Designed app for the number one taxi service
40+ millions monthly
Revenue $500 m
How a fun idea turned into a beloved feature:
The 5-year journey of a simple pin design
In the dynamic world of the Yandex Taxi app, a tool that serves over 40 million people each month, I found an opportunity to make a small but powerful change.
As a designer on the product team, I was always on the lookout for ways to enhance our user's experience.
One quiet day at the end of 2018, I noticed something: our app's pin
This small icon, which users interact with to set their pickup and drop-off locations, seemed too static and lifeless.
It was a tiny, comma-shaped mark that didn't truly represent the vibrant interaction it was a part of.
Inspired to bring some life to the pin, I started reimagining it
I wanted to make it simple yet full of character, so I stripped it down to the basics: a circle for the head and a line for the body.
This new design gave the pin a more stable and balanced look.
Next, I thought about the pin as if it were a character in our app
What would it be like? How would it move?
It needed to be flexible, responsive, and have a sense of weight. I even gave it an eye, making it more relatable and lively.
With these ideas in mind, I began to animate the pin
I gave it the ability to blink, to react to the user's actions in the app. The pin would bounce lightly when the map moved and settle back down with a slight bounce when the movement stopped, casting a small shadow to give it a sense of presence.
Main app screen before changes
Main app screen after changes
Excited about the new animated pin, I shared it with my team
They loved it and we quickly got to work on turning this concept into a working prototype. Collaborating closely with developers, I tackled the challenges of bringing the animations to life.
My detailed explanations of how the animations should work helped the developers understand and implement them accurately.
When the prototype was ready, I presented it to the company's leadership
They were impressed with the fresh design and gave the green light to update our apps.
The new animated pin was a hit with users. It caught the attention of the tech media, too, which led to positive articles about our app's new feature.
I love maniacal attention to detail. Yandex.Taxi has some interesting interface updates coming up. It would seem - "Who will even notice it and why it is needed?", but it is the little things and "chips" that distinguish the good from the bushy.
For example, there is a new pin, which now bounces and "blinks". Another such detail - when moving the pin appeared a tiny shadow indicating the point where it will be attached. Previously there was some sharp corner without a soul.
— UX Live 🔥. Telegram channel
The new pin character in the Yandex.Taxi app is a delightful addition that brings a touch of whimsy to the travel experience.
Its interactive nature not only makes for an engaging user interface but also showcases the brand's commitment to innovation and user-friendly design.
— vc.ru. Tech media
Yandex.Taxi's latest update isn't just a step forward—it's a leap into a future where our digital experiences are as charming as they are functional.
The animated pin has become the app's friendly guide, turning an ordinary action into an extraordinary interaction.
— Cult of details. Telegram channel
A small idea, a big impact
This project may not have gone through the usual product cycles, but it was a heartfelt, enjoyable, and adorable experience.
The pin I created just for fun remained in the app, for over 5 years. This small change had a big impact, providing a delightful detail that users interacted with every time they opened the app.