taxi-hailing app design

Flywheel is a network of licensed taxicabs that can be hailed and paid for via smartphone, giving taxi drivers and taxi passengers the same advantages as Lyft or Uber. I worked on UX for the passenger app that connects riders with the closest taxi, letting them track the driver’s arrival and pay for the ride automatically.

Main screen of the Flywheel iOS passenger app.

I worked at Flywheel for a little more than two years. My role at Flywheel grew to encompass all interaction design and visual design of apps for both passengers and drivers. I also helped to define and design other touchpoints for our customers, such as transactional and marketing emails, messaging and signage for taxi fleets. I worked closely with a small, agile team of product managers, front- and back-end engineers, marketing, and customer care. Together, we created a seamless service for both drivers and passengers.

Splash screen with branding and three key screens: main screen, ride options, and driver en route screen.

the design challenge

I'll give here an example of just one of many projects I took on while at Flywheel, and perhaps the most important: redesigning the main screen of our app. We needed to alter the main screen of the app to be more extensible and allow users to select additional ride options, such as different vehicle types, occupancy, and a fare estimator. We needed to add discoverable access to these feature, while not interfering with the golden path for most Flywheel users, which was an incredibly optimized "one tap to get a taxi" flow.

Android visual design for address search screen.


From gathering feedback in interviews and usability tests, we found the most important information for our passengers to see when they first open up the app and see the main page: the map of their location. The map shows all available taxis in the area, and gives new users an immediate understanding of the value of Flywheel. It gives existing users a glance-able understanding of how quickly they can get picked up. Plus, a big map is useful in making sure that the user’s pickup location is accurate before requesting a ride. From a business standpoint, the volume of taxis in the Flywheel system was a huge selling point, so showing off the map, dense with taxis was a good marketing decision as well.

Schematic for saved pickup locations feature in Android app.

So, how did we maximize the size of the map on the main screen, but allow for easy access to ride-specific options (such as number of passengers) as well as global account options (like setting your phone number)?

InVision prototype used for rapid testing.


After iterating on the design and performing usability testing with the InVision prototyping tool, we landed on a design that was flexible and could grow as we added new features to our app, as well as meeting the business and usability goal of maximizing the size of the map on the main screen. Most importantly, this design helped the user focus on the most important task on this screen, which was checking to make their pickup address is accurate, and quickly requesting a ride.

Research participants: current Flywheel users as well as non-users.

additional skills

  • houseplant rehabilitation
  • kerning guidance
  • fixing your very biased online survey
  • cat-sitting
  • gig-economy commentary


© amy bickerton
she, her