toward a map design with primary actions located within natural thumb reach.
By using the map screen we could easily communicate the parking situation and car location, while showing the car photo and directions on a map annotation. At the top of the screen we added a status bar to show pertinent rental information like start and end times. We buried contact links and other rental actions into an options menu and added help copy so people knew which contact link to use for different situations.
The primary lock and unlock buttons were featured prominently at the bottom of the screen within easy thumb reach. Once taped a status model would pop up as the command was sent to the servers and down to the car giving the user a better idea what was happening, like if the command was successfully sent. The user could tap on the map pin to bring up information such as car photo, car address, and a button for directions. Tapping on the photo brought up the car photo gallery.
The new key screen was launched with the full app redesign for iOS 7 in early 2014. Users took to it quickly and appreciated the updated style. Getaround received a good decrease in customer support tickets related to locating and unlocking cars. We observed users still felt that "wow moment" when unlocking the car from the app.
Since the Getaround app for iOS 7 release, the key screen has had a few minor updates to make it even clearer and adapted to Watch OS, Android Gear S3, and mobile web. We added license plate number for greater car identification as inventory has grown with more overlapping car models and colors. We also added an Inspection feature for renters when they first unlock their rental to make sure the car is safe, clean, and fueled.
Getaround has always conceived, produced, and executed marketing campaigns in-house. From basic landing pages to outdoor ad campaigns. From photoshoots to motion graphics, we did it all on a tight budget with a very small team.
Once Getaround established a timeline for launching New Jersey and Boston, we wanted to create a brand awareness campaign to announce our presence in new markets while also leveraging the campaign in our existing markets. We needed a dynamic campaign that could speak to both sides of our marketplace or be targeted to just one side, either supply (owners) or demand (renters). This campaign would encompass video and outdoor print across transit ads, social media, and direct mail.
After a brief brainstorming and sketching concept designs, we decided it best to go with a split layout design for both print and video. We wanted to show how a shared car enables the owner to make money while giving renters mobility and freedom. This concept allowed us to simply show both sides of our marketplace and the value Getaround provides, yet flexible enough that either side could still stand on it's own for more targeted ads.
Since we wanted the media to appeal to our new east coast markets, we decided to shoot on the east coast in New Jersey. Our Content Writer/Producer and Brand Designer worked hard on composing ad scripts, storyboarding, vetting and hiring models, establishing a shoot schedule, and working with our photographer on logistics. We sent our Brand Designer, Fleet Valet, and Videographer/Photographer to New Jersey for the shoot. In just a few very cold days, they were able to scout locations, prepare cars, shoot b-roll, capture stills, and shot video for our whole campaign.
Back at HQ we vetted voice actors and fine tuned the script. Once we had the media, we focused on our print ads first since those had a print deadline. I wanted to make sure that our copy resinated with our target audience, so we conducted digital ad copy tests on Facebook and Google AdWords using our shoot photography.
Once we locked in copy, we finished production on the print ads and shifted focus to the motion ads. Our remote editor sent edits daily till we had six solid ads with both 15 and 30 second versions, complete with voice over, motion graphics, and background music.
In just 40 days our five person team had gone from campaign concept to print for Getaround launch in the Tri-State area. At the same time we released supporting digital video ads targeting active neighborhoods, three new market landing pages, and media for community launch events.
Since its launch, Getaround was built to allow car owners to share their idle car with people nearby. As car owners started to make good money on the service, many of them added a second, third and as many as ten cars onto the system. Getaround started entering supply partnerships with companies like Karma (City Car Share), Audi, Smart, and Ford. It was becoming clear that Getaround needed to build a fleet management system for our users with more than a few cars.
We decided to explore a separate owner app. A new product simple enough for a basic owner, yet would appeal to power users and would scale with an owner's fleet — an app that could gracefully handle one car or one hundred cars.
I initially approached power owners who had three or more cars on the system. I also interviewed our customer happiness agents dedicated toward managing the fleet of Karma cars that had recently been added to our system. A number of features and needs that kept popping up including the ability to identify similar cars, batch editing cars' schedules, and the number of taps to get to the digital car keys.
Some of the key iconography of the new app included a new car name symbol. I wanted the symbol to feel more like text and be integrated into the car name like an "@" for usernames on social networks. The other prominent lightning bolt icon was created for the action button on the key screen.
This lightning bolt was used to signify primary actions to be taken on a car like lock, unlock, and blocking time on the car. I developed these symbols into app icons and loading animations to see how they scaled across the app.
The most important screen on the fleet app was the inventory screen. I wanted users to view cars in ways that would scale for large fleets, but still feel useful for owners with a single car. Due to the fact most cars only have one or two upcoming rentals at a time, I added upcoming rental information to the large photo view for at-a-glance status.
For larger fleets we needed ways of showing many cars at once. Users need to be able to search and filter based on location / market, distance, name, license plate, make, and model to quickly manage cars in their fleet. I also designed a bulk editing process so users could block or unblock time across multiple cars.
I added a few easy access features to the inventory screen so owners could execute quick actions without having to dive into the car's key screen. Swiping left on a car's photo reveals the car location in relation to the user. Force touching or long touching a photo reveals unlock, lock and block actions. Swiping left on blocked time allows the user to remove or edit the blocked time.
On the key screen I added the upcoming trips and trip status if a trip was active. I hid the primary actions under the action button so users wouldn't "fat-thumb" the lock or unlock actions. This also made more space on the screen to navigate the map and show upcoming trips. Finally I also added connection method and status so users could know if they were connected to the car via cellular, 802.11 wifi, or bluetooth.
Although development of an owner focused fleet app hasn't been initiated at this time, it has led to a number of features being added to the product roadmap. Small details like license plate number and connectivity status have already been added to the flagship app. Power features like swiping the profile to reveal the map or quick access to unlock and lock will be implemented in a near future update.
In an effort to relieve Getaround engineers of making small updates to marketing pages, Getaround decided to migrate "non-app" site pages over to Webflow platform, a WYSIWYG page editor. This allowed the creative team to build landing pages, terms, privacy, and other marketing pages without the need of engineering support. Here are a few pages I designed and then built in Webflow.
In 2015 I developed an identity for a third party, "white-label" insurance claim adjuster to handle Getaround's accident claims. The Getaround claims team wanted to keep the design language separate from the Getaround brand as they didn't want negative experiences from filing claims associated with Getaround brand. After researching a number of insurance claims adjuster brands, I started focusing on the the word "assure", which means to secure. From there I tried to develop a brand language that was soothing, neutral, and institutional.
The final logo mark is made up of three identical shapes, each a different shade of blue. The resulting effect tricks the eye, as if a light was shining on the shapes, creating a gradient or shadows near the touching pieces. The curvature of the shapes makes the logo appear as a ribbon being twisted into a loop.
At the end of 2009, the writing was on the wall for the aging social network known as Friendster. MySpace had taken a good chunk of users away and Facebook was looming as the new heavyweight contender. Friendster's last stronghold was in the Philippines among a few other Southeast Asian nations. Friendster decided it was time to tie the site up in a bow and package it up for sale, so they hired me to put the bow on.
Friendster hired me to redesign the site based on three pillars: simple, fun and personal. Yello, a brand studio in Australia, had completed the logo redesign and a new brand strategy. The constraint for me was that the redesign could only be a superficial re-skin of the site, meaning I couldn't add any new features.
I tried to make Friendster more personable and easier to use. I added action focus by having one primary button / action per page. I increased the photo sizes, added playful colors, and customizable textures to add fun and personalization. Finally I made the feed easier to scan by adding iconography and unique feed item layouts.
The redesigned Friendster launched December 4th of 2009, yet by then their their fate had been sealed. On December 9, 2009 Friendster was acquired for $26.4 million by MOL Global. Two years later the site repositioned itself as a social gaming platform and in June of 2015 the site and all its services were shut down indefinitely.
In 2012 a friend approached me to help create a an identity for her alternative San Francisco based fashion brand. She wanted a number of design elements that could be used on print collateral, item tags, and textiles. Her primary brand concepts were gloomy, mystical, and sacred. I researched a number of ancient symbols including cave drawings from the Ice Age and Egyptian hieroglyphics. I found the Menkaure pyramid in Giza was designed to show the quarterly moon cycle and I based much of my design philosophy around it.
The final logo mark is a stack of triangles pointing to a moon, spelling out Lu Luna while forming the Menkaure pyramid. Together the mark creates seven triangles, seven being a lunar motif found throughout tablets and hieroglyphics in Giza as each quarter phase (new moon to quarter moon, etc) of the moon is seven days. Alternatively the triangles can be placed on the same plane to form the name while also representing the three "Queens" pyramids of Menkaure.