UXDI — Class Project 2 — Airbnb
I was assigned a group project to create a feature to be added to a current mobile application for my General Assembly User Experience Design Immersive class. My group was assigned by my instructors and included Alexandra Malouta, Erika Friend, and Pablo Papasidero. The application were assigned was Airbnb. Initially we were not given any specific guidelines or problems to resolve.
Initially we did a mind map, and thought of all aspects of Airbnb, which helped us to create our initial assumptions. With my teams varied experiences with Airbnb, my initial assumptions was that we would find users who had problems with either finding or booking Airbnbs since we did not know of any hosts of Airbnbs.
Based on our initial assumptions our first step was to create and send out a screener survey to find users that fit our criteria. The criteria included those who used apps similar to Airbnb and have stayed at short term rentals (i.e., motels, hotels, airbnbs, etc.). We received 99 responses and we started to narrow down the list of responses based on those who answered affirmative to those questions.
Out instructors gave us an update which stated that the Airbnb “stakeholders” wanted to pivot and gave us the problem:
“Airbnb would like to create a first-class means to increase the ability of event hosts and guests to find one another through its mobile app.”
and new business goals which included:
BG1: “Guests should be able to find prospective event spaces and reach out to their point of contact”
BG2: “Hosts should be able to promote their event space to guests”
and BG3: “Guests and hosts may be able to identify one another based on shared interests”
My team was able to narrow down 9 users to interview, of which I interviewed 3 users. The users I interviewed were 3 females aged 30–34 living in the NY area.
We first created an interview script together. We included questions such as: could you tell me about the last time you planned an event; where was it; describe how you discovered the place you booked; what factors determined your choice, and did anything stand out to you about the process? Many of these questions lead to other stories which helped to get a detailed understanding of the user’s iteration with event space researching.
Synthesize and Affinity Maps
The next step was the synthesize the user interview notes. I suggested that each of us on the team to put in our notes into one document and to include a summary paragraph of the user.
Here is an example of one of my user interview paragraphs:
User has planned personal events. The user used Google and Yelp to search for venues and and their contact information and compared options using the information, reviews and photos provided through Google and Yelp. The user also went to several local venues and ones used in past events to get information. The user felt layout and pricing was a key criteria but the venue being accommodating was very huge and did not realize until finalizing the details. The user called and met in person to book and go over logistics. The use felt that booking process was easy, finding venues was much harder.
We then used the Affinity Map to identify themes and patterns among the users’ responses. We used unique colors of Postit notes, markers and each of our different hand writings to ensure a pattern was not created with just one user’s responses. And we regrouped them based on sub groups we created as we saw patterns and themes.
The takeaways from the affinity map were that:
- Users wanted ability to visualize venues
- Users wanted to track venues they like
- Users wanted ability to efficiently search and find suitable venues
- Users care about where the venue is located and how it is laid out
- Users need to know what the venue will provide vs. what they may need to bring
“It just felt right, it was beautiful, we saw the photos and sent people on our behalf, and it all kinda clicked, and like I said the price was pretty good.”
User Journeys and Personas
We then created user journeys to understand what our users were doing from beginning to end when finding and booking an event space. This also help us to create our Primary User and Personas.
We created 2 personas, of which they both were primary users. A member of the team was creating the template of the personas and listening as the rest of the team collaborated on creating the user journey.
Redefined Problem Statement
Based on the the user research and personas, the team redefined the problem statement to state:
People planning events are busy and usually search for venues online or get recommendations from people they know. Rachel finds the event planning process time-consuming and stressful.
How might we help her to efficiently find and book event-appropriate venues?
I facilitated the team’s Design Studio where we quickly sketched possible solutions. In every round we presented to each other and borrowed each other’s ideas until we each came up with a final sketch together. Our takeaways were the possible features we needed to add to Airbnb’s mobile application to fulfill the user’s need. We had a long list since we thought to fulfill the needs of both of our personas.
Rachel — Features/Ideas
- 360 Photos & Walkthrough guided tour
- Bookmark feature — saved venues (potentially have maps/locations tied to venue)
- Venue recommendations or notes
- Events front and center for exploration
- Calendar icon — should include times open and availability
- Price toward the bottom
- Venue details/amenities/extra costs — as icons
- Must-haves filtering and layout
- Compare feature
- How are we going to sort? (possibly sort by guest size)
- Extra costs for certain amenities?
- Compare layout
Nancy — Ideas
- RSVP M
- # photos, #videos
- Swiping photos while searching
- Customization and suggestion
- Stories feature on homepage
- Things to consider — potential link (for event)
- Booking- having a confirmation — button letting you know that you are done
The team then decided that we needed to narrow down the features list since we couldn’t effectively and effectively create all. We needed to create the minimum viable product, so we employed the MoSCoW method, which included Must haves, Should haves, Could haves, and Won’t haves.
We ended up with the following list which included business goals since we needed to keep those to test with users:
- Events on Homepage (BG2)
- Venue Promotion (BG1 & BG3)
- Robust Filtering (BG1 & BG3)
I took lead in creating a user flow so that we knew what steps the user would take so we could design for it.
Wireframes and Usability Testing
The next step was to create paper wire frames based on the user flow and test them.
We then created a task scenario for the usability testing:
- Find a venue you would like to explore and look through the photos, and Favorite this venue.
- Contact the host of the venue.
We performed 2 usability tests and found these key takeaways:
- Couldn’t differentiate between featured venues and user-filtered results
- Confused by filters and graphs
- Couldn’t find pathway to contact host
Mid-Fidelity Prototype & Testing
We then created mid-fidelity wireframes in Sketch and tested them with 7 users in Round 1 of testing and 4 in Round 2 of testing through Invision.
We found the below results based on the testing and iterations.
- 100% of users completed first task, 85% completed second task
- 100% of users felt they couldn’t scroll on the venue page
- 100% clicked “Book Now” to contact the host in the second task, despite 57% of users expressing dislike for the button.
We iterated the following:
We broke up first task into 1 and 2
We got rid of book now button
We included real number on the price filtering page and number of venues
We darkened and included less results number on the filter results button
We created featured stores since users mistrusted sponsored venues and did not click
We included a checkbox for hosts to temporarily find users based on search results
- 100% of users completed the first task, 50% completed the second task, and 75% completed third task
- 100% scrolled on every page, and wanted to scroll through pictures on the venue page
- 75% of users navigated to the host contact page from the “Contact Host” button
Based on the testing results and iterations of the mid-fidelity prototypes we created a hi-fidelity prototype in Sketch and finalized in Invision.