Split Payment for Booking.com: A solution using JTBD and User flow — UX Case Study

In the fourth week on the Ironhack UX/UI bootcamp, I was asked to add a feature to Booking.com mobile app.

André Giacomucci
Dec 4, 2019 · 6 min read

In this post I’m going to show the process I went through to add the proposed feature into the mobile app.

In summary, the process is divided into seven steps:

  1. Briefing and Challenge
  2. Research: how people split bills and their pain points
  3. Defining the user and problem
  4. The solution
  5. Prototyping & testing
  6. Next steps
  7. Key learnings

1. Briefing & Challenge

The client: Booking.com

I was very excited to work with Booking.com since I’m an old-time user and have previous knowledge and opinions about their digital product.
If you don’t know Booking.com, here is a summary of who they are and what they do:

With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At Booking.com, we connect travelers with the world’s largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses, and even igloos. The Booking.com website and mobile apps are available in over 40 languages, offer 28,915,480 total reported listings, and cover 154,192 destinations in 228 countries and territories worldwide.

The assignment

When traveling with people, it would be nice to be able to
split the bill if you pay through Booking.com

The scope

4 days to research, ideate and test a hi-fidelity interactive prototype of the proposed feature.

The goal of the project

Add the functionality to split the payment between travelers through Booking.com respecting the current product and creating a meaningful user experience.

2. Research: how people split bills and their pain points

Since I already knew the feature that I needed to work with before the research, I had some assumptions that I wanted to confirm or refute.

The research was very focused on these two questions:

  • How people split their expenses in real life?
  • How they deal with the problems when splitting their expenses?

I started with a survey and got 55 responses. The key learnings from it were:

When traveling with other people, someone books for everyone and they share the payment later (94.4%)

Bank transfer is still the most common way to pay or get paid, which means that it depends on people to do the payment manually.

I also interviewed 6 people who confirmed my hypothesis.

From the point of view of the person that books and pays the hotel:

  • People get frustrated when their friends take time to pay.
  • It bothers them to charge or remind their friends to make the payment.

From the point of view of the travel companion:

  • They usually forget to pay their friend.
  • Not paying quickly frustrates their friend.

3. Defining the user and problem

For this sprint I chose to focus on only one user persona: the person that books and pays the hotel.

The main problem can be summarized in this problem statement:

After defining the user persona and the problem statement I have a clear view on how I can add the feature inside the current Booking.com app.

4. The solution

Before starting to prototype, I used Jobs To Be Done to understand if the solutions will impact the user at a functional and emotional level (personal and social) and after that I created some User Flows to understand where the new feature will be placed and what are the steps in the process to be able to split the payment and enable everyone to pay it.

One thing that I’m learning on the bootcamp is to prioritize and manage my time. I fell in love with Jobs To Be Done and I wanted to expand and create more scenarios and bring more detail into it but since I only had 4 days to finish this sprint, I let it go and moved forward.

The User Flow helped me to understand the whole process of splitting the payment and how everyone involved would interact with the app.

This is the current user flow on Booking.com regarding the checkout process:

User Flow — Current Checkout Process

The option to split the payment will add some steps into the checkout process, and for the first release of the feature, I’m suggesting to bring some dialogs with information explaining how it will work if the user chooses to split the payment:

User Flow — New Checkout Process

And after the checkout is complete, it can have some different user flows depending if the other guests will pay their share of the accommodation. The idea is to keep the main user (the one that made the booking) informed about other guests’ status.

User Flow — In response

5. Prototyping & testing

I worked on a mid-fidelity interactive prototype to test with users and learn if they understand the new feature and gather useful feedback.

Below you can view the working prototype and navigate.

In this project I was able to run a usability test in a hi-fidelity interactive prototype. This was very interesting since I learned that in every step of prototyping (lo/mid/hi) I can have different kind of feedback and insights.

Here are the final screens for the solution:

6. Next Steps

User Persona # 2

Define the user persona “travel companion” and design all their experience making the payment of their part of the accommodation.

A / B Testing

Test other solutions to split the payment with less text, more images and without dialog boxes.

7. Key learnings

This was the first time I used Jobs To Be Done and I loved it. I’m sure that it will help a lot to prioritize what to do when you have more scenarios and users.

For the next projects, I would like to improve my iteration documentation. I don’t have all the versions of the prototypes to compare and see the evolution.

If you have any feedback or want to discuss about my journey in this project, feel free to write me!


Thanks to eli domínguez •

André Giacomucci

Written by

👋 Hello! I’m a UX/UI Designer with a background in branding, graphic and web design. I’m very interested in the design process as a business tool.

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