Task: To design a feature for Holiday Inn as an academic project that allows for business travelers to book as a group on the website to make traveling for business more convenient for each individual member.
Scope: 2 Weeks as a Group Project
Skills and Tools used: User Interviews, Competitive Analysis, Surveys, Affinity Maps, MVP Chart, Userflow, Paper Prototyping, Storyboarding, Personas, Wireframing, High Fidelity Digital Prototypes, Presentation, Teamwork.
The Research: We started off with researching the Hotel Booking space and tried to do a competitive analysis with Holiday Inn competitors such as Marriott, TripIt, etc. On one end we found that hotel websites only allow singular booking (one person has to book everything) and on the other end we found trip planning apps that would organize all travel information into one place.
We interviewed 6 business travelers, 5 hotel employees, and received responses from 54 people who took our survey.
All the information collected from this research points that:
- Most people do their own travel booking because hotel points are important to them
- Traveling as a group brings up problems with coordination
- They would like a way to keep track of fellow travelers
- They book mostly on desktop rather on on mobile phone
After creating the affinity diagram, our vision for the new Holiday Inn feature started to solidify.
The Problem: As the designated coordinator for a business trip, I need to effectively manage team travel, so that everyone is on the same page and able to focus on their work.
Our Solution: To design a system that will allow a travel coordinator to centralize the hotel selection process and share reservation details and booking status to all members of a business traveling team.
Personas: As we start to build out the userflow and talk out the screens, 2 types of users began to form. The first user is the Trip Coordinator, this user would be the one to create the group and invite other business travelers to join. The second user is the Traveler, the employee that would be receiving the group invite to complete his/her booking. We made the decision to focus on the first user because the group creation and invite process would be the most important. I sketched out the two types of personas as well as included them into the storyboard.
Making the tough decisions: With the Personas in mind, we started to list out all the features that would make Holiday Inn's business traveler group booking a valuable and enjoyable experience. It started out with the essentials such as changing trips, notification/email invites to the less important important features such as social calendars or a way to see what the check in wait time is. We had too many ideas and suggestions which seemed to cloud our focus on what's important. To help us make these decisions, I made an MVP chart.
Userflow: After we prioritized what features would go in, a userflow was made for both the Trip Coordinator and the Traveler. This chart shows that the Trip Status screen would be the shared and most important screen.
Sketching: There were multiple rounds of sketching, both on my own and together as a group. Using the Design Studio method, we were able to quickly collaborate to create the Trip Status page that everyone agreed on.
Paper Prototyping: We went with the Digital Paper Prototype method for our first round of testing. I was designated with the Search and Reservation Check Out portion of the Trip Coordinator Userflow. Users that tested our product gave valuable feedback such as inconsistencies with copy, how some features looked too clickable, and that they didn't know where they were in the process.
Iteration 2 and Digital Paper Prototyping: After we received user feedback, we went back to make adjustments to the designs. I revisited the Search page to include the progress bar and "View More" dropdown. We then continued with more user testing and received more input on how certain sections look too much like buttons, and that certain changes and events seemed too sudden. This left the user confused as to what action just occurred.
Final Iteration / Digital Interactive Prototype: Following the user feedback we received in Iteration 2, we added modals to crucial actions such as "Send Travel Invites" and "Remove Traveler" to give the user more assurance. To add more polish to the final screens, we worked to make sure the screens (created by different people) were as consistent as possible. The status bar was updated so that it ended with "Book Room" to show users what their last necessary action is. Extra screens were added to create a more realistic working website such as the Active / Past trips toggle, and an Edit Your Reservation page.
Conclusion: I learned from a multiple rounds of testing that users often require some sort of indication of their status when completing a task, especially if that task spans through multiple web pages. Whether it's a progress bar or a grey icon turned green, having some sort of status indicator prevents the user from uncertainties throughout the workflow. This was also a lesson on teamwork as we also had inconsistencies in copy. For example in one iteration the booking location was set to Boston, and in the next screen it was set to San Francisco. It's a very small and seemingly harmless difference but this turned out to be a big point in confusion for prototype testers.
- Exploration of the Mobile version, whether in a mobile responsive design or a native mobile app.
- Extra features such as special request amenities (baked goods upon arrival, champagne for the group, etc.)
- Group Itineraries such as social calendars, meetings, and group dinners