Meetup — Feature Integration ~UXDI

“I think it would be great if there was some ‘connection’ or database of partners, who would be willing to offer their space for meetups.”

Overview

As the second project for General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive program, we were to work as a team of fellow students with an ultimate goal of integrating a new feature into an existing app. My team had “Meetup” as our platform to work on; not knowing what Meetup was, to even begin with, we had to do a little bit of research on what Meetup was about.

Meetup is an online social networking website/mobile app that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as movies or books.

Meetup website and apps currently have two primary users: Meetup Organizers and Meetup Members. Currently, Meetup Organizers are responsible for finding and booking space for meetups on their own. Likewise, companies with space available for such Meetups either start and organize their own Meetups, or reach out separately to Meetup organizers to offer the usage of their space. For our misson was to create a new to feature into Meetup’s app that connects Meetup Organizers and Space Providers (of organizations and companies with space available after hours for such meetups) to get in touch, coordinate, and book space for Meetup events.

We had roughly two weeks to work on this project as a team — to first, come up with a potential solution/feature, run screeners and user interviews, synthesize, develop a prototype, run usability testings, revise, and lastly to prepare a presentation.

Discovery

We developed two screeners to make sure we were interviewing the right users. Specific criteria included questions such as “Do you organize events that require you to rent or reserve space?” for organizers, and “Do you own or manage space that they allow groups to reserve for and rent out for meet-up groups?” for space providers.

We ended up being able to interview with 3 organizers and 3 space providers. The research was conducted to reach the following goals:

  • Understand problems organizers have with finding and reserving space
  • Understand opportunities Space Providers might find with being directly connected to meet up organizers

Even though the interviews conducted, were not from our main target audiences, we were able to get some great insights about what event organizers, and space managers/owners had to go through, and what type of difficulties they were having.

Through affinity mapping, organizing different people’s insights into similar categories, we were able to come up with some “I” statements that represent the interviewees’ opinions; and from these synthesis, we created two personas that represent each of the potential users of Meetup’s new feature that we would be creating.

(left) “I” statements of Organizers (right) “I” statements of Space Providers
(left) persona of Organizer, Tina (right) persona of Space Provider, Tom
Meetup organizers have challenges arranging spaces for their meet-ups.
How might we connect meet-up organizers to space providers to bring people together in real life?

The findings for research lead to our problem statement (above). The problem statement was inspired by the research insights, as well as the mission statement of Meetup which states:

“Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities to do more of what they want to do in life. It is organized around one simple idea: when we get together and do the things that matter to us, we’re at our best. And that’s what Meetup does.It brings people together to do, explore, teach and learn the things that help them come alive.”

As stated in the statement, Meetup’s misson is to bring people together to do, explore, teach and learn that help them come alive. In order to have a successful in-person meetup, you need both members, AND somewhere to actually MEET.

Development & Delivery

Using our personas and problems statements as guides, we had to come up with lists of ideas that would solve the problems discovered through research. To begin the ideation, we started with running Design Studio.

Design Studio is for the group to quickly come up with ideas, with no pressure in a short amount of time. Team members get a few minutes to ideate and come up with 8 potential solutions on their own, and have a brief talk/critique about the ideas they come up with, then run another session of Design Studio to develop the great ideas that were discussed during the short critique. After running Design Studio, our team came up with a lot of great ideas. Even though we had so many of them, we first needed to create a foundation for which all those other great features would be built on- which is why we decided to focus on some very specific features first; so going back to our problems statement we picked out the features that would connect organizers to space providers.

Design Studio and Ideations
Features that we decided to focus on

Through feature prioritization, we decided to distinguish these numerous features into four categories : What is a must have, should have, could have, and what is not worth the effort to have. 
This method helped us with distinguishing the “essentials” for building this new feature, such as “Search for space” or “Post a space” in “Must haves” section. The rest were planned for later phases.

MoSCoW for Feature Prioritization

Then the list of features to work on naturally became a base information for our Task Flows, and Sitemap. By creating rough Task Flows to make assumptions on how the user would reach a certain goal through the app, we were able to create an easier structure for the basis of feature integration, and also a rough idea of how Usability Testing scenarios should be. The sitemap, of the original features and addition of the features that we were going to integrate, became a big help in figuring out the most convenient way to integrate a new feature into an already built/existing app that people are using — we had to come up with a solution to not change the app itself too much, or even at all.

(left) Task Flows of grey boxes of original path with green boxes of newly integrated path (right) sitemap of original features with newly integrated features.

Based on what we had in the Task Flows and Sitemap, we created rough sketches of the app into iPhone6 templates. We tried not to focus too much into sketching nice wireframes on the templates, knowing that our project was to eventually hop into our computers and create medium-fidelity wireframes and prototypes.

Initial Hand-drawn Sketches

The digital medium-fidelity wireframes were created with a program called Sketch and prototype was later built with InVision through Craft, which connects artboards from Sketch to prototyping in InVision.

Initial Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

The first step in solving the problem was integrating a Space Provider profile to the app. The Space Providers and Organizers would then have ways of finding and connecting to each other. Through integrating a new feature into Meetup’s app, now Meetup provides space suggestions for organizers. Organizers can now reserve space and connect directly to space manager, and Space managers can now add their spaces and reach out and offer them directly to Organizers.

We were now, ready to run Usability Testings.

Usability Testing

We had two rounds of Usability Testings; round 1 with 2 Organizers and 2 Space Providers, Round 2 with 4 Organizers and 4 Space Providers. Working with scripts, we started the usability testings with a quick introduction on ourselves, what Meetup is about (if they were Space Providers with no knowledge of what Meetup is), about what the users are going to be doing, how they should feel free to say anything about what they are doing, how they feel, etc., and lastly, that “they” are not being tested throughout this testing.

Using two scenarios and tasks designed for each users, we gave all users one scenario and tasks to complete each session, and the users performed in how they get adjusted to a new app, and are able to complete the task given. One finished session of scenario followed up with some questions asking the user for some impressions and feedbacks, then proceeded with the next scenario. At the very end of the testings, the users were all openly sharing their insights about how the prototype of the app was (,and some opinions about how Meetup app right now is very inconvenient to use). Those two sets of usability testings gave us many feedbacks and insights about the prototypes. These were the biggest utility and usability feedbacks that we got:

Utility

  • Users on both ends found great value in being able to find each other and connect.

Usability

  • There were usability problems with general navigation.
  • Users disliked the request and approval process.

Users expressed that they would rather have direct discussions prior to requesting and/or approving spaces.

Revisions

With the feedbacks, we were able to iterate our protype and wireframes twice. The biggest revisions that we’ve made were with User Profiles, and search feature, which were the two biggest features that we had to work with to introduce a new set of users, Space Providers, into the existing app.

These iterations will hopefully be testing for Round 3 of Usability Testings later on, and to be revised once more. I am also looking into creating the wireframes into Hi-Fi, because having a short amount of time to create, test, and to prepare for a presentation, we were not able to integrate color or images into our final prototype. The following is the link to our final prototype:

https://invis.io/76DF8R1XS

Reflection

It is never easy to work with different people from different experiences and backgrounds, and I cannot lie that it was NOT a stressful experience- we had some rough times as a team for sure. However, perks of working as a team was being able to figure out my strengths and weakness, how I work as a teammate, and learning to be more understanding. It also felt like a little preparation of how the real world’s teamwork could look like *sigh*.

With this rough round of working as a team, but eventually with a good outcome, I know the next experience as a team will be better ;)