Project: London Taxi Meter

I had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people who were exceptionally talented at their craft, at the mobile digital agency – Conjure Ltd, where I built my first Android application, namely the London Taxi Meter.

I commenced my internship in the summer of 2011 during which I spent countless of hours developing the London Taxi Meter app. Being the sole Android developer at Conjure at the time had its advantages – which meant that I didn’t have to worry about someone else editing my code base and its disadvantages that I didn’t have a partner to practice some pair programming (something that I’d love to do more often). The app would eventually land on the Evening Standard’s “Essential Apps in the Capital” list, a proud moment for myself – even more so being my first Android app. Android and its fragmented ecosystem was difficult for me to adapt to in the beginning but artificial selection took its course and set me on the right path, after many sleepiness nights of coding and lots of coffee. It was not so much the functional part of the application that took the best out of me, but the countless adjustments of the user interface that needed to be done in order to have a visually good looking UI and consistent UX across different Android devices with different hardware and software specifics. Thinking about it now, the app’s main objective was to:

  1. Use the phone’s GPS sensor to identify the user’s current location
  2. Allow the user to enter a destination location (street name/zip code) and/or departure location. 
  3. Calculate the approximate shortest distance between the two locations and the time it would take to cover such path using an automobile – using Google’s Mapping service.
  4. Calculate the black cab taxi fare according to the tfl.gov.uk taxi tariffs. 
  5. And present the whole information to the user.

Pretty much straightforward!

Straightforward, if you leave out number 5 that is. London Taxi Meter, uses a heavy customised UI which understandably took most of my summer time. (Google owes me a full summer – an internship would do (Thanks :D)). The app has been downloaded by more than 3000 users since it was first published in August 2011 on the then Android Market (now Google Play). You can check it out under the following link (don’t mind the 1 start ratings – they’re from jealous competitors): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.conjure.LondonTaxiMeterLuckily, I integrated Flurry analytics in this app which means that you get to see some statistics in terms of the types of users, including demographics, and devices that tend to use an app like London Taxi Meter.

Fig 1. illustrates the age distribution of users of the London Taxi Meter app. I have not set the flurry agent to gather age data from the app. Therefore, the following age distribution statistics is an estimate established by Flurry using phone information gathered from 652 users.

Fig 1. Age Distribution

Fig 2. illustrates the dominance of the male gender in terms of usage over the female gender. An indication that male travellers tend to use mobile technology to help out with their taxi journey more than females.

Fig 2. Gender

The following statistics show the usage in terms of numbers of new users according to continent/region. Interestingly enough, the Middle East outnumbers Oceania, Africa, and South America, and shows an incredibly close statistic with that of North America. Obviously, this is an app for usage in London only. Which could mean two things:

It is either being used by people who show an interest in assisting their local taxi journeys or it is being used by people who are planning to travel to London.

  • North America: 100
  • South America: 16
  • Europe: 2692
  • Africa: 20
  • Oceania: 25
  • Asia: 143
  • Middle East: 92

The following figure illustrates users by persona. Among the top users we have:

  • Business Travelers
  • Social Influencerse
  • Bookworms

Just below that we have the secondary range of users who are either:

  • Entertainment Enthusiasts
  • Casual & Social Gamers
  • News & Magazine Readers
  • Value shoppers
  • Sports fans
  • Catalog Shoppers

Fig 3. Users by Persona

Undeniably, the travel industry is here to stay and flourish even further. It is currently being disrupted by such companies as Hailo (“…to get a black cab wherever you are, whenever you want..”) and Uber (” … your on-demand private driver. Request a ride at any time using our iPhone and Android apps…”).

What’s the next evolutionary step ? Keep coming back at my blog for future posts on this subject!

Many thanks for reading!

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