A startup company has launched a product that helps people gather and meet new friends. However, the company’s location data shows that, on average, only 20% of users who say they’re going to attend a gathering end up showing up to the event.
Figure out what feature(s) the company should add so that the number of attendees who commit to going is more closely aligned with the number of actual attendees.
• Increase the appeal of event listings to decrease the no-show rate
• Make it more straightforward for event organizers to create inspiring events
UX/UI Designer and Researcher
To understand the problem space better and keep in mind my main goal of getting attendees to show up, I conducted secondary research and discovered the following:
When it comes to forming bonds, consistency breeds trust
Structured interactions are often lost when people move to new cities or graduate from college
Gatherings that are built around shared activities or a common goal create more interaction amongst attendees
A good host can play an important role in the success of a gathering by setting the tone of the event in the invitation, reaching out directly to attendees, sharing an agenda, and setting a participant limit if necessary
Charging a small fee can increase the likelihood of people showing up
Virtual community interaction ahead of the event can make prospective new attendees feel more welcome and comfortable
Next, I scoped out some of the industry experts who had tackled similar problems to my own. I took a look at leading hosting platforms such as Eventbrite, Meetup, and Facebook Groups to gain a better sense of what was working well on these apps in addition to what was lacking or potentially causing friction. Based on what I learned, I created action items to inform my own design decisions moving forward.
Option to favorite events
Share function is available on every listing
Option to add to calendar
Ticket process could be good in that it makes the user feel more committed
Photos increase legitimacy, but the stock photos don’t create much connection
The user can’t view who is going or how many people are attending
The contact information in the checkout process could result in a higher bounce rate
Encourage photos on listings that show real people at an event or photos of the hosts
Show the user people you know who are going to the event, attendee profiles, or allow user to see how many people will be attending
Create a personalized message after the event ticket has been purchased thanking the user and saying something like “we look forward to seeing you at....”
While keeping in mind the action items from my competitive analysis, I created a user flow to showcase the various steps a user might take to complete their tasks while using the service. Also, given what I had learned from my secondary research about the role of the host, I decided to make it a platform centered around the hosting aspect of gatherings.
Low Fidelity Designs
Next, I translated my user flows into low fidelity form. Hosts would go through a step-by-step process that would encourage them to thoughtfully and thoroughly consider the most important details of their event. They would also be able to browse gatherings for inspiration and join events that they're interested in as well.
Usability Testing Round 1
To help me understand the kind of problems users might run into when interacting with my product, I conducted a round of usability testing on my lofi prototype. Because creating a gathering was a relatively straightforward, step-by-step process, the issues that arose from these testing sessions were mainly minor.
“I felt like there were a lot of steps and prompts for the host to fill out. I’m not sure why, as a host, I should include my personal interests for others to see.”
“The ticket pricing area is a little confusing.”
“Oh, this continues. What do I put here?”
[on priming your guests section]
Creating a Company Name & UI Style
Before designing my high fidelity mockups, I had to get a sense of what the aesthetic direction of this product would be and assign it an appropriate brand name. I sought out a color palette and UI elements that were bright and friendly and would create a sense of care, familiarity, humor, and optimism. Initially, I planned on calling the app “CommuniTea” but as I designed the platform, the name evolved into “Gather” to more accurately convey the essence of the product.
High Fidelity Designs
Keeping in mind user pain points from my first round of usability testing, I began designing the high fidelity mockups of Gather. I made some minor functionality adjustments that felt appropriate such as adding radio buttons, a slider function on one page, and a toggle function on another.
I decided to allow users to preview their listings before officially publishing which would prevent them from needing to backtrack in order to make edits. There were also some frames that could be consolidated or eliminated altogether so I went ahead and tweaked them. Lastly, when users are exploring or browsing other listings, a hovering “add” button is there for them to easily create a new gathering.
Usability Testing Round 2
After creating my first iteration of high-fidelity frames, I conducted a second round of usability testing. Most problems that participants encountered during these sessions were more based on the minutiae of the app and represented user preferences rather than confusion on the part of the user.
Examples of Modifications
I added a "message host" option for prospective or returning attendees to contact the host for any questions they might have. Additionally, next to the host's photo the user can find her verified credentials—a detail to contribute to the event's legitimacy.
I separated the upcoming gatherings page into two tabs: "hosting" and "joining" to clearly demarcate which gatherings were being hosted by the user and which ones they had joined as attendees. I also moved the hovering "add gathering" icon to the lower right corner above the navigation bar to free up more real estate for appropriate navigational icons.
I added a separate input box for users to type and enter in their hobbies and interests. After typing and entering, the words would then show up in the larger box with hovering "delete" icons next to them. This would give users a clearer visual representation of their tags and an easier way to edit if needed.
After making several modifications based on my usability test findings, I managed to create a more polished iteration of my prototype.
Reflections & Next Steps
Overall, users seemed to appreciate the tips that were offered throughout the “create a gathering” process and considered them helpful in learning how to properly host. These pointers clarified to the user what details to include to create an event that was thorough and well understood by the attendees. Some users did express that they might prefer having a “skip” option for certain steps that they could possibly return back to later.
Taking the position of the “host” was an interesting one. It allowed me to reflect on what factors might motivate a complete stranger to take a chance and show up to an in-person event despite knowing no one. I discovered that when it comes to hosting, being intentional, thoughtful, detailed, and engaged from start to finish—meaning from the moment of invitation to the actual gathering itself—seemed key to creating a successful gathering.
If I were to expand further on this project, I'd explore the following:
Adding an animation feature to make the onboarding process more interactive and to create more immediate feedback
Look for more opportunities to sustain virtual community interactions
Create engaging user profiles
Allow for the chance to co-host events