For General Assembly’s 10 week UX design course, we were tasked with solving a common problem people have, or improving an existing process.
As a frequent traveler, I wanted to know if there could be a better way to improve the hotel booking and check-in process. My challenge was to conduct research through interviews to define the problem, design a solution, and test it, all with the user at the forefront of each decision made.
Frequent travelers spend a lot of time asking hotels to adjust their services to meet specific needs when they are already on the go and in a hurry. Requests like “no down pillows”, “room far from the elevator” or “no alcohol in the mini bar” all mostly require a separate phone call or email after booking.
Through interviewing 15 frequent travelers of varying age and background, I set out to learn more about their behaviors, pain points, and if there is whitespace for services provided by hotels. Their common pain points and feelings were:
Who is the user?
Meet Claire! By creating a user persona based on the interviews conducted, I was able to keep her and her goals in mind throughout each step of the design process. By defining who she is and what her habits were, it became clear that the best application of this product would be a mobile-friendly site, since she will frequently be on the go.
What features are necessary?
There were a lot of features that came to mind while trying to personalize and streamline the hotel booking and check-in process. It was important to make sure the mobile site wasn’t too bloated so it could be easily used in a hurry. By referring back to the initial interviews conducted, I was able to suss out the most important features. For initial prototyping, I wanted to prioritize:
A personalized quiz for the user to fill out, so they don’t have to reiterate specific needs every time they book a hotel
A direct texting service to the front desk for the fastest and simplest communication possible
A geolocation feature that checks the guest into the hotel via app, so hotel staff can be waiting with a beverage and keycard upon the guests arrival. No more waiting in the lobby, no more lines.
Other features I wanted to focus on was a room service ordering function, a way to curate hotels based on the user’s profile, and a booking feature that would automatically apply the personalized preferences profile to the booking.
The next step was to organize these features in a logical way. I conducted an open card sort using Optimal Workshop. The results showed that the users associated personalized features like “your profile", “your reviews”, and “your stay” together while the broader hotel-related features belonged in a separate category.
I took the most common answers and organized them into a site map:
The next step was to hand-draw wireframes, then recreate them via Sketch to create a low-fi prototype through InVision. I wanted to test the flow of my mvps- especially the on-boarding process.
lo-fi prototype testing Findings
I asked 6 users to click through all the steps they would use to make a profile. The only issue was that there was no confirmation showing they had successfully submitted their information, so I noted to add one for the hi-fi prototype.
first hi-fi prototype
I wanted a clean, luxurious look to reflect wants mentioned in the initial user interviews. It was important that the bell icon was on almost every page, so access to the front desk of the hotel (or Room Service contact page) was easily available. I also wanted to limit the number of choices on each page so information was digestible when on the go.
Hi-fi prototype Version 1 test findings
Language is important - “concierge” does not always mean the front desk and definitely does not mean housekeeping
Acknowledge geolocation and add maps - users need to know where they are in order to find where they’re going
Logo needs to look like a button if it is the only way home - Logo needs redesign
Button placement is key - the bell button needs to be at the top
Do not trap users - double check prototype pages all can link back to previous screen
Visually overstimulating - there was too much going on with the gradient and layering- I needed to simplify the interface design
final hi-fi prototype
For the final prototype, I simplified the imagery surrounding the buttons to make it cleaner and less overwhelming to look at. Next time, I’d definitely design a more interesting logo. As a placeholder, I wanted something simple to incorporate the bell button, so it was always at the top of the page within view. Click through some key screens below!
Conclusion and Next Steps
Logo still doesn’t look enough like a home button, re-design for next round of testing
Build out hotel pages for other cities
Build neighborhood guides
Establish relationship with hotels for beta testing