Building Odyssey, an unparalleled Event Planning App from Design to Destination: A Case Study
For many friends and groups, deciding, settling on, and figuring out the logistics/planning of an event or outing can be very a disorganized, emotional, and painful process. While platforms exist that can provide solutions for one of those issues, event planners are left with having to utilize several options in order to coordinate amongst their friends. This process can consist of a ragtag assembly of ticket purchasing, group communication, and remote coordination apps built to operate separately with one another. My design team and I decided to focus in on compiling all of these functions into one stable platform that when partnered with another company, can act as a panacea for the entire process. As a standalone application built to function in harmony with a partner, we designed Odyssey, an event discovery and planning app. Due to its large imprint on event discovery and ticket purchasing, we elected to move forward with Eventbrite as a partner, and focus on improving its audience and reach by creating and incorporating planning, messaging, and budgeting services to work in tandem with its platform.
Our team aimed initially on doing background research on the problem space within this sphere, and at a potential partner which we could team up with to create a solution. Using several rounds of interviewing to find our target audience and eventually iterating on our ideas to further our prototypical designs, we built an intuitive, easy to use and all encompassing app to solve the users pain points of seamlessly creating an event with friends.
Organizing and planning events with friends can be a hassle, and if not planned correctly, can topple an event before it gets off the ground.
In our initial mapping out of the scenarios and pain points our users would encounter, we fixated on several detrimental insights to focus our research and design model on solving:
- Users can experience a lack of work cohesion amongst planners
- Users can harbor negative feelings towards aspects of an event
- Users experience disorganized communication amongst planners across several platforms
Having this material on board, we went about mapping out our target audience and creating interview sets to revolve around figuring out the processes with which users deal with these situations.
Our Target Audience
To best tackle these pain points, our team structured our initial research on developing a persona to match with our future desired platform.
Having built the foundation of our future design, we input our users frustrations, pain points, and needs into Adam, a young UX designer who enjoys planning events to hang with friends, but experiences difficulties in a group to communicate and decide on the best options available for them.
Key Interview Takeaways
After a series of interviews with members of our target audience, we synthesized the information into an affinity map, and then came away with several important insights that we formulated based on responses. We then settled on those that stood out as notable and important to our projects parameters:
- Users consider cost when deciding on an event.
- Users collaborate with others to plan events.
- Users lack consistent communications.
- Users lose interest when their idea is not considered
- Users rely on voting to choose which event the group goes to.
Using these takeaways, we set about translating them into potential features for our product.
Proposed Odyssey Features
- Implement a voting/vetoing feature to planners and guests to settle on an itinerary based on majority decision
- Create a group chat/messaging feature to help coordinate discussion, planning and resolve potential disputes due to group decision or budgetary restrictions.
- Build a Budget filter feature to allow planners to refine their searches based on a total financial cap, and give guests the ability to let planners know what their own budgets are.
- Design a preferences page where users can input their interests, which in turn allows planners to see by percentage which events run most in line with the groups interests.
With these features in the bag and our research phase complete in the interim, our team went about designing Odyssey to fulfill these features as a way to address our target users pain points.
The Odyssey Prototype
In our design, we focused on maintaining a clean display that provided all the information a team may require to plan an event. Satisfied with our initial progress, we set about running usability tests as a way to see how useful our app would be to our target audience if implemented.
Looking back on the journey map we designed for Adam, we gauged how the features we incorporated could potentially improve his emotional experience planning an event. Our features (in theory) successfully allowed Adam to avoid emotional fluctuation due to allocating amd organizing all communication into one app, and discussing potential issues around the voting system of majority rules. This spike in positive communication could potentially avoid the issue of guests dropping out due to their supposed lack of voice or decision making ability.
Usability Test Takeaways
“I wish I had this app when I planned my trip to the Hamptons last weekend!”
Our usability tests were a resounding success. Users expressed deep enjoyment of the app, and credited it to the intuitiveness, problem solving capabilities, and ease/fun they had testing it. Outside of minor button and name changes to specific icons we created, users saw the profound use of Odyssey as an all in one planning app.
To the Future
With Odyssey, we see a remarkable opportunity for Eventbrite to grow in reach and audience. As a product of Eventbrite, Odyssey allows users to implement Eventbrites ticket finding resources into a managerial planner, giving groups control into how to plan an itinerary around their event purchases. With such success in accomplishing our goals set by our target audience, we believe that Odyssey should be the number one option for groups to plan all their events in the future.