• Mayanka

Comparative Study of Uber vs Lyft UI

Updated: Dec 18, 2017


User Interface (UI) is an interaction medium of human and computers for performing different tasks. Better UI provides an Application or website an edge over their competition. Every day thousands of students, faculty members, staffs and parents travel to and from the University of Maryland. Many of them uses various cab booking Apps to commute. The people using these Apps in the University of Maryland vary from new users to experienced users, young tech savvy millennials to older millennials; it becomes crucial for these Apps to have a good user interface that supports the information exchange and at the same time being user friendly and easy to use.

Lyft and Uber are the most popular and widely used Applications in the United States. both of these companies allow a person to hail a car from their phone. Both companies developed their Apps around the same time, and both Apps are designed at the core to simply connect a rider to a driver. The mobile Apps of these companies have experienced enormous growth since their inception. In this paper, we will study and compare the user interface of their mobile Applications in detail.


The purpose of this paper is to study the usability of both these Apps. Also, how the design and features of the respective Apps change their user base. Mostly, we wanted to understand which App holds the competitive edge. What are the strong points in their design and where does the room for improvement lies.

Research Design and Methods

For this study, we have limited our user group to people with age ranging between 18 to 35. We have leveraged below study methods:

  • Survey

  • Interviews

  • Usability Tests

  • Personas

  • User Journey Map


We asked 36 participants a set of 14 questions regarding their use of cab services like Uber and Lyft. We made the survey using Qualtrics and recorded the responses and performed the data analysis on the responses received. The questions asked to participants were as follows

  1. Which public transport service do you frequently use for commuting?

  2. If cab, which cab service do you use?

  3. How often do you use the cab service?

  4. Which app is easier to use?

  5. Which app's user interface did you like better?

  6. Are you able to effectively book cabs on the preferred app?

  7. I immediately understood the functions of the app.

  8. I didn't need any training manual or any kind of reference material for using the app.

  9. How satisfied are you with the app?

  10. What do you think about the speed of the app? (Does it crash, hang or freeze?)?

  11. I found the language of the app easy to understand.

  12. What is your gender?

  13. How old are you?

  14. Which race/ethnicity best describes you? (Please choose only one)

Survey Analysis

After doing analysis on the responses received from Qualtrics we got the following insights: -

Demographic Analysis


To gain insight about how user feels about these cabs booking applications Uber and Lyft we interviewed some users from students of University of Maryland, College Park. The interview was taken in person with an interviewer, a note taker and an audio recorder present at the interview. We conducted the interview in UMD classroom where the user was comfortable with his/her surroundings and could answer our questions without any interruptions and distractions. Our first user was a 40-year-old female who is a part time student at the University of Maryland and our second user was a 18 years old male who is a full-time student at UMD. We prepared questionnaire of 10 questions and the interview was about 10 minutes each.

Journey Map

A journey map is a visualization of the process that a person goes through to accomplish a goal. It’s used for understanding and addressing customer needs and pain points. The following is the journey map created for the ride-hailing apps, Uber and Lyft.


Personas are fictional characters, created based upon our research in order to represent the different user types that might use the ride-hailing service provided by Uber and Lyft. Creating these personas helped us understand the users’ needs, experiences, behaviors and goals. We created two primary personas, one secondary persona and one excluded persona.

Usability Tests

As a part of our project, we performed Usability Tasks with 3 users. Out of them, one user was completely new to both the Apps (Uber and Lyft). Whereas, the other two were moderate users who had availed the Uber and Lyft cab services and used both the Apps before. The users were asked to perform usability tasks using the Apps for Uber and Lyft cab services to call the cabs. Following Usability Tasks were performed on Uber and Lyft Apps by all the 3 users as a part of our Uber vs Lyft comparative study:

  1. Installing the App on the mobile devices

  2. Signing up for the service / opening the account

  3. Setting pick-up location and destination

  4. Adding requirements (private, shared)

  5. Booking a ride

  6. Cancelling the ride

  7. Available Payment options

  8. Help functionality

Users provided their feedback about each of the Apps after performing above tasks.

Usability Statistics

Following statistics are drawn based on the ratings by the users after Usability Tasks performed by the three users:

Graphical Representation

The image below shows graphical representation of the above statistical data:

Overall User Experience with the App

Users also graded their user experience of the Apps based on other additional functionalities (listed below) available with the Apps.

  1. Ease of Use

  2. Security

  3. Payment charges

  4. Overall Customer Satisfaction with the App

Overall, all the three users felt that Lyft application provided better interface and was more user-friendly.


  • We conducted the various tasks of our project with considerably smaller population which limited scope of our study.

  • As Lyft and Uber are very popular Applications which are very frequently used, the users were familiar with the working of one or both the ride-hailing Applications and were able to navigate and complete tasks without facing major obstacles.

  • One of the limitations we faced while conducting the Lyft vs Uber Usability tests was the usability Applications that track the number of swipes and clicks are paid Applications. We recorded the users on our handheld devices and manually noted their responses.

  • The users were unable to proceed with confirming the cab booking due to the associated cost factor. So, the usability tests were unable to capture the ride confirmation, the pickup, the ride experience and the feedback.

  • The availability of the cabs was dependent on the area we resided, in this case in and around College Park, Maryland. It was also dependent during the day of the week and the time of day we looked for the cab.

  • It is convenient sampling as two of our users for the usability test were students who resided at UMD and the third user is a resident of College Park, Maryland.


We found that the majority of the questionnaire respondents use the ride-hailing Application Uber (63%) when compared to Lyft (30%). They find Uber easier to use (difference of 28%) and they prefer Uber's user interface (difference of 41%). They immediately understood the functions of the Applications (4/5) and were able to effectively (4/5) book cabs on Uber and Lyft. Most users are moderately satisfied with the Application (57%) while some of them are extremely satisfied (33%).

Overall, with the small group of users, with whom we performed our study, it was observed that users were satisfied with both the Apps, however Uber was preferred over Lyft.

University of Maryland, College Park

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