Quality and branding will put SlingRide in the driver’s seat of a shifting market

SlingRide was asked: “How instrumental has user experience; user interface been in your product development?”

SlingRide has been thinking a lot lately about the roles branding and user experience (UX) have had in our product. We came across a quote this week that is absolutely insane, “Design, brand, and quality control: good crutches for when some substantial value is not yet to be seen in your product.”
It’s intentionally inflammatory, of course, but unfortunately also stereotypically how engineering mindsets view product development. What if design, brand and quality control is the product? SlingRide’s goal is to build the world’s safest and most-civilized ride-sharing network, providing an online experience that aims to shift social norms is a brand challenge, not an engineering one.

How is this shift facilitated by product? We’re designing SlingRide along four themes:

Liquidity — When passengers come to look for a ride, they better find one.
Social — Drives both safety and virality.
Usability — The user interface must be optimized for the tasks users are trying to accomplish.
Branding — Exude modernity, safety and hipness.

Although people have been sharing rides since the car was invented, we are at a pivotal moment in history where ride sharing is ripe for its place in the mainstream. Services such as Facebook allow us to easily share with our friends. AirBnB has made it the norm to rent out extra rooms in your apartment. The cost of owning a car and the time spent commuting is ever-increasing. From these trends, it’s likely there’s latent demand for ride sharing. We believe through a genuine and resonant brand promise, a usable and social site, and availability of rides, SlingRide will capture a disproportionate share of this shift.

To help shape our early product experience, we’ve partnered with Toronto agencyPilot Interactive. They support local startups and large brands to develop strong web presences. If you check out their past projects, it’s easy to see that they just “get this”. We’re stoked to be working with such kindred-spirits.