Alphero 36 Drive Go

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Annabel Wennekes
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Matt Harrop
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Ryan Gallagher, Ed Eloiart
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Darian Lawrie, Nandika Weerasuriya, Ilia Kopylov, Andrew Ritchie
  • Client
    Waka Kotahi

When Drive Go, New Zealand's first learn-to-drive app was released in 2019 by Waka Kotahi and ACC, it was deemed best practice in structured learning. ACC evidence shows improved driving skills, with links to reduced fatalities from Drive programme participants.

When we proactively analysed the engagement data for the app however, we discovered that in every area those users strongly skewed female. While it was clearly succeeding with young women, we wanted to ensure it was resonating more effectively with the demographic responsible for 25% of serious crashes on New Zealand roads - young male drivers aged 15-24.

At the same time as we uncovered these findings, Waka Kotahi was undergoing a major shift in organisational strategy - establishing their ambitious ‘Road to Zero’ plan to drastically improve road safety in NZ by 2030.

To support this, and better connect with young male drivers as the primary personas, we undertook a fundamental redesign of the Drive Go app.

We started by reviewing learning styles and user habits, analysing data around crash statistics and safety factors, and co-designing in workshops with teenage boys who were handpicked to fit the target profile.

Through research we uncovered the value systems, learning processes, and preferred visual styles of this target demographic.

We discovered that young male drivers were goal-oriented and wanted to clearly see their progress so we began by visualising their movement through the app as progressing along a road, to enhance emotional engagement and motivation.

We learned that they needed to be rewarded earlier in order to stay engaged so we stacked the rewards upfront to incentivise repeat use, using visuals, names and language that reflected their favourite games.

We also found out that the expected 120 hours of driving practice was unlikely to be achieved, so we reordered learning modules in the app in order to prioritise skills most likely to help prevent accidents. We also modified the order of skills depending on whether users were city or rural drivers. Based on their feedback, we made the system for rating their skills after each drive simpler and more intuitive.

Brand experience was paramount, and the team took every opportunity to inject emotion and heart into the interface. We listened to users’ preferences and created angular, graphic cut-out style imagery with bold punchy colours and a complete set of award badges referencing pop culture with a New Zealand flare. We took a free-form approach to interface design, breaking out of the structured approach of cards and carousels, and included animations throughout the app, from large-scale rewards to flashes of interest at every corner.

Drive Go 2.1 is a highly creative solution with gamification principles and styles incorporated at every level. Each design decision is backed by evidence and strongly validated with young male drivers.

Drive Go 2.1 is now well positioned to engage and encourage all learners to become better, safer drivers on our nation’s roads.