UX Research. UX Design. Usability Testing.
Their website was old and wonky. We empathized, defined, ideated, prototyped, tested and gave a persuasive presentation.
TIMELINE: Two Weeks
TEAM: Two UX Designers and a UX Researcher
PROBLEM: The site was outdated, campground browsing was confusing, and checkout was problematic
- Interview Users: To better understand the problem, we collectively interviewed 8 current users from across the country.
- Collect Findings and Define: We pooled findings and identified themes. I constructed 4 key personas based on camping psychographics.
- Learn the Industry: We used a comparative and competitive analysis to better understand similar and well-done user flows and functions.
- Ideate Solutions: Based on user and market research, we redesigned two key user flows: browsing campgrounds and checking out. Additionally, we adjusted the information architecture to incorporate site improvements.
- Craft Prototype, Test, and Present: We collectively Sketched redesign wireframes and put together a prototype that we tested with 8 users who had experience booking campsites.
Qualitative research for a website redesign to solve user struggles
Sunrise Reservations, a SaaS website for campground booking, needed a website redesign to improve key user flows and overall usability. I led user research to better understand user needs. Through eight in-depth user interviews, I found key insights:
To increase user engagement, I worked with two UX designers to ideate solutions, craft a research-informed prototype and led usability studies to evaluate.
Step 1: Explore the problem space
First, we created a discussion guide to assess their current experience. We were able to recruit participants from a pool of current users and conduct remote, phone interviews. We conducted a total of eight in-depth interviews and a few clear themes emerged.
- Many current users scavenge blogs, Yelp, Google, etc. to find images of the campsite.
- Users want to understand the campground layout before choosing and often struggled with the toggle map.
- People also scavenge the internet for campground reviews before making a selection.
- Like HipCamp or Airbnb, we suggested Sunrise should give photographers free stays in exchange for high-quality photos.
- It is crucial to provide an easy-to-use map to help users feel more confident in their campground selection.
- User reviews are important to customers and should be included on Sunrise reservations for increased credibility.
Step 2: Take user insights and create Persona design tools
In order to create web designs that reflected true user needs, I grouped and synthesized user findings. I took the goals, motivations, pain points, behaviors, and other relevant information and created primary and secondary user personas.
As a result, I was able to keep the business needs in focus AND optimize the online user experience.
Step 3: Conduct market research to assess similar and competing products
To better understand check-out flows, community engagement, and general information presentation, we began analyzing notable sites that use similar functions. We analyzed OpenTable (reservation software), Airbnb (for user experience), and Recreation.gov, based on user findings and familiarity.
We also discovered that Hip Camp, “the Airbnb of campgrounds,” gives photographers free campground stays in exchange for professional photos. We included this suggestion in our final client presentation.
Step 4: Identify pain points, ideate solutions, and design collaboratively
We had two weeks to create a research-based website redesign and provide a working prototype. I drafted a collaboration plan with a breakdown of deliverables and facilitated ongoing team discussion to ensure a thorough design cycle. As a result, we were able to conduct usability studies and make iterations before presenting to the clients.
Step 5: Update sitemap for more effective user flows
We decided to use a sitemap tool to help us better understand the layout of Sunrise and the reservation process. Seeing the navigation laid out in this overview helped us to identify the function of each page and see where we could synthesize.
Step 6: Browse campgrounds, book site, and modernize redesigns
Because reviews and photos were so important to users, the updated campground browsing flow includes a template for each campsite that requires a photo slideshow and user reviews. The new home page showcases images of top-rated parks.
During user interviews, we heard several complaints about the payment process that confirmed the stakeholders concerns. Specifically, there was no pre-confirmation breakdown to understand the total payment. The redesign includes a clear breakdown of the payment in the “confirm” section. This includes cost per night as well as any additional fees. The updated payment flow also includes a clear navigation for increased user control.
Payment step 1
Payment step 2
Payment step 3
Step 7: Conduct usability tests and iterate designs
With a working prototype, it was time for usability testing. I designed the usability study to focus on four key user tasks:
- Browse Campgrounds
- Book a Campsite
- Finalize Payment
- Create a Profile
Project at a Glance…
In conclusion, we presented our website analysis and design process to the clients, and we provided a working prototype along with actionable insights based on their UX goals.
- PROJECT SCOPE: They asked us to redesign the problematic check out process, to improve campground browsing usability, and to modernize the website.
- CHALLENGE: Reaching users from across the country on a tight timeline was challenging, so I requested an extended user list and persistently tracked all email and voicemail outreach efforts in a Google spreadsheet.
- STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS: Given more time, I would have conducted more stakeholder interviews to gain a more clear idea of past research and attempts to solve the problem and understanding of users and user needs.
- USABILITY TESTING: Given more time, I would conduct at least one or two more rounds of usability testing before creating a hi-fidelity mockup. Ideally, I would conduct one more formative study with 5 to 10 users to create more iterations. Then, I would set up a moderated, remote usability study using User Zoom with at least 50 users. I would test perceived effort and subjective satisfaction on a 5-point scale and also provide an optional commentary section for participants to explain their choices. This extended summative study would help me to provide concrete recommendations and results to engineering for a hi-fi prototype.