Meet Lara: Your automated directions Assistant


#1

Hey guys!

We have created a bot named Lara. Lara can provide directions & fare quotes to assist commuters get from one point A to B hassle free.

Test Lara.ng out by saying “Hello”

Feedback is appreciated :slight_smile:


#2

Interesting. I like the idea. I believe this is your MVP of some sort, and you have plans for more integrations in the near future.

Based on that assumption, you’re probably already thinking about 2 things:

  1. Making it easier to request for directions, rather than having to type “I’m going from___ to___”. So you can just type in where you’re going, and then make users turn on their ‘location’ to find out where they need directions from. Like Google Maps.

  2. I honestly cannot remember the second point. It was important as well. But while we’re on the topic of Google Maps, don’t they do something like this? Idk. Oh yes!..I remember the point. You don’t seem to have driving directions on there yet. Any reasons why?


#3

Good idea but lots of work needed. The app should just work by typing


#4

You’re on to something good. Nice work. But as pointed out by others, a lot of work required ahead.

Oh, by the way, Lara.ng made me spend more on the transportation + I had to double back.

Osapa, Lekki to Lekki phase 1


#5

To your No.1 point, apparently just typing ‘from X to Y’ does the trick.

I think the idea is to have an interactive bot as opposed to ‘just an interface’ like Google Maps, so typing where you’re going an turning on location just may not work.


#6

This is beautiful! At first I thought “why would anyone bother to challenge Google maps?” But playing around with it now, I’m addicted. I can definitely see myself using this to get around! Amazing work with the fare estimation! Amazing work!


#7

Making the interface mimic WhatsApp, something users are already familiar with, was a brilliant touch.

Meanwhile… No show?


#8

Agreed :blush:, this is just the beginning for Lara. She’ll become even more interactive and is open to integration opportunities going forward. To your comments.

#1 - This already works on mobile. Click the location button, then enter your “To” location. Try it out.

#2 - Lara is exclusively a public transit solution, for now.
Also, we’ve worked on making Lara very interactive. Ask her: “Are you human?” How old are you? She even understands a bit of pidgin. Ask her: How far?

Thanks for the feedback! :thumbsup:


#9

Good catch Ikp! :thumbsup:
Direction results are regularly updated on the backend, thanks to great feedback like this. There’s a feedback form for users to update the dynamic directions and fare quotes Lara Provides. See link Here

Our goal is to stay up to date and make Lara very interactive, ask her “Where do you live?”

Thanks for the feedback!


#10

Thanks for the feedback @Obi_Ik Obi_Ik. :wink:

Challenging Google Maps sounds pretty audacious. Lara is more complementary than a competitor to Google. A lot of people use Public Transit daily, but direction and fare quote information is not available for those folks anywhere else, especially in cities with very fragmented public transit systems. Lara is simply an interactive solution to that problem, and we hope users come to trust her for their directions someday.

Do you know how old Lara is? Try asking her: “How old are you?”

Hello :slight_smile: @jamesorior
Thanks for the feedback. Comment seems incomplete.
Do expatiate further when you get a chance. We appreciate all the feedback we can get from you guys.

Thanks for the feedback! @Diakon.
Yes the Whatsapp move was intentional, a shameless one :smirk: ( It’s only temporary though). So Lara formerly resided on WhatsApp before she got shut down. This was just an easy way to get some 1000+ users/ numbers still familiar with the “jobs to be done”

As regards your “Nsukka to PH” Query, Good Catch! Lara only works in Lagos for now.
A more interactive response, letting users know they have asked outside her coverage area will be put to effect.

Thanks


#11

You know, using icons without explanation is mystery meat. Why not have the bot mention what that icon does?


#12

The little things:

  1. After typing (on pc) and hitting enter, it doesn’t submit. I have to go click the send button.

  2. Also “surulere to yaba” doesn’t work, got to add “from”. You may have to be more flexible, handle cases like surulere 2 yaba.

  3. Tried Abuja locations, didn’t work (yeah, I know, Lagos first), I hope you have plans to include an easy form of crowdsourcing. Some of your users might know more than Lara for some routes and there should be an easy way to add that data.


#13

Really loving this app, the interface is neat and simple. I just wish i did not have to type From X To Y. Can a comma be used to separate the locations eg Yaba,Surulere.

Please Oh, for the lazy people :blush:


#14

Good and clean design.

But, I pushed Lara and she tripped.


#15

Lara is learning to be even more interactive with her users. Through more interactions, she’ll be able to help users discover more of her abilities :slight_smile:.


#16

Thanks for the feedback :+1:@stigwue. To your comments:

1 - Good observation. Lara is working on becoming more desktop friendly. She was originally designed to help her users on the go, hence the bent towards mobile.

2 - Great point. Lara keeps expanding her understanding thanks to your feedback.

3 - Lara will be able to organically collect feedback through the chat interface. But for now, if you have feedback on directions or fares, you can enter them Here

Did you know Lara also recognizes places in addition to street addresses and areas in Lagos. Try out questions like_: “From ICM to Oando 4th roundabout Lekki”_

Good point @codenature .
Lara is learning the more she interacts more with user. As she expands her ability she will be able to provide multiple routes to the destination. Those options are available in greater detail on myRP.


#17

I would give this suggestion. when user search for say Yaba to Ikorodu. They get the list of attraction around the locations / routes that way you keep users interested and they can easily find things to do.

I am not in Nigeria but I bet if I come looking for things to do around could be difficult and looking into Lara I can find stuff to do

The app has potential but I just hope you will have the strength to carry on because if this app is not monetise you might get tired improving it.

Also I am not sure if you have through several prototyping iteration because most of the issues you have now would have bee spotted in your digital prototype development stage if you have done that part.

Also this should be a mobile only platform nothing like website.

About me: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyQXbyRo1f7U0iencd-MfkQ


#18

Great point @pehpeh :ok_hand:.

This shorthand would be super convenient for a lot of our users. As Lara learns from more interactions with users she will be able to understand even simpler queries.

About lazy shortcuts, did you know you could add Lara to your homescreen, so you could launch her without opening your browser. Learn how below:


#19

Cool, thanks


#20

I see, but your current model doesn’t encourage much interaction beyond the “I’m going to X from Y”. It’s essentially a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” situation.

Perhaps you could make it prompt the user “Where are you going?”, And then “Where are you using off from?”. That would be especially useful when someone gives an incomplete query, like in an example someone gave earlier. It parses and extracts the part it understands and then queries for more.