HundredRooms is a vacation rental search aggregator that makes holiday planning easier for consumers. The site enables users to compare properties and prices from more than 100 platforms in a single search so they can make sure they book at the lowest price.
I was asked to evaluate the usability of the site to identify opportunities for improvement.
We need to understand our users and develop a valuable product for them
I worked mainly with the software engineer and the marketing team to understand the product requirements. I gathered information from the target audience.
I conducted stakeholders interviews, user testing, personas and competitor analysis. I led information architecture, low-fidelity and high-fidelity designs, and clickable prototyping.
I conducted a user research focused on two targets: those who used to travel with their families and those whom travel with their friends. What are their motivations when renting an apartment?, how do they plan their holidays?, which sites do they use and how?, is the current design covering their expectations and needs?
Families with kids, one of the primary users, struggle more when renting the right accommodation for children. Essential features like the number of beds, accessibility to the apartment or if the crib is included, are a must to know for them.
I would like to specify if I have children or not
In the research, users with children expended more time to find an apartment, since essential information for them wasn't displayed in the main list and it was in the apartment page only.
To reduce the scope of the project, I focused the research on solving the following problem statement:
Erica needs a way to identify if the accommodation is suitable for families, because she has two kids.
We believe that by asking users how many children / infants are travelling with them, Erica will find results easily since we can display the accommodations more appropriate for their family (by adding crib, accessibility, …).
Also HundredRooms will have more information of who their users are and their needs. As well as to validate the assumption about that families is their main target. We will know this to be true when we observe that Y% of the searches have children and/or infants.
Thought the Low fidelity prototypes and testing task scenarios I realised that the new feature was welcoming by everyone (even for those without children).
I implemented the participant’s feedback to improve the design by removing unnecessary information and reviewing the content hierarchy.
Having the team in the same page: stakeholders validation. We agreed that the implementation could be possible. We’d need to work on feature prioritisation, personalise the experience for families and sort the results according to their needs.
This would bring a valuable information for HundredRooms and their users.
The research brought insights to save development time and minimising the risk of failing.
The new feature allows gathering more information about who is the audience, their needs and data to personalise their experience.
A few months later (summer 2016) Airbnb implemented the same feature, which reaffirms the decision.