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© 2023 Emamuzo Okerri

  • 2021

Designing Nigeria’s first P2P car rental mobile application

Planning the project

I started by reviewing the requirement document provided by the client. Based on that, I defined the project’s primary goal– to “Develop a product like Turo but suitable for the Nigerian market”. To achieve this goal in the most efficient way possible, I split the project into three phases.

  1. Discovery: comprising select research methods and data analysis methods.
  2. Design: focused on developing a suitable solution to identified problems, developing the user interface and interaction designs, and testing its usability.
  3. Handoff: focused on developing a component library, style guide, and other things that make it easy for engineers to consume the final designs.

Aligning my plans, as the product designer, with the overall project plan posed a bit of a challenge. However, after some meetings and deliberations with the project manager, product manager, and engineering leads, we came up with an approach that satisfies both Agile Methodology and Human-Centered Design (HCD).

Infographics of adopted development process

Gathering and processing the data

In this phase, I started by performing literature reviews on the documents provided by the client as well as scheduling stakeholder interviews with the product manager and client to gather ample information about the proposed target users and the problem space the product is aimed at. The information gathered helped me identify market segments, which I used as a guide in preparing screener survey questions to select participants for user interviews.

User interviews

The plan was to recruit 10 participants, of which 4 of the 10 recruits were a contingency plan in case there were any “no-shows”. Eventually, 8 participants were recruited in total. Out of which 3 were “no-shows”.

Questions for the interviews followed a semi-structured pattern. Enabling me to have an open-ended discussion with each participant.

Analyzing the data

I started the process by transcribing the interview recordings. Then read through each transcript a couple of times while highlighting common themes across each document. I then moved this information into Miro, where I was able to identify commonalities in the participants’ responses and grouped them into segments. At the end of this process, I gathered interesting insights into the needs, frustrations, and excitements users might have while engaging with the product.

Based on the gathered insights, I identified 3 classes of users in the renter category and 2 classes of users in the host category (those renting out their cars) outlining their goals, needs, and frustrations. To wrap things up, I went ahead to develop a journey map for each of the developed user personas.

User journey maps for each category of users

Designing the product

To start the design phase, I went ahead to find solutions to the problems uncovered. Among the uncovered problems, one stood out to be a significant reason users might abandon or engage less with the product. The statement below, by one of the research participants, was common across all participants and revealed where I needed to put my focus.

” I’ve actually thought about renting my car out when I’m out of town. But omo! For Nigeria wey e hard to trust person, how do I know that my car is safe and will come back to me in good condition?”

Trust being the keyword, I focused on designing an experience that made users confident that they do not get defrauded or end up losing their cars. After going through a couple of ideas in collaboration with the product manager and client, we came up with a solution that seemed feasible and suitable for the target users.

I then went ahead to develop a report comprising the insights gathered from the discovery phase, the solutions we came up with, and a document outlining the modules and features. I shared these documents with the team (product manager and engineering team) for review and feasibility assessment. After approval was received, I moved on to developing interactive wireframes for early-stage usability testing.

Wireframes and early-stage usability testing

Knowing that a user can offer his/her car up for rent in one location as well as rent a car when in another location, I concluded that giving users the chance to perform both activities in a single application will be the way to go. To evaluate my conclusion, I developed an interactive wireframe of the product, which was used for early-stage usability testing.

Wireframes for car renting flow
Wireframes for car listing flow

Marketplace module

The goal of the marketplace is to enable users to easily find the right car for their needs. To achieve this, I focused on designing the search and filter feature to mimic the users’ mental model.

Based on insights from the discovery phase, the mental model followed a general structure – city, date/time, and every other thing (personal preferences). Considering this, I split the search and filter feature into primary and secondary levels.

The primary level comprised of three stages. The first stage was designed to allow users to search for the location where they’ll be needing to rent a car. The second stage filtered available cars within the selected location by the user’s specified date/time. While the third stage gave users the option of choosing to rent a car with a driver of without one.

The secondary level is designed to allow users to filter results from the primary level based on their personal preferences. The user can select from items like car brand, model, year, etc.

Primary search
Secondary search


As stated earlier, one of the main issues I found during my discovery was the lack of trust. To design a system that fosters trust, the booking management system had to be a two-way communication system that allowed both parties (the user putting their cars up for rent and the user renting a car) to decide if they want to go into business with each other. To support this autonomy, a review feature, for both users, was added in order to help both parties decide.

Booking interactions for renters
Booking interactions for hosts

To help reduce the possibility of either party defrauding the other, a pre-engagement and post-engagement process was introduced. This process was designed to enable users renting a car to verify and confirm what they are getting at the collection point. While allowing users who put their cars up for rent to verify that their car is returned in good condition and at the agreed date/time. In a case where either party is not satisfied, a dispute can be raised using the dispute and claims feature.

Listings module

My goal while designing this module was to provide users with a short and simple way to list their cars on the market. The amount of information that needed to be collected for each listing was quite a lot. Therefore, to help reduce friction and user drop-off, I split the data collection process into three phases. The first phase had four stages and was designed to collect preliminary data about the car being listed and verify the identity of the user listing the car.

Interactions for listing a vehicle for approval

The second phase is an internal process of verification and approval of new listings by the admin. While the third phase is designed to improve the listing’s competitive advantage in the market.

Interactions for publishing an approved vehicle

Handling Payments

Still, on the topic of trust, managing payments was a crucial part of the design. The question was-

“How do we manage payments in a way that ensures losses are kept to the bare minimum?”

The solution was to use an escrow system. The design followed a simple three-phase process. Where the business (Movearound) acted as the middleman.

Using the three-phase process – initiate (the renter initiates a payment transaction), hold (funds are received by the platform and held until the rental period is over) and disburse (the platform sends funds to the host) – enabled the platform to better manage cases of dispute when raised by either party. For a transaction to be successful and tagged closed, both parties have to sign off on it.

Design hand-off

To help the team achieve its efficiency and time management goals, I passed approved designs to the engineering team modularly. This approach led me to adopt a different method of preparing component libraries, design documentation, and style guides. Getting inspiration from the CICD (Continuous Integration Continuous Development) approach of engineering, I followed a chronicling method where the style guide and component library was continuously updated as the project progressed.

Lessons and conclusion

The most important lessons I learned from this project were communication and the ability to modify my design process to accommodate the rest of the team and their processes. Also, I learned how much design, engineering, business, marketing, and project management teams are dependent on each other for the success of a product.

At the end of the project, we recorded an impressive turnaround of hosts. However, it turned out that the Nigerian market isn’t ready for P2P car rentals, due to economic instability and that Nigeria has more of its population in the lower class than in the middle and upper class. Making car rentals too much of a luxury.

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