UX Design steps: Project MeetUp.com

I had the opportunity to work on a team project, creating a new feature on MeetUp.com. 

First, we talked about our strengths, work process, and what we wanted to accomplish as a team and individuals in this project. Then, we prioritized and kept very clear what was the project goal and opportunities.

Once all these aspects were confirm, I create the project plan to delegate responsibilities and roles to each member.

Opportunities:

  • Currently, organizers are responsible for finding and booking spaces on their own
  • Companies with spaces available have to organize their own Meetups or contact organizers outside of Meetup

Goal

  • Increase the ability of organizers and hosts to find one another
  • Allow hosts to promote their spaces and attract Meetup organizers
  • Allow hosts and organizers to get in touch, coordinate, and book spaces for Meetup events

Research Methods

We used the following methods to define our personas, find new features, design solutions and create a prototype:

  1. - Discovery and Research
    -
    Competitive/comparative analysis
    - Surveys
    - User research
    - Personas
  2. - Sketching and Ideation
    - User stories and storyboards
    - Multiple possible designs
  3. - Narrowing Scope and Structure
    -
    User flows 
    - Wireframes and sketches
  4. - Prototyping and Testing
    - Prototype
    - Usability testing and results
    - Prototype iterations
    - Final prototype

Let me walk you through our work process: 1.- Discovery and Research

Competitive/ Comparative analysis

Feature Comparison

By analyzing different websites and their flows we could find other competitor best practices and use their features as a guide to understand people needs and create our features.

Feature comparison. Each team member analyzed one MeetUp competitor.

We found the lack of features in Meetup for venues and ways to communicate between venue and organizers.

Facebook was the most complete platform to organized an event.

Heuristic Evaluation

This rule of thumb evaluation help us to understand MeetUp user flows. The website is clear and user friendly, but with the absence of Venue features, it was important to understand the user flows of other website. Facebook again is very easy to understand, navigate, and user friendly.

Heuristic Evaluation: MeetUp, CitySocializer, Eventbrite and Facebook.

SURVEY

The objective was to identify hosts and organizers. Classified them in groups as personas, and understand their behaviors, needs, pleasures and pain points. We conducted a screener: 17 were selected.

Our selected participants were directed to their respective survey.

We created two survey: one for organizers, one for hosts. 
To define:

  • Communication ways between organizers and hosts
  • How people contact venues and promote events
  • How venues promote themselves
  • Communication tools between organizer/ host to attendees
  • Main requirements that organizers and venues expect from each other
Topic map based in our findings after survey.

Survey Findings

  • 6 of our participants use an online platform to organize their events
  • Participants look for venues based on recommendations (word of mouth)
  • Participants googled the venue
  • Participants use more Facebook than other platforms to invite people to parties or events
  • Organizers: need venues with good location and the amenities for their event
  • Venue provider/ Host: need to know if the organizer is going to respect the location, and if they have interests in common

USER RESEARCH

Interviews

We followed up the surveys and conducted 10 interviews in person and on-phone to people between mid-20’s and mid- 40’s. they were restaurant owners, event planners, promoters, and individuals.

Interview to an individual. Jocelyn likes to organize parties. Team: Matt and Juan where taking notes, while I was conducting the interview.

At this point, was important to understand in depth:

  • Confirm the process of organizing an event
  • Confirm how people look for and contact venues
  • How people promote their events and send invites
  • Know how important are some requirements over other ones

Interview Findings: Affinity Diagram

To look clearly at the patterns, we organized the interviewees information by grouping them by similarities. We confirmed the following:

post it Affinity Diagram, helped us to find similarities between interviewers.
  • Most common events: Business events and parties
  • Organizers are: Individuals for personal events, and professionals for business events
  • Hosts are: Venue owners, or people looking constantly for venues to offer to others
  • Important considerations that organizers look in venues: Cost, ambience, location, AV/ lighting, reputation, capacity, F&B.

Results of the affinity diagram in a chart.

In green the most important aspects of Organizers and Hosts

PERSONAS

Based on our research we create 3 personas: Jenny, Libby, and Ian.
Following our research, we chose to make Jenny and Ian our two primary personas: One host and one organizer.

At this point we pass to our second face of our work process: Sketching and Ideation

User stories and storyboards

Primary Persona #1: Jenny/ Host

Our first primary persona. Jenny is a venue owner looking for events at her restaurant

Primary Persona #2: Ian/ Organizer

Second primary persona. Ian is a college student, in constant look for spaces to party and promote his band.

Feature Prioritization / Commonalities

Then, using the Moscow method, we prioritized our features and found the following:

  • Directory of venue provider profiles with capabilities
  • Verifying credibility
  • Checking venue availability (Calendar)
  • Direct messaging between space providers and organizers
  • Channel for sharing live documents (contracts, list of attendees, etc.)

Rough sketches and possible designs

First sketching and ideas for our features. Team discussed previous low fidelity sketches.

Based on our feature prioritization, we began sketching possible designs for:

-Venue sign-up

-Venue profile pages

-Venue directory

-Process for organizers to book a venue

After creating our first sketches, we started the third face of our project: Narrowing Scope and Structure.

User flows

Ian / Organizer looking for a venue:

Ian user flow/ organizer booking for venue.

Ian has different options to look for a venue. The one that we show in our prototype has seven actions from home page to book the venue.

He can also find in global search, sorted by recommendations, new venues, reviews, among others.

Jenny/ List a venue on MeetUp website

Jenny, listing her venue on the website/ venue Sign Up.

Jenny has 6 steps of interaction from the moment she click on list a venue to confirm her information for her profile.

All steps are very clear and trying to create better ways to promote venues and better ways to communicate between hosts and organizers.

A lot of great ideas!

Wireframes and sketches

We set a studio design to combined our best ideas, and designed the first wireframes.

Then we continue with the final face of our project: Prototyping and Testing

Prototyping

Venue signing page. Filling up venue information for venue profile page.
Searching venues by categorization
Venue profile page

Usability testing and results

We asked 6 people to use and let us know about their experience with our first prototype. They were:

  • People in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties
  • Meetup users and novices

As result we got multiple iterations refined by testing:

Users testing the new features
  • Two users had trouble differentiating between group items and venue items in the main navigation
  • We added extra space and a divider to emphasize the different sets of tools
  • Users thought the Advanced Search feature “looked like normal text”

Prototype Iterations

Based on our user testing we create couple iterations to make the website more user friendly.

Early Prototype

Final Prototype

“Advanced Search” eventually became “Filter by” with a dropdown indicator. We had first another idea of underline the Advance search.

Final prototype

We present our final prototypes on InVision. Please check our final prototype on the following links:

Feel free to check for a venue sign up here

Feel free to book a venue here

We create couple flows, have fun and let me know what do you think.

Next Steps: Long term

  • Adding functionality for venues to become members of Meetup groups
  • Implement designs for charging venue providers, if Meetup determines that they would like this
  • Design for mobile
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