Inside Stanford Design Garage 07- or how wrong we were with our assumptions

Weekly summary:

week07: Accelerate learning around a new pivot through rapid prototyping and testing (Iteration 2)

  • Weekly goals: design quick experiments to test the riskiest assumption about this new pivotIterated design frame: How might we help people give access to emotional and social experience of a place to their friends who are visiting that goes beyond “sight-seeing” without them having to physically be there every step of the way to curate the experience? (focusing on asynchronous sharing).
  • Key assumption: People would care enough to make sure to curate great experiences for their friend even though they have already sent him/her their lists of recommendations?
  • Key prototype: Distributed Concierge or AirBnB trips meets livingSocial, a product homepage selling our product idea value proposition of gifting your friends local access to your local-only hangout spots hosted by your local businesses you know and love.
  • Key learning: People we tested with liked the idea of sharing local knowledge, but thought that this approach of having a middle man hosting experiences for their friends loses the scrappy recommendation that would come from their friends’ journal.
  • Iteration 3: paraelle prototyping
  • Insight: Locals are only sharing their local knowledge to their friends through emails every few months only when they receive a request from a friend who is visiting town for travel recommendations.
  • Iterated design frame: How might we facilitate finding mutual connections amongst locals and travelers?
  • Prototype A: Tag Along or Coffee meets Bagel for locals and travellers
  • Key assumption: Locals will share their local knowledge if they can do it spontaneously in their own time with the people they find interesting.
  • Key prototype: Tag Along or Coffee meets Bagel for locals and travellers, a paper interface to test whether locals would be willing to share their local knowledge if they can do it spontaneously in their own time by creating and sharing their weekend’s favourite things to do and places to be.
  • Key learning: Locals are more willing to share if it’s a low-commitment effort and spontaneous for them to get involved. Even more so, if they find the person who they are sharing interesting in their personality, travel taste, style and outlook in life in general, they would be more inclined to share their travel secrets.
  • Prototype B: Curated Moments
  • Key assumption: Everyone can be an experience designer. If curating moments is an easy, commitment way to express personality.
  • Key prototype: Curated moments was built on the key question of “what is the smallest atom of an experience?” that gets at locals’ insights of low-commitment and willingness to share their local knowledge if it is easy and spontaneous to get involved with travelers.

Current Problem Statement:

We are interested in finding design solutions for potential problems that the sharing economy could have on local communities in the hospitality sector dealing with locals sharing their knowledge while fearing the inundated flood of tourists and over-mining local resources.

Developing design principles from user research

matching good taste constitutes trust amongst travelers

Travelers listen to other travelers who seem interesting

A sense of belonging when you travel to places happens when you started to know the people and vice versa.

Prototype Evaluation: Circles of Sharing

Key question:

Are there certain emotions / fears that holding locals back from sharing their rich knowledge of local places?

what worked:

Some travel spots are more sensitive to sharing than others by nature such as outdoor areas that the value of the place is tied with the fact that there are not that many people there at any given time.

What didn’t:

People are generally willing to share their lists: Contrary to our initial hypothesis that locals would not necessary want to share their deep knowledge of local community with a complete stranger, we found out through our prototype that people are generally willing to share their lists of favorite local gems to a complete stranger as long as they can establish some commonality/connection via social interactions.

why:

Protection of access: Thinking about outdoor experiences, the value of going there is to not be overwhelmed by people. The reality might be that everyone knows about these places. They are not pristine areas. Things that I love that I would protect limited access.

People are less likely to share their local favorite everyday spots if they feel like the places are made of experiences and people rather than the place itself because it might reflect poorly on them if they recommend it to a stranger who might not have the same taste as they do.

I don’t mind if a lot of people are going to the Sundown Saloon. I’m not gonna recommend that to strangers because I feel like that might be a poor recommendation or it would reflect poorly on my reputation of recommending things because it might put me down a star on Airbnb for example.

What we found interesting

People want to share what they think the other person would enjoy; mostly “non-touristy”, but still have high spectacle value.

There is a list called “the best friend list” where it’s really not about how impressive the place is in and of itself, but more emphasis on people and overall ambience of being there with the people.

Pivot

How Might we..

In the world where each of us are more mobile than ever,

An Iterated Design Opportunity Space:

HMW help people give access to emotional and social experience of a place to their friends who are visiting that goes beyond “sight-seeing” without them having to physically be there every step of the way to curate the experience?

User Research on this topic

//www.zomato.com/
“Sundown Saloon is not something to go see. It’s really who you are with. There is nothing special. There is no access that I would give the person. They could walk down by themselves, but it’s the nature of that place that is all about people. I could see someone going there and seeing it as a gross place. There is nothing necessary great about the place just as a structure or visually or anything, but it’s about the people that you are with. I have a very fond memory of being there and when I go there that mood of having fun and being social and talking to people and partying.”

I don’t know you, but we might be related at certain levels. I wouldn’t bring you there. If I brought you there, I would need to have friends there to help create an atmosphere because of my personality.

Sundown Saloon in terms of creating an atmosphere, the place itself does little to help you. It’s not like you will walk down there and like be impressed by the look of it. You could be like “this is a dive bar I could have gone in where ever I am in the bay area.

sleep no more

From a pivot to an iterated prototype

An Iterated Prototype

Distributed Concierge or AirBnB trips meets livingSocial

Identifying the riskiest assumption:

People would care enough to make sure to curate great experiences for their friend even though they have already sent him/her their lists of recommendations?

only if there are considerable amount of barriers that they can foresee would make that experience less great- language barrier etc.

You want it to be an element of surprise, but you also don’t want to make that person feels creepy that a bartender knows their name / personal details.

Key Stakeholders and Use-case scenario

The Outbound friend (host): Anyone who is in the top of mind amongst any given peer-group when it comes to asking for places to go/see in a certain city.

The city ringleader: someone who is known amongst their circles of friends to be an expert in that city

The Inbound friend (guest): Someone within the host’s circle of friends

The intermediaries (local businesses): a network of people who provide services for customers (waitresses, bartenders, bookstore saleperson etc.)

Design Scenarios:

  1. The inbound friend send a DM asking the outbound friend for places to go and things to do in a city. (known)
Does the inbound friend expect that the outbound friend to come up with a list based on the fact that they know each other preferences?
What is more important for this person; finding a topic of conversation to reconnect with their friend or actually getting a list of good places to hangout.
How would they start a conversation / ask for those tips / advice?

2. The outbound friend writes a list of recommended places for the inbound friend.

How much consideration does one give to curating this list? Will they come up with a list specifically curated for that person? or will it just be a list of things they already love doing?

3. The inbound friend received the list and make a judgement call of what to leave out and what to include in their travel itinerary

Prototype Evaluation: Distributed Concierge

Overview

People don’t generally see / compare themselves to concierge. They consider themselves for personable than that.

Wanting to know a place from interesting friends’ experience

Concierge entails monetary transaction, hotels, someone dressed up.

I don’t think of concierge like “hey there is a little park where you should get a little baguette and go people watch” I prefer “travel tips from friends”.

this seems exclusive and this is not why I travel (local access to local-only spots + concierge)

Worked:

People like the idea of sharing local knowledge

Didn’t work:

This is not how I function with my friends; I don’t travel because I got good deals.

It loses that scrappy recommendations.

Feels like there is a middle man

Doesn’t feel like a network of friends. It’s more like a service.

Wish:

People wished they are words like sharing

Something for me like; See your friend favorite part of the city where they know well.

What we found interesting:

They like the notion of scrappy recommendations. The idea that it just came from their friends’ journal.

Pivot:

Identify user behaviors that we want to change:

An existing behavior:

Locals are only sharing their local knowledge to their friends through emails every few months only when they receive a request from a friend who is visiting town for travel recommendations.

A desired behavior:

Locals are sharing their local knowledge not only with their friends, but to whomever they feel they will get along with.

An Iterated Design Opportunity Space:

HMW facilitate finding mutual connections amongst locals and travelers?

An Iterated Prototype

Tag Along or Coffee meets Bagel for locals and travelers
Prototype: Tag Along, what if we frame knowledge sharing as making new friendships?

Prototype Evaluation: Tag Along

Key assumption:

Locals will share their local knowledge if they can do it spontaneously in their own time with the people they find interesting.

Was our assumption right?

Yes! Locals are more willing to share if it’s a low-commitment effort and spontaneous for them to get involved.

Even more so, if they find the person who they are sharing interesting in their personality, travel taste, style and outlook in life in general, they would be more inclined to share their travel secrets.

In parallel we also prototyped the idea of “curated moments”

which built on the key question of “what is the smallest atom of an experience?” that gets at the locals’ insight of low-commitment and willingness to share their local knowledge if it is easy and spontaneous to get involved with travelers.

Prototype: Curated Moments, what if we frame sharing local knowledge as

Key assumption:

Everyone can be an experience designer. If curating moments is an easy, low-commitment way to express personality.

Stay tuned for our results