Challenge 19 of 52: Regular Taxi vs Uber vs MyTeksi

What do users want? Fast, cheap, and safe mode of transportation. What choice do they have now? They have regular taxis, taxis augmented by MyTeksi and UberX.

Regular Taxis
Truth to be told, taxis are a regular punching bag. The chief complaint is wildly inconsistent service. The car condition can range from super clean to intoxicating kretek smoking den; charge by the meter to arbitarily exorbitant charges; polite professional drivers to downright criminals.

It’s tempting to lump all these taxi drivers into one category but the reality is they come from all walks of life. On one hand there’s people who work as taxi drivers as last resort, some are just part-timers (including civil servants!). On the other extreme, there’s ex-top civil officials (ie; JKR Engineers) who drive taxis to fill their time and genuinely seek to serve people post-retirement.


MyTeksi seems to smooth out the wild inconsistencies in taxi service. So far, I’m yet to find a rude MyTeksi driver. They are a pleasant bunch of drivers. In fact, I found one of the most professional driver ever through MyTeksi.

However there’s still some inconsistencies such as whether who should pay for the booking fee — some choose to absorb it while some pass the cost to the passenger. Other than that; we can expect that the drivers charge according to the meter, dress decently and drive safely.

In short, taxi service as spelled out in government regulations.


The first ride with UberX is in a brand-new MyVi. No idea whether it is owned by Uber or the driver, forgot to ask. The ride is from Avenue K to IKEA with a young male driver and the total charge is RM18. The small car strained a bit climbing hilly highways but overall experience is still good.

Only when I came back from IKEA with a taxi I realized a critical difference — UberX uses SmartTag lane while taxis are still bound to cash lanes. This create a remarkable difference in experience as it shaves off precious minutes. Imagine how valuable it is when you are chasing a bus trip or an important meeting.

That was before SPAD issue any statement so to be thorough another round is required.

As for the second ride the app informed me that I’m getting a Mini Countryman. Wow! But then a Nissan Teana came along and picked me up from Low Yat Plaza to KLCC. The car clearly have a limousine license and the driver is an ex-VIP driver who is bored chauffering them to the same place.

The icing on the cake for UberX is there’s no need to whip out my wallet and fumbling with small change. So you can focus on getting your stuff out from the car and whatever you wanted to do next.

Thoughts on Related Issues
No Internet?
Tough luck, IKEA was super congested on Merdeka weekend so no Internet service. I can’t hail UberX nor MyTeksi. Even though the signal indicator shows full strength with 3G all packets get dropped and I have to wait until the crowd disperse before able to use either app.


This is the bane of any kind of centralized commercial clout. Uber’s algorithm can automatically drive the price up when the demand is high. On the other hand, taxi drivers at bottlenecks such as train stations and bus stations form mini-cartels to impose an all time arbitary surge pricing.

Credit Card
Uber requires credit card and that might be a deal breaker for many. They fear unauthorized usage or over-charge. Uber has mistakenly over-charged me once but later promptly refunded in the form of ride credit. Recent survey by Nielsen indicates that more than half of Malaysian respondents (55%) say they are either hesitant or would not shop online and use their payment card details on either a smartphone or tablet device although their personal information is protected.

Note: This is a part of my take on Uber vs Malaysian authorities showdown. It was originally published on Medium and later syndicated by TechInAsia.

Challenge 18 of 52: Medical Lab Result

Somehow, jaundice is a surety for newborn these days. As parents, suddenly you are facing new numbers and measurements associated with it. Concerned grandparents, family and friends will ask about the jaundice level which is actually the bilirubin level.

Yes, the medical lab result spell out the bilirubin level and the ideal range but it can be hard to fathom. The ideal range change according to the age of the baby and it can be hard for parents to understand the severity of the condition. One need to really squint and read between the lines to put the data given in perspective.

The medical lab result could use some graphical upgrade to give better perspective and understanding to the parents. It can display the result in bar graph that show the current reading in relation with the ideal range. Thus, parents can see whether they are near the ideal range or not.

As there's multiple test done in an admission, the result should also combine the readings. This will better show the progress of the condition and give an indication when the baby can be discharged.

Challenge 17 of 52: Safety Baby Bath Tub

When you become a father, suddenly there's so many things to keep an eye on. Things that we took for granted can be downright dangerous (and fatal) to newborns. This is true even for routine task such as bathing the baby.

The recommended practice is to fill the bath tub with cool water first before finally adding the hot water. Only then we start to bathe the baby. But then, general inexperience plus sleep deprivation can make you forgot the standard practice.

Looking at the IKEA bath tub we had, the green lines grabbed my attention. It already play a role in safety by preventing the bath tub from slipping. It'll be better if it can indicate the water temperature - green for ideal temperature, blue for too cold and red for too hot. I'm sure it'll be a hot product among new parents!

Challenge 16 0f 52: TV Input UI

Taking early paternal leave made me sort of a TV junkie. As I also cleared my schedule from meetings and projects, suddenly I find myself spending much more time in front of TV. Naturally, I spotted a few things to improve about the device UI.

With so many set-top boxes connected to the TV, figuring out the connection can be a daunting task. Physically, there's so many ports and there's no clear label. Many are only labelled with embossed plastic text which is hard to read since it's the same color as the device. The solution should be bright color-coded label to mark all the various ports

Once connected to the TV, the UI is not helpful either. The on-screen label simply says HDMI 1, HDMI 2, and so on. It's certainly not very helpful for most user. The UI should be more proactive by asking the user what is the connected to each port when a new connection is made. Certainly it's not that hard to provide soft label for DVD, Blu-Ray, Cable, Laptop, Game and so on.

Even better, the TV can have a connection map screen in the menu. It will display all the devices that is currently connected to the TV according to the physical location of the ports.

Challege 15 of 52: Electrical Appliance Remote Control

For an interface that we use every day, electrical appliance remote control is an annoying lot. There's too many button, uncomfortable shape and ambigous label. But then, the most annoying part is the connection between the remote and the appliance itself.

Infrared remote control is a technology is a technology that is older than myself - antic in term of gadget age. The biggest drawback of this connection is that it requires clear line of sight. These days, with cramped living room and odd corners it's quite a hard reach.

There's not much problem for TV, but set top boxes are routinely obscured by other furnitures or other trinkets that line the cupboard. It's even worse for air-conditioner unit which usually end up in a corner that don't have clear line of sight from the bed or couch.

So, what's the solution? Bluetooth seems like a good candidate. Phones have generally replaced IR with Bluetooth for the past few years. It's a shame that remote controls didn't follow suit. However, pairing procedure can be rather frustrating and the phelotra of bluetooth services in the protocol make it harder still.

Combining Bluetooth with NFC can be a star combination. Just tap the remote with the device and it will seamlessly pair the two. It will be handy when you need to borrow the remote and use it with another device. After all, remote controls do have a bad habit of hiding themselves.

Challenge 14 of 52: Laptop Sleeve

Let's start with a basic laptop sleeve. I reckon many people are already familiar with this. Some have zippers, flaps or buttons to secure the content. However, that's not my concern today. I'm fairly dissatisfied with the current design since it doesn't factor in the usual usage.

Laptops rarely works alone, at least it must have power adaptor to achieve a meaningful working time. External hard disks, mobile hotspots are also the usual suspects. However, laptop sleeves usually didn't have any decent place for them. Some user just jam those stuffs into the sleeve anyway and create an unisghtly bulge. Not to mention the risk of scratching the precious stuffs inside.
My proposed solution is simple, just have one strap on the sleeve. This will allow accessory pouches to be attached securely. Perhaps some user will crowd the strap and make it look like Batman's utility belt but I just want one pouch to put my power adapter.

Challenge 13 of 52: Chatime Menu

Sometimes, UX problem crops up due to the pace of innovation. This grotesque menu is the victim of Chatime's success in creating so many variation of beverages. The dense menu is frankly intimidating to new customers and made old customers stick to whatever drink they tasted before. That's a waste since it will discourage new customers and make it difficult to increase revenue per customer.

Personally, I hesitated several time before buying anything from Chatime until I'm guided by a friend who patronized Chatime in Australia before. Even that he sticks from whatever he bought before and I only picked among the featured drinks. I consider myself fairly adventurous when it come to food and drinks so Chatime barrier seems disporpotionately high.

There's some visual hierarchy in this menu. The top bar features flagship drinks and this is a saving feature. Customers usually just order from the featured line. But then, more adventurous customers and those who don't like any of the feature drinks will have a hard time navigating the ala-carte menu.

A clear visual hierachy is missing here, choice of drinks and their personalization options sits on the same level and only separated by different color blocks. This is a stark contrast to Subway's logical layout that guides customers step-by-step; from bread, filling, cheese, condiments, sauces and sides.
Thus, a better menu design should guide the customers step-by-step. From the base drink, to sugar and ice options. Finally, the upsell to toppings. This should make it easier for new and old customers alike.

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