A UX Research Project
Exploring the experience of users who book group activities online and a small business who handles those special requests.
During a Foundations of UX Research design course (MICA User Experience MPS), we were tasked with executing a research project. We were asked to choose an existing product and perform a series of user interviews on a particular feature to uncover issues and recommend improvements.
The Table Less Traveled (TTLT)
One of TTLT main products is customizable in-person and virtual, food-based activities for groups. Activities can be researched and booked via phone or online via the TTLT website. The target audience for this product include individuals who plan activities for both businesses or casual get-togethers.
Research Goal: Uncover areas of the booking process that could be easier and faster for both the customers and The Table Less Traveled team.
Problem Statement: How might we retain the value of highly customized, virtual group cooking classes group events while also limiting The Table Less Traveled team’s overhead required to consult with each customer?
Since the process of booking contains both consumer and business interactions, I made sure to include both types of users in my pool of interviewees. To source interviewees, I took an old fashioned word of mouth approach. While this was not ideal and may have caused some biased, it was what I could do given time and budget constraints of a school project.
The customer group included individuals who often booked online activities in Walking or Bus/Tours, Food Tours, Online Team Building Activities or Cooking Classes.
The business (or employee) group included individuals who worked in and managed bookings for Walking/Bus Tours, Cooking Classes and Hotel Bookings.
Participants were of various ages and gender and had on-demand access to devices with internet.
Interviews were about 30-60 minutes long and held over Zoom calls.
Of customers interviewed are highly influenced by other customer reviews in all stages of their journey.
The customers interviewed did not have any consistent parameters for searching for or finding their event – always “depends.”
Of customers believed that online booking should be able to be done without the need to talk to anyone.
Of customers interviewed have had a terrible experience booking online.
Of them, 75% have experienced becoming so frustrated to the point of giving up when technology didn’t work the way they expected it to.
All participants expressed a strong trust in technology when used correctly.
Of Employees interviewed:
Preferred to be doing other types of tasks.
Felt that the process to manage inquiries was too manual. Had a good idea of how their tools were currently used, but were not aware of their capabilities.
Bad UI turns causes detrimental frustration.
Inconveniences such as taking too long to load, too many clicks, wrong input often interrupt the booking flow
What did other people like me (user) think?
Regardless of if an activity is what they want or what a consultant might say, a customer will rely heavily on other customer reviews to make a purchase.
“I want to book it now.” “I want my options now.”
If a reply takes too long or the customer needs to wait on the business in order to complete a booking, the chances of closing a sale are less.
Technology = good, bots pretending to be people = bad.
Digital means of booking is well received. However, automations disguised as real people are NOT received well.
Disparate set of tools.
To cut down on costs, smaller companies use a collection of tools that take a bit more effort to coordinate or integrate.
Inability to provide instant recommendations.
Surveys and inquiries include questions to help narrow down options, but tech often doesn’t allow for instant recommendations.
Results in a cleaner funnel, but it also causes limited man power and missed opportunities. Requests deemed as not high return are not followed up on.
Repeat customers and positive brand recognition.
Interacting with potential customers is still valued by the business. These customers often write better reviews and provide more referrals.
Recommendations and Next Steps
How might we reduce the gap between a customer’s inquiry and decision?
- Identify and Eliminate UI Roadblocks
- Carefully Craft a Set Screening Questions/Criteria to…
- Provide Immediate and Useful Responses
- Use Technology Transparently
- Continue Gathering User Feedback
How might we revisit internal processes and take steps increase efficiency?
- Assess the Integration of Our Tools
- Balance Automation and Human Interaction
View the Presentation Deck for additional information on Competitive Analysis, Project Constraints, and Quotes from User Research.