Hwy Haul Carrier/Driver App

Designing from the Driver’s Cabin: Why Context Matters

Strategy · Leadership · Research · Design 

In my quest to revamp the Hwy Haul Driver App, I found myself at a pivotal juncture. Armed with a basic app redesign prototype, I was ready to embark on a journey to validate my design with the individuals who matter most - the real users, our truck drivers. I aimed not only to enhance the app but also to gain insights into the day-to-day challenges faced by truck drivers and deeply understand their trip management experience. I made a decision that would prove invaluable: I would step out of my comfort zones, leave my desk behind, and immerse myself in the world of truckers.

The Study

My journey took me to the heart of Salinas, CA, where I found myself at the nearest warehouse. Here, I had the privilege of meeting with several truck drivers in the confines of their truck cabins, as they patiently awaited their loads. My mission was clear - I wanted to comprehend the intricacies of their daily routines, to witness firsthand how they interacted with the current app, and to gauge their reactions to testing the prototype of my newly redesigned app.

Kulwant Singh
Owner Operator

Juj Singh
Carrier Driver

Manvir Singh Dhanesar
Carrier Driver 

Key Findings

My field study uncovered several key findings that would reshape my design process:

Confusing Sign Up Process I identified that the signup process was a source of confusion for our users, indicating a need for a more streamlined onboarding experience.

Clarity Through Context I realized that some of our onboarding instructions could have been made clearer by providing context. This highlighted the importance of guiding users with relevant information.

Communication Preferences Drivers expressed a strong dislike for phone calls and instead preferred nonintrusive, asynchronous communication methods, emphasizing the need for effective communication channels.

Time Efficiency Drivers conveyed their frustration with long wait times, viewing it as an inefficient use of their valuable time. Many expressed a desire to spend more time with their families instead.

Backhaul Load Booking Drivers sought to avoid empty return trips and expressed a strong need for the ability to book backhaul loads efficiently.

Bigger Lessons

Beyond the product-specific findings, my ethnographic study imparted invaluable insights into broader themes:

Early Error Identification Taking my prototypes into the real world provided me with the opportunity to identify areas for improvement and rectify mistakes early in the design process, minimizing the risk of launching a less impactful product.

Team Alignment Involving team members from diverse disciplines, including leadership team, product managers, and engineers, ensured alignment, enriched our decision-making processes, and facilitated a shared understanding of our mission.

Universal Applicability My field study demonstrated the value of designing within context, applicable across various use cases and products. Whether designing for drivers, shippers, or operations teams, placing early prototypes in the hands of real users and stress-testing use cases proved effective in keeping end-users' needs at the forefront throughout the design process.

Design Process
Applying the Findings

Armed with the insights gained from my field study, I returned to my desk with renewed vigor. I meticulously remapped the app's flows to align with user expectations. The result? An improved app that not only met but exceeded user expectations, leading to enhanced user engagement.

Crafting the user journey map

Created Journey Maps and UX visualization to showcase the steps a driver takes from sign-up to load management to payments. Personas were created with information gathered from user interviews. The activity helped in identifying the most important functionality and needs of the drivers.

Design and Prototyping

User Flow Diagrams Created user flow diagrams to map out the steps involved in each process, ensuring a logical and intuitive app structure.

Wireframes Developed wireframes for each screen and interaction, focusing on simplicity and ease of use.

Interactive Prototypes Created interactive prototypes using ProtoPie, allowing for user testing and validation of the app's usability.

UI & UX Design
Seamless User Experience: Crafted for Ease and Elegance

The user interface of the app was meticulously crafted to prioritize user-friendliness, featuring a clean and intuitive layout that enhances usability. Throughout the design process, easily recognizable icons and intuitive navigation patterns were incorporated to ensure a seamless and effortless user experience. In order to establish a cohesive visual identity, a consistent brand color scheme and typography were carefully selected and applied, contributing to a unified and visually appealing aesthetic across the app's interface.

Effortless sign-up process

Streamlined sign-up process with minimal information required. Drivers can complete their profiles with essential details such as license, insurance, and contact information.

Searching for a load

Drivers can search for available loads based on location, distance, and cargo type. Load details include information about the facility, pickup/delivery times, and payment terms.

Viewing, booking or bidding on a load

Drivers can place bids on loads or directly book available loads. Drivers receive real-time notifications to inform about the status of their bids and bookings.

Managing booked loads

At any time users can manage their booked loads

Trip Management

The app offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide designed to assist drivers in efficiently managing their trips. This guide encompasses various aspects such as navigation, strategic fuel stops, and well-timed rest breaks, ensuring a smooth and optimized journey. Furthermore, the app seamlessly integrates GPS technology, providing drivers with real-time route updates and valuable checkin-in check-out information at facilities. 

Delivery confirmation and document upload

Within the app, drivers have the convenience of confirming the successful delivery of a load. Once the delivery is confirmed, automated notifications are promptly sent to the load provider, ensuring efficient communication. Additionally, drivers can easily upload essential delivery documents, including bills of lading and proof of delivery, directly through the app.

Unified User Experience for Desktop and Mobile Platforms

Established a uniform user experience for both desktop and mobile platforms. Desk-bound carriers and dispatchers favor larger screens to facilitate multitasking, while on-the-go drivers use the mobile app.

The in-context field studies proved invaluable to my design process, and I strongly encourage you to engage in contextual design; your users will thank you for it.


Increase in number of bids


On-time Pickup


On-time Dropoff


Carrier Signups

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