Re-imaging yacht chartering experience.
We started working on a yacht chartering website project for a client. We were faced with challenges on this project when things took a different-than-expected course — and we ended up owning it. Since we were financing it ourselves, we put it on the back burner and worked on it probably once a year when we didn’t have other projects going on. We worked in bouts of a month or two at a time, actively around 6~7 months.
One of the major and first difficulties in project planning was having to come up with a name for it. This is where our good friend and colleague Djordje Vanjek stepped in with a great idea. The name is made up of two legit words. The first part, yacht, is pretty self explanatory. The second part is the Latin word eo. This tiny word has a whole bunch of meanings depending on context, and among others it can mean to go, to travel, to move, to advance, and even sea. Those are the ones that appealed most to us for obvious reasons. Marrying these two words gave us Yachteo.
When we started this side project, we didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel. That wasn’t our intention. In fact, what we did wasn’t at all revolutionary. That was not the point. What we wanted to do was create something that’s better than the rest out there.
We spent crazy amounts of time researching the existing yacht chartering websites. And, honestly, there are some great ones out there, just do a simple Google search and check them out for yourself. But what surfaced was that they all pretty much offer the same functionalities, layout, experience, interface, and general look and feel.
While interesting, one of the biggest challenges faced in project implementation was learning all of the ins and outs of yacht chartering business. Something that stood out immediately was that the clientele in yacht chartering is fairly narrow. We knew that the experience we were aiming to offer had to be wholesome to convince users that Yachteo is worth their time and money.
Disclaimer: I have to emphasize that we did focus mainly on the design aspect of the project and not the business. Yachteo would be a great investment to sink your teeth into for someone who is a business-savvy person with entrepreneurial spirit. There’s still the business to be developed, but the ‘picture’ is there. The only missing component(frame) is someone who would set up connections and manage the business side.
Overcoming design project difficulties and trying to coming up with solutions
We decided that we’d like to really focus on the details and have everything incorporated into one functional user experience. Now, like I said before, what we did wasn’t revolutionary.
We rounded up ALL of the drop-down functionalities we deemed necessary, packaged them differently and made them look much more elegant and more luxurious.
For example, some sites will have you searching for the damn inquiry form all day until you eventually give up.
The option of selecting and completing the form needs to be constantly present, providing you with the comfort that if you’re done searching and you’re satisfied with the selection, filling the form is just one click away.
It’s little things like these that make a difference in the user experience, and lift the whole service/product to the next level.
The yacht chartering market is well established, so we had a pretty good idea of the tone we wanted to convey. However, the real goal is to appeal to new potential users.
For this very reason, we needed to design the most advanced filtering system. It needed to remain simple on the surface while at the same time covering all of the possible yacht types, number of guests, yacht lengths, price range etc. without overwhelming the user.
While assembling this complicated and comprehensive beast, we did not forget about the user’s comfort so we made sure that everything could be resolved from this single page. We aimed to provide a luxury feel mixed with the modern everyday look.
The lack of simplicity and possibility of performing a simple search to get a better overview so the user can compare different yachts was the most common occurrence on all sites.
So we added the glance view option and it was like we brought a dozen different pages into one place, and, honestly, it worked like a charm. Only the most important info can be found there, like the description, cost, basic yacht and crew specifications.
When we added it all up, the amount of the user’s time and effort we saved was remarkable.
We also included photo galleries in which you can find photos of a chosen yacht. While browsing the yachts, you can scroll through the yacht exterior and interior galleries which are grouped in one place, not mixed all together.
You might be wondering what’s so special about this gallery that we needed to emphasize it. Well, nothing huge actually. But in design, details are not just details — they are the design. We made the gallery stand out from any other in this niche by simply taking care of aspect ratio, color balance, order and quality of all photos, etc.
The scroll through the gallery should be a journey through the real deal and you should feel like you’re on the yacht while looking at the pictures — and that’s exactly what we wanted to achieve with Yachteo full-screen galleries.
Was all this worth it? Hell yeah!
We wanted to avoid the generic and cliché feel of what’s already out there. And, let me tell you, that was quite a feat! The biggest challenge was bringing the project to completion and not having it remain just a concept and idea on paper.
So, if you’d like to see what we came up with, you can visit www.yachteo.co and snoop around.
Perfection might be overrated, but we sure as hell want to get as close to it as possible.
Good. Vibes. Only.