Meetup is a membership-based web and mobile application. It allows it’s users to schedule and add meetups using a common platform.
In The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garret has identified the five planes. He described the two basic categories of websites; web as a software interface and web as a hypertext system. Meetup comes under software interface, but the website is also maintaining and sharing dynamic information.
In my critique of meetup.com, I will only be focusing on the process of searching for meetup, and how one can view an event or a meetup, in light of the five planes.
The strategy plane | Key user needs
The strategy plane deals with what users will get out of the website, and what the company wants to achieve. It is clear that they want to engage their users in arranging and attending the meetups.
The key users need for the website can be
- Ability to create and attend a meetup
- Advanced search for meetups using multiple filters
- Ability to view the event details
- Different categories including groups
The scope plane | Functional Requirements
The scope plane deals with what features should be included in the website. By looking at the strategy of meetup.com, the following can be a few functional requirements for the website.
- The user will be able to search for a group about a particular interest, for example arts & music.
- While searching for the event, the user can set its area and range
- The user can join groups and follow their events
- Each event can have specific slots for attendees
- One member can host multiple events
- Host can ask multiple questions at the time of RSVP
The structure plane | Interaction design
In this plane, the website really starts to take shape. I will discuss some of the arrangements of the elements when users are trying to find a meetup and how they can view an event.
Important elements on the homepage are
- Multiple filters to refine search like the option to select either all meetups or meetups I am going to and
- Calendar to select a specific date
- The users can sync their meetups with their prefered calendars
A good idea to narrow down the search is to add radius around the selected area. I find the placement of “Groups” and “Calendar” a little confusing. I could not figure out how these elements are affecting search.
An event’s page is basically divided into two parts
- Summary, RSVP, Social Media
- Details, which is further divided into date, time, map and attendees.
It’s a good arrangement of elements keeping in mind that you have a lot of information to provide.
The Skeleton plane | Interface and Navigation Design
On skeleton plane, we mostly care about how a user interacts with the website. When you click on the search box, categories of meetups pop up which is helpful for a new user. It’s quit econvenient to refine your search by simply editing your location and the radius. When a user scrolls down, the search bar sticks to the top.
On the event’s page, other than details about the event, there are few actions that a user can take. An event can be shared with friends or on social media. The user can look at the attendees and can accordingly confirm if they are going to the event.
The Surface Plane | Visual Design
We are familiar with the visual design. Warm colours of the website are welcoming. Images are there to capture the user’s attention.
For the search bar, colours and typography are eye-catching. Search results show only necessary information which makes them look clean. On the event’s page, images are there to attract the user. Time, date and map are visible and not distracting the user.
I think they can improve the elements and colours used for RSVP.
In my opinion it’s a useful website and it helps the user in finding and searching a meetup in an effective way.