99 and DiDi localization

DiDi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobile transportation platform, acquired 99 to expand within the Latin America’s market. Their goal was to have all the passengers integrated into one platform, which meant we would replace the 99 app by the solution used in China. Their product was very well was designed for their market but quite different from what the Brazillian users were available. In this project, we investigated how to localize and adapt their solution to our users.


Before moving forward with this integration, we investigated how our Brazilians users reacted to a solution created for such a different market and which changes we should design for a smooth launch.


User testing: The highlight of this project was user testing with simulated a scenario as similar to real-life as possible. It was a live product that aimed to replace our already established solution and would change our users' experience from onboarding to trip review. With that in mind, I worked with the other two designers on the passenger team to propose a way to capture this new journey.

One of our users interacting with the app

Our idea was to try an "in-car" test for the first time. We had never reproduced a realistic environment on a research project in 99 before, so it was an exciting prospect. The main challenge was to plan it in a way where the user felt comfortable, but we could also observe and record the interactions.

We invited five users to join us in this experiment. Before they boarded the car, we met them in our headquarters' for the project's first phase, where our moderator, Abraão, would ask some questions while I observed and took notes. From there, the user would start the main journey by choosing a car and waiting for its arrival.

Layout that we used for the car

Moving forward, we would board the car with the user and keep asking questions about their overall experience. We chose a spacious car and laid out beforehand where the team members would sit according to their roles in the test to allow minimal interference. In the car, we prompted the user to try different features offered in-ride, like changing payment methods, messaging, and virtual taximeter.

Results analysis and proposed solutions

Observing the users inside the car was crucial to identify issues that manifested themselves more clearly with real situations. Afterward, we got together in a room to digest these issues, prioritize them, and sketch solutions.

Co-creation session with the PAX team, Gustavo Rodriguez, Abraão Corazza, and myself

The two main points of friction were:

1. Virtual taximeter and final cost perception

One of the reasons our users liked to use transportation apps was a preference to have the price agreed beforehand. DiDi had a concept of a virtual taximeter that updated the cost as you go. Our users felt anxious and kept looking at this price during the ride.

Another detail that didn’t sit right was the final price summary. When the ride ended, the driver review block covered it, confusing the users.

Old 99 driver profile New 99 driver profile
Virtual taximeter old experience Final price old experience

2. Driver on the way UI

The interface that the user sees while waiting for their driver had improvement opportunities:

  • The size of the elements worked well for Mandarin characters, the language they were designed for, but it had issues with Portuguese.
  • The driver information was not as prominent as our users desired. We’ve seen in the previous project that it was important for our passengers to have their driver and car’s information laid out clearly for safety and trust reasons. Talking to DiDi’s UX team, it seemed that it was not an issue for Chinese users, so it’s an interesting cultural variation.

To improve these friction points, we proposed removing the taximeter and joining the review block with the price summary. We also proposed other various changes regarding the driver information, the size of UI elements, and the copy of action items.

Final prototype of our design

Thanks for reading! If you want to say hi, feel free to drop me a line at may.vendramim@gmail.com or contact me through the social sites listed below :)