Every day, the world’s 3 million Uber drivers spend 8.5 million hours logged into the ride-hailing company’s app. That’s roughly 1,000 years of Uber driving packed into any given 24 hours.
Because of this tremendous scale, Uber is the most important test case for the gig economy, the new economic arrangement where contract workers are arranged into a cohesive labor force by software. There are many companies that share Uber’s controversial approach to doling out work, but none has amassed 3 million people who use the service to try to make money. Never before has an app’s design been so important to so many people.
The Uber app is the drivers’ workplace, as much as the city where they’re driving is. Each decision about its interface structures drivers’ interactions with Uber the company as well as Uber the transportation marketplace. And Uber is now putting the finishing touches on a from-scratch rebuild of the driver app.
The new build of the app draws on technological components of the new rider app, which launched last year. But creating something for drivers is different. An Uber rider needs an app that’s simple and fast; drivers’ experience of the app is much deeper.
The new version will begin rolling out in the next few weeks, and in an interview with The Atlantic, Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said it embodies the new, kinder Uber. Hundreds of drivers were involved in providing detailed ideas and feedback about how the app should work.