MeetUP is an event planning app for friends and family that allows easy organization of events and their attendees. What makes MeetUP unique is that the app uses location tracking to let the host know how far away you are before attending an event. In addition to this, guests can choose to have their location monitored on their route home, as an added safety precaution.
Even in the connected world we live in today, managing events can be a hassle. As a team we sought to create a better experience for both guests and hosts while event planning. One of the key areas that we identified as needing improvement was communication between host and guest.
How might we facilitate better communication between host and guest?
Our proposal was an event planning app to improve communication between host and guest. It would leverage GPS technology to allow the host to see their guests locations in real time, as well as manage their events. Based off this premise, we began conducting user research to test our assumptions and learn more about our target audience.
After deciding on a visual direction for MeetUp as a group, I worked on the implementation of that direction in the design of the ui. I lead all facets of the prototyping that we used for usability testing. In addition to this, after conducting the testing, I helped to develop strategic solutions to the various flaws we found in our design.
The target audience for our application is rather broad, ranging from teenagers to young adults, and even extending into some older adults. As a result of such a large audience, the language used in the app should be simple and friendly. Our app’s vision for the user is to ensure a safe journey to and from the event, and to improve communication between host and guest.
One of the main activities associated with our app is the location tracking feature. Hosts will be able to see their guests location in real time as an event is occurring. This location tracking feature will be functional whether the user is connected to a network or offline.
The app should use notifications to convey information, allowing the user to check the app less often. The host should be the only one able to edit an event and access location data. With an app that uses personal data so heavily, privacy and anonymity are two major concerns.
The app should leverage existing GPS technology, as well as SMS and calling features on the phone to allow for offline communication during an event. Existing google maps technology can be used to calculate the estimated time of arrival for the guests.
When interviewing our target audience, there were a number of areas we wanted to look into. Privacy was probably the most prominent issue we wanted to discuss with people. We found out most younger people we comfortable sharing their location as long as it was for close gatherings between friend and family they knew. We found out from people that messaging was a crucial aspect in organizing events. We also found out that their were additional details about events that people wanted to have communicated to them upfront such as gifts, BYOB, dietary restrictions, dress code, etc.
After conducting our user research and talking to people about event planning, we developed a few personas that represent our target market.
Danny is a 21 year old university student with an interest in technology and who enjoys going out with friends regularly. He has a part time job that allows him enough income to go out on weekends. He is constantly struggling to find out which of his friends will drive.
Debbie is a 35 year old stay at home mother of two boys. She is constantly planning and attending parties and functions with her children. She constantly struggles with knowing whether to bring a gift or if there are any dietary restrictions.
Jessica is a 25 year old working professional. She earns enough income to allow her to go out regularly in her city. She knows the city well enough but still sometimes manages to get lost while meeting up with friends.
User Interface Design
With such a large target audience, we wanted to create a visual language that would appeal to many different types of people both young and old. We sought to reflect the enjoyment people experience while attending and hosting events in our design direction. As such we decided on a bright, playfully colour palette, with a simple flat design style. This visual direction evolved as we continuously refined the screens.
After we had a solid direction for MeetUp and had created working prototypes, we developed a list of tasks for users to complete using the app. We were seeking to find out how people felt about certain areas such as navigation, event management, personal settings, map interaction and RSVP options. After conducting this testing and interviewing the participants, we came up with a number of flaws that had to be addressed in the app.
- The colour coordination of events on the calendar screen was confusing to some people
- Some people had difficulty navigating to their event invitations, and as a result we changed the main dashboard to incorporate it
- People expected to be able to see guests time of arrival when tapping on their map icon, m which is a feature we decided to incorporate
- Some people also had difficulty navigating the guest list tab at the bottom of the map screen and as a result we changed the design of it.
- Swiping to invite was confusing for some people, but as we relived a lot of positive feedback after explaining it to people, we decided to add an on boarding tutorial rather than change it
I learned a lot on this project about teamwork and working together through the process of creating a digital application. Conducting user research and usability testing were probably the two areas of the process where I learned the most. Overall I am proud of the work we did as a team and of our final design.