Design for On-Demand Cargo Delivery Apps: the Basics 

The constantly expanding takeover of the mobile technologies completely changed our lives in the 21st century. Among other spheres, it made a perceptible effect on our approach to the logistics and transportation industry. Along with everything else, it went on-demand bringing on the era of shipping companies boom. But these days, we don’t need to look through the directory to find ourselves the transportation service. All we need is one handy app installed on our smartphones.  

We already talked about on-demand food delivery applications, so today we want to continue the subject. Let’s see how to develop the on-demand cargo delivery apps that are so popular in the last couple of years. 

Cargo Delivery Apps: Why to Build and How to Use 

Such mobile products are your quickest way to connect with the logistics service providers. There is a huge sector of on-demand cargo delivery companies which offer their unique apps with the immaculate features. You can choose the vehicle type and payment option, ask for the urgent delivery and track your order from the pick up point till the finish line.  

But if the competition is high, then why should you invest in this idea? There are some reasons that suggest it’s worth developing an app for the on-demand shipping company. Here is a list of them:  

  1.  Users like convenience – a mobile product provides it. The whole landscape of opportunities is at our fingertips.  
  2.  Speed and reliability insurance – these apps will instantly find you a registered driver, track his location and the state of your cargo through all the way. At the same time, the cargo will be officially secured.  
  3.  Driver’s / courier’s 24/7 helper – an application gives the company’s workers all traffic information and  arranges the most effective routes. 
  4.  Portable supervising center – for big logistics services it’s important to manage their vehicle fleets, which is easier with mobile technologies.  
  5.  So many horizons for any software developer to open up – people will never stop buying and ordering things. You could develop an application that would change the game.

How to use an on-demand cargo delivery app? 

How to use an on-demand cargo delivery app? 

The answer is – pretty easy. The process is very similar to booking a cab or a bike courier. The user is asked to create an order:  

  1.  Fill the general data
  2.  Specify the pick up address of the cargo, delivery deadline, and destination
  3.  If there is an option, then select the type of vehicle
  4.  Point out dimensions of the cargo (type, size, weight)
  5.  Choose the way to make a payment.   

After the order is registered, a client will see an approximate delivery time along with other detailed information on the app’s screen. Done! Now, a customer can track the cargo’s journey till its very arrival at the needed address.  

As you see, these mobile apps are an interlink between the transportation organizations, their employees, and consumers. A couple taps on the smartphone screens – and you have yourself a safe trip for any type of freight to any destination point. In addition, there is a driver’s personal information that a mobile app gives users as the other safety measure.

6 Design Stages for the Cargo Delivery Apps 

How would your app impress customers and beat the other competitors? Well, it’s all about the best user interface and user experience your product could offer. As well as being reliable, trustworthy, and economical, an on-demand cargo delivery app must have a friendly easy-to-use UI and some specific features. 

Once you made a choice between iOS or Android platform, your goal is to ensure an app’s seamless functionality for both clients and drivers. Designing such a mobile product could be a pretty sophisticated task, but we’ll try to simplify it for you. 

Sprint №1 Defining the main components and screens

It’s often hard to sort out through the variety and decide what screens your app should have. Same goes for the functional components. But for the cargo delivery app, there are six most valuable elements that are essential, commonly used, and worth paying attention to. 

We’ll name those options for you to include in the application’s MVP

1. The list of delivery orders

A sortable list of orders represents the first screen. The enlisted information should be detailed and clear for users to understand. 

2. The delivery card

An individual card within the whole list that shows all important details about each particular delivery that was ordered. 

3. The delivery dashboard

Third screen that you see is a somewhat simplified version of the previous component. It appears when a customer and a service provider have negotiated every aspect of the order and initiated the delivery process. There are also the delivery status and the map of the route displayed on this dashboard. 

4. Delivery details

And here is everything you could specify about the order. It’s the next screen after a delivery card which includes such information: the client’s and driver’s names, final destination, offered price, order status, the category and description of the cargo. This screen changes regularly to show the current status of  delivery. 

5. Active deliveries

The screen provides a list of all deliveries that a user or driver has in progress. 

6. Quotes

All the delivery cards that have been accepted by a particular transportation company are listed here. 

These inter-connected components described above have one general purpose – to deal with the most complex interactions. However, the first place in the race of designing belongs to a delivery card section because of its huge effect on the UX. The bad quality design of the delivery card can ruin the whole app.  

So, what you should remember while developing a delivery card:

  • For the user’s convenience, the order’s info must be available to review in two ways: 1) a card form with only the essential details; 2) a separate screen that contains the fully detailed list of data.
  • Pay close attention to the level of detail you provide and the order in which the information will be presented on the screen.
  • Check out how a card interacts with other app screens. You need to make sure it works flawlessly.
  • Control the status of the order section – the card’s content has to change accordingly to the particular stage of delivery. 

Sprint №2 Important features to include

First of all, you need to provide the sharing features for drivers and clients to exchange their shipping info directly via the app. Aside from this, it’s necessary to include an option to filter the orders by the status of the cargo (sending or receiving, in-transit, at location, etc). Then, it’s important to have a barcode scanner with support for reputed transportation companies in the delivery app.

Vehicle Tracking

To ensure the proper set of features, your app should also contain the following:

  • cargo (order) tracker
  • driver tracker
  • vehicle tracker
  • delivery route optimizer 

Sprint №3 Building an order tracker

Any logistics service understands that its clients must be able to track the orders frequently. Therefore, to be a reliable cargo delivery app, it should provide regular updates on the shipment status. And how would you achieve that? The easiest way is through a delivery dashboard that shouldn’t have any unnecessary notifications or messages.

A user needs to see only relevant information on the dashboard’s visual display: status of orders, delivery routes, and communication tools to connect with a delivery team. The same goes for drivers as they should see the most important shipment details on the dashboard. 

So, when you build a tracker for order status it means that you offer the customers a comprehensive and clean dashboard with convenient access to all necessary delivery data. 

Sprint №4 Navigating through the user roles

When it comes to the cargo delivery app, it’s usually being used in three different ways by different types of customers. Let’s see what user roles you need to take into consideration:

  1. A driver – a transportation provider who takes the order and delivers the freight to a needed destination.
  2. A dispatcher who accepts all orders and delegates them to the transporters. An optional role that sometimes is omitted and the drivers accept a request for shipment directly from the app.
  3. A client – individuals or companies who are in need of delivery. 

Thus, all of these persons will check the app in specific conditions. Drivers are on the go most of the time, so it would be certainly a mobile device. And clients could place their orders in the desktop version of the application, then track its progress on mobile devices. As for the dispatchers, they initiate the process, so it might be both desktop and mobile gadgets.  

A developer ought to improve the navigation of all these roles in his cargo delivery app by making the main features accessible in a single click. It’s better to implement swiping gestures which are faster and convenient than traditional buttons. We usually advise building no more than four buttons in the tab bar to simplify the app’s operation. All secondary / irrelevant features should be placed under a “More” button. 

In a word, for this design stage of a cargo delivery application choose the minimalistic navigation system.  Avoid anything needless and distracting and use only relevant elements, some search options, and push notifications. 

Sprint №5 Picking the right size of the screens and elements’ location

Another important issue during the cargo delivery app designing is how to pick the right screens’ size and the elements’ location on them. Our experience has proven that the appropriate usage of the screen’s free space and big buttons can significantly enhance the user experience. It eases the navigation process and provides a good level of accessibility.

To accomplish this goal, we use the heat maps that help us to pick the suitable parameters. Such maps show exactly which areas of the screen are easily accessible, and where the users would have to make a stretch. 

Using a delivery app, the driver wants no distraction if possible, so you have to ensure that the space is ample enough and allows no room for mistakes. The wrong screen size could lead to the terrible consequences like an unwillingly deleted /accepted order or a changed status. How can a developer avoid this? Well, by implementing a feature of the additional dialogue box that would pop-up with a request for a user to confirm his actions.  

Sprint №6 Keeping in mind daytime and nighttime design

We all know that cargoes are being delivered 24 hours a day and in all kinds of weather conditions. That’s why your app has to be adjustable to all the regimes – daylight or night darkness. According to the time of day and the level of ambient light, the delivery application’s screen should be bright or a bit diluted so it wouldn’t blind users. Alternate color schemes are successfully tested in the car, planes, and boats navigators.

Afterword

Afterword 

It was just a basic tutorial, you could do so much more to create a unique cargo delivery app. To look for ideas and some inspiration, check out this list of the most promising startups in logistics. See what they’re offering and how you can follow their examples. Keep in mind that a cargo delivery application should be more detailed on the client side and offer a thorough delivery card for drivers.  

And once you’ve built your app, it’s absolutely necessary to beta test it before the launch to find and fix some bugs. In order to do so, give the product to all categories of users: drivers, dispatchers, and clients. Gather their feedback and check the analytics to see if the cargo app operates flawlessly and how all its functions works.

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