My latest project brief from GA was to provide a first-class means for Meetup to increase the ability of organizers and hosts to find one another and find a space for their Meetups through its mobile app. Currently Organizers are responsible for finding and booking space for Meetups on their own. Our team went through the UX design process to determine what would be the best way to incorporate a new feature for Meetup’s mobile application.
User Research: Screeners and Interviews
We initially aimed to keep our assumptions low and see what the users are saying. We developed screeners to recruit our target users. We had 43 responses, half of whom were people who had organized or helped organized events in the past year. We primarily targeted organizers since they are the only ones currently paying for creating Meetups and are the driving force behind Meetup’s revenue.
We conducted seven interviews and uncovered a lot of really interesting things from almost every part of the event planning process. Whether it was people being upset that they had missed open houses for the venues or whether it was haggling with the space manager over supplied chairs and equipment.
There was a lot of data from the user research which makes sense considering the dynamics of event planning and everything that goes into it. As we started mapping out the data, we were able to organize things chronologically into the different stages of event planning process. And then we took it a step further, and recategorized them into likes, dislikes, behaviors and pain points which allowed us to see where within the event planning process people were coming up with the most issues and how we could then focus on those.
One of the major issues was of communication between the organizer and the venue. A lot of organizers were frustrated with not getting responses in time, bad accommodations and not discussing logistics.
The problems were taking the shape of: how can we take the burden of finding a venue away from the organizers and provide them with the facts and information to communicate with the people who are in charge of the event space without interrupting the primary purpose of the app, which is to connect people.
Based on the people we interviewed, we developed our primary and secondary personas. Our primary persona David, started as an app user, but now creates events on Meetup. David likes to plan events two months in advance. So he’s really looking for a tool that helps him discover venues because he doesn’t know exactly what he might need in six to eight weeks.
Whereas our second persona Alice is someone who schedules a weekly event and she’s always looking for venues last minute, so she wants to be able to search and filter for what’s truly important to her event and to be able to cut down the amount of time that she takes talking back and forth with the host.
Based on our persona and user research we came up with the problem statement:
Organizers are constantly burdened with the details of booking an event space
David Wallace wants to know more about the space before reserving it. How might we provide him with effective information and communication tools to connect with the event space?
Once we had specific persons in mind and a problem we decided to have a design studio to brainstorm ideas for possible solutions and features. We initially iterated solutions for David by first coming up with ideas individually, then sharing them with each other and critiquing them. After this we spent some time narrowing all of them down to one final idea. We repeated this process for Alice based on her needs and wants and then from the venue host’s perspective if they are looking for organizers like David or Alice.
One of the ideas was a tinder like discovery feature to find venues
We took the ideas from our design studio and listed out the features contained in each idea. We prioritized them on a chart to determine what is important right now and what has the most business impact. We colored the features based on host, organizer and venue profile to keep the ideas in context.
Wireframes & Usability Testing
We combined these features into our first whiteboard wireframe, did a quick test among ourselves and began prototyping in InVision.
When doing our usability testing we focused on the three main flows through which users could browse venues:
· The Inspiration feature (D icon initially, tent icon later)
· A prompt after creating a new meetup through the plus icon
· Using the search bar on the home page
During out iterations we changed a couple of things based on user comments. A lot of the users were not familiar with the Meetup app so that initially slowed them down. During the testing we found that there are also a lot of issues with the existing interface that is creating confusion. The search icon for home, the check mark icon and the account page. These are issues that would be good to research in a future project.
We changed the D icon to a tent since users weren’t sure what the D meant. The tent was much more intuitive to the users. We moved the icon off center since it is not the primary purpose of the app and its placement was throwing people off. We also reduced clutter on the venue profile page since most testers found it to be too much information. There was some other confusion regarding how the favorite icon worked and where it saved the information. This was resolved by designing a higher fidelity prototype where the heart icon changed contrast and color. Adding images and color also gave testers better understanding and purpose of the tasks as they navigated the app.