This is a team project for a 2-day design hackathon. We had a cross-functional team of 5, comprised of 3 developers and 2 designers. We proposed a location-based automatic check-in feature for frequent hotel guests in addressing check-in frustration. As a result, we were one of the winning team out of 4.
Just Check In
O V E R V I E W
S O L U T I O N
Analytical Thinker | Inquisitive Explorer | Art-lover
P R O C E S S
“Yes and” Exercise
C O N T R I B U T I O N
During the research phase, I advocated creating a persona based on empathy map to help team build empathy and align us with whom we are trying to help. I defined the problem accurately, helping us to be clear about what we are trying to solve.
During the brainstorming phase, I led the ideation session and give tips on how to generate ideas. When our team is excited about one, I advocate running another ideation session to come out more ideas before we go deep into one idea.
We want to design a better way for to .
The aim of this session was to identify product opportunity gap. Using the equation above, we need to fill out the blank which are whom we would solve for and what we would solve.
Initial Problem Validation
Among given areas including the hospitality, customer services and automotive fields. Our team chose the hospitality industry since we all had hotel experiences and naturally easier for us approach.
Usually, the next step is to conduct domain research to understand the whole picture of the hospitality industry from where we can identify product opportunity. However, for a 2-day design challenge, we had to spend our time wisely. So we approach it differently. Firstly, we recollected our own frustrating hotel experiences to getting a rough direction of the
problem area that we can go. Second, we conduct desktop research to validate, iterate and then come with our final problem statement.
As a result, we found that we shared similar frustration in hotel check-in delay. Through desktop research, we are convinced that solving this problem can bring value to both users and business.
To sum up, these statistics convinced us that:
Long-wait check-in is a big frustration for hotel guests and has a huge impact on hotel business.
There is a big market of time-saving check-in service.
Having a rough direction about what problem we are going to solve, we began to dive deep into it. From desktop research and contextual inquiry, we found that check-in delay is extremely frustrating for frequent hotel guests such as consultants. Thinking of them as our targeted group, we created the persona, did empathy map and mapping out their as-is hotel experience to better understand how they perceive hotel check-in frustration.
So we created a persona called Joshua. Keywords of him are frequent hotel guests, jam-packed consultant and time-runner. This is his full story.
Further, we mapped out Joshua’s hotel experience including four stages: land, check-in, first-time room experience, stay and check-out.
By mapping as-is user journey, we realized that for Joshua, his frustration is not only coming from check-in delay but also first-time room setup experience that he has to familiarize himself every time he goes to a hotel. More importantly, the underlying problem of these two stages is same, that is the unfamiliarity leading to time-wasting experience.
So we refined our problem statement. We expanded our problem scope from only focusing on check-in to including room setup experience. In total, I called them on-boarding experience. So, we refined our goal into speeding up hotel on-boarding experience.
How to speed up hotel onboarding experience?
After the first stage, we concluded our goal as to address unfamiliarity in hotel on-boarding experience. So we conducted
an informed brainstorming session during which I led and facilitated ideation.
This is our ideation map. We generated ideas from 4 angles systematically.
This is how I facilitate our ideation session. There is a saying that if you can’t solve a problem, you eliminate this problem.
So, firstly, I asked our team following questions to help us generate ideas.
How can we make on-boarding actually fast?
How can we make on-boarding feel fast?
Can users just check-in and stay without familiarizing themselves?
And then I advocated that we could think from medium’s perspective by asking ourselves what in the hotel can we make better use? The last angle is to encourage us to think out of the box and generate crazy ideas by imagining a futuristic hotel experience.
During this ideation session, developers in our team really speed up the process by voicing technical feasibility. So that we can either further develop them and produce possible solutions, or eliminate them because of their low feasibility. Eventually, we narrowed our ideas down to the following 4 concepts.
We evaluated each concept from different perspectives such as ease of adoption, technical feasibility, user need desirability, and hoteliers’ interest. Eventually, we agreed on combining the 1st concept and 4th concept to provide location-based check-in service and seamless guide to speed up the hotel on-boarding process.
However, to fully develop this concept, we need to address its potential concerns first. Two main concerns of this concept are user adaptation and hotel customization.
Build, test, learn and repeat
After clear about our concept, I and another designer started to streamline our thoughts and implement the design. We use Loop Hotel(imaginary) as a subject hotel to build on our ideas.
For user flow, I begin to think what flow is most efficient for our guests who are always in a hurry and values his or her time. The ideal check-in process is that when they walk in, they are checked-in.
While creating user flow, I started from the core flow(represented by the purple rectangle) and then think about other scenarios even edge cases to complete the flow. These are some considerations that eventually drive iteration and enable completion.
User flow map serves as a blueprint of to-be user experience, based on which we can easily develop the wireframe. These are wireframes I created and critiqued.
Eventually, I build an interactive prototype to communicate our concept.
WHAT I LEARNED
This two-day design hackathon is a short but rewarding experience, I got a chance to know how it looks like to work with PM and developers, which convinced me that my interdisciplinary background offers me an edge in teamwork performance. To be specific, the key to a successful collaboration is to think of developers and product manager as your design partner. They are actually strong partners who always show you different perspectives and keep you inspired.
Besides, during our pitch, we were frequently asked about our concept’s business model, revenue model and so on. And I realized that as Thomas J. Watson said “good design is good business”, I think designers need to have a business mindset and aim to deliver not only delightful experience for users but also market-differentiated experience.
Thanks our great Team Loop and super helpful coach Michelle and Oliver! It’s been awesome to work with all of you!