Usability Evaluation: LYFT VS UBER

A usability evaluation of two widely used mobile applications.


The purpose of this study was to compare the usability of two transportation network company (TNC) applications, Lyft and Uber, through a summative evaluation. In this study, participants were provided a task of booking a ride from a particular source address to a particular destination address for a specified number of people. The results were evaluated based on performance metrics such task success, time on tasks, errors and self-reported measures.

Why Uber and Lyft?

We chose Lyft and Uber as these two systems are the two most popular and widely available TNCs in the Unites States. Usability of these applications would be an important factor to consider while comparing the two companies as users are bound to make errors as they typically use the application on the go. Also, both Uber and Lyft are free to download from the android play store and apple store which allure users to try out the application, creating a huge userbase. As both these systems are fairly new, there is a definite scope for improving the usability and user experience.


Task: To request a ride to the Sunnyvale Caltrain Station from Santa Clara Caltrain Station for 6 people.

Participants: We recruited 22 participants via email and in person and made sure to they were from diverse backgrounds with varied technological proficiency. Participants age group ranged from 18 to 50 and included Santa Clara University undergraduate and graduate students as well as working adults.

Location and duration: All usability evaluations were conducted in the Santa Clara University Library. The lab studies were conducted over the span of one week.


We asked 22 participants a set of 12 questions after they completed performing the task on each of the application. We recorded their responses using 'likert' scale with the help of Google forms. The questions asked to participants were as follows

1. How often do you use this application?
2. How likely is it that you would recommend this app to a friend or colleague?
3. I think that I would like to use this app frequently.
4. I found the app unnecessarily complex.
5. I thought the app was easy to use.
6. I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this app.
7. I found the various functions in this app were well integrated.
8. I thought there was too much inconsistency in this app.
9. I would imagine that most people would learn to use this app very quickly.
10. I found the app very cumbersome to use.
11. I felt very confident using the app.
12. I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this app.


By analyzing both self-reported measures and performance metrics, we aimed to assess and compare two key user goals, which are user performance and user satisfaction with Uber and Lyft. Performance metrics included
1. Task success
2. Time on task
3. Number of errors
4. Efficiency
5. Learnability

Self-Reported Measures: The results of both post-task surveys, which assessed self-reported usability measures, are presented below.

Efficiency, which is the amount of effort necessary to complete the task, was measured by finding the ratio of the task completion rate to the average time on task. A comparison of the efficiency of Uber and Lyft for the specified task is given below.


This usability study was conducted in February-March 2016. Both Uber and lyft release UI and feature updates almost once a month on android and IOS devices. Based on the data collected and the usability measures evaluated, it seems that Lyft is more usable than Uber.

Contact me if you are interested in reading the complete usability report.

Duration: 5 weeks, Feb 2016 - March 2016
Team: Amanda Holl, Spandana Namburu, Ketan Rajput, Manoj Sanda and Nayandeep Vemula
User research techniques: Interviews, Surveys, Lab studies, Usability evaluation
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