Designing for labour: Uber and the on-demand mobile workforce

Apps allowing passengers to hail and pay for taxi service on their phone- such as Uber and Lyft-have affected the livelihood of thousands of workers worldwide. In this paper we draw on interviews with traditional taxi drivers, rideshare drivers and passengers in London and San Francisco to understand how ride-sharing transforms the taxi business. With Uber, the app not only manages the allocation of work, but is directly involved in `labour issues': changing the labour conditions of the work itself. We document how Uber driving demands new skills such as emotional labour, while increasing worker flexibility. We discuss how the design of new technology is also about creating new labour opportunities jobs and how we might think about our responsibilities in designing these labour relations.

Glöss, M., McGregor, M. and Brown, B. (2016), 'Designing for labour: Uber and the on-demand mobile workforce', 34th Annual Chi Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 7-12 May 2016, San Jose, California, United States.


  • Research publication, Case study-worker
  • United States
  • Yes
  • transport
  • On-location platform-determined routine work
  • Uber, Lyft
  • autonomy, flexibility and control, work content, platform characteristics
  • English
  • Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • 2016
  • Subscription
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