MELBOURNE MATE

Melbourne Mate is an innovative tourist app concept for the City of Melbourne. Known as ‘the worlds most livable city’, Melbourne’s has a hidden beauty that is not always easy to find. Melbourne Mate is your local guide you keep with you all the time, it uses beacon technology to give you timely tips and advice, ensuring you leave having lived the ‘local experience’.

Client
My Services
Year

General Assembly Case Study
UX Design, UI Design
2016

CASE STUDY


Market feedback indicated that whilst City of Melbourne’s current tourism content
is informative, it fails to truly engage visitors by serving them up relevant content
in a helpful and engaging way, and does not allow them to shape their own experience.

The brief was to reimagine their digital offering targeted at their largest tourist
demographic, short stay visitors. Enhance the view of Melbourne as an easy,
interesting short break destination – where you can indulge your passions –
to explore, experience and be entertained.

The City of Melbourne would like visitors to be able to tailor their experience according to life stage
and trip duration, and also plan and book their stay.

Team: 3 Designers.

My Role: Prototyping, UI Design , Wireframing, Apple Watch (all)
MVP, User Testing, Contextual Enquiry, Research, User Flows, Persona, Onboarding.

DISCOVERY

INITIAL RESEARCH


The first step was to understand the demographic and behaviours of the interstate visitors to Melbourne. I researched quantitative data from Tourism Victoria and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

DEMOGRAPHICS


Research showed that our target demographic was:

  • Aged primarily 25-44
  • Traveling alone or in a couple
  • Staying 1-3 nights
  • Majority were repeat visitors

We could now conduct user research to discover and understand the motivation and influences of this demographic.


USER EMPATHY


I developed a persona to reinforce the empathy with the user and help understand their motivations and pain points when visiting Melbourne.


SURVEY

As a group we thought that an app would be the best product to use in order to engage an interstate traveller whist in Melbourne. We conducted a survey in order to validate this assumption before we proceeded. Our results showed…

92%


100%


85%


Ask friends & family for recommendations.

Prefer local insights & tips.

Prefer to download app than visit a website.


COMPARITIVE ANALYSIS


In order to get a more detailed understanding of competitor products we asked users to perform typical tasks (for tourists) to highlight the good points and pain-points of each.

Sydney
Melbourne
Western Australia
London

HEURISTIC EVALUATION


In order to get a more detailed understanding of competitor products we asked users to perform typical tasks (for tourists) to highlight the good points and pain-points of each. They awarded each a mark out of ten and then the average score is shown in the results.

INSIGHTS


We found that higher rating apps had certain things in common:

  • Simple to use
  • Sense or mood of the city
  • Easy to explore a variety of categories

We also tested AirBnb Neighbourhoods as we initially thought that searching via suburbs or neighbourhoods would be a great concept for our app. However, the user testing showed this concept rated low so we shelved the idea.


MELBOURNE RESEARCH

WHAT MAKESMELBOURNE MELBOURNE?


We wanted the app to set it’s self apart from other tourists apps, we needed to understand what makes Melbourne unique.

Hidden Beauty…
Unlike other cities in the world, Melbourne has no Eiffel Tower or Harbour Bridge. Melbourne key selling point has always been it’s livability and hidden beauty. It’s about food, wine, art culture, things that you only fully discover after spending time here.

CONTEXTUAL ENQUIRY


We went to a variety of tourist locations in order to observe and interview visitors to get an understanding what their image of Melbourne was.

We learned from the interviews that visitors highly valued tips and recommendations from locals, and this advice resulted in a better tourist experience.

They also placed more value on wandering the city to discover it at their own pace rather than a planned itinerary.

Airbnb 'Live There'.


During the project I attended a local meet-up where Eva Ross, the Head of Business Operations for Airbnb Australia & NZ, was speaking. She mentioned an interesting statistic, something that supported our user research and that we would take into account when designing the app…

86% of Airbnb users say they use Airbnbbecause they want to live more like a local.


DEFINE

THE PROBLEM


As a short stay visitor to Melbourne,
I want timely local tips and advice to experience Melbourne like a local,
so I have a rich and uniquely Melbourne experience.

THE OPPORTUNITY


  • Unearth Melbourne's hidden beauty.
  • Engage visitors with the city.
  • Give them 'the local experience'.
  • Encourage returns visits.
  • Enhance Melbourne as an easy, interesting short break destination.

IDEATION

DESIGN STUDIO


Our design studio was a great success and we emerged with a clear direction for the app.
User research indicated that visitors valued the idea of having spontaneous experiences and not spending their whole trip planning, so we decided to remove itinerary planning features in favour of beacon technology. This would allow the app send the user local tips and hints in real time on location.

CUSTOMISED EXPERIENCE


Many tourist apps were serving up a cookie cutter tourist experience, offering the same holiday to everyone. We wanted users to be able to customise the types of notifications and information they received.

We added a slider that would allow them to personalise the content they received, at one end is ‘touristy’ and the opposite end ‘local’. This could also ensure repeat use of the app on multiple visits.

UNIQUE FEATURES


Below is an explanation of the apps unique features that we would explore throughout the project.

BEACON TECHNOLOGY


Never miss out on a great laneway bar,the best single origin coffeeor a hidden food truck......even if it's your first day in Melbourne.
BLE (bluetooth low energy) technology will allow visitors to wander Melbourne at their leisure. Proximity based tips and information will be sent directly to them, providing a more authentic and ambient experience, without their face buried in their device.

TOUR GUIDE FEATURE


Discover Melbourne in your own time......and your own pace.
The personal tour guide feature allows you to discover interesting sights in the city at anytime of the day, by listening to a curated audio tour on location through your mobile device. Whether it’s a graffitied laneway or a war memorial you can immerse yourself in the attraction’s unique story.

PERSONALISE YOUR EXPERIENCE


As local as you like.
With an easy and fun to use slider interface, Melbourne Mate lets you customise the content you receive from the application, from ‘touristy’ to living like a local. This can be adjusted at any time during your stay ensuring that every time you visit there will be new things to see and do.

PROOF OF CONCEPT

LEAN VALIDATION


Before I went into wireframing I realised I could test the validity of the beacon technology feature from an experience perspective. This was important as it was the key feature of the apps concept (replacing the itinerary feature with a more spontaneous experience). If this failed to be a great experience for the user then we could pivot early in the design process.

MVP


I recreated this feature by following test users around the city and sending them text messages with google maps pinned with links and a description of good local hot spots and advice.

I tested with two tourists and one local and the response was very positive and validated the beacon feature. The local user even said that they would use the app as a local to discover new bars and eateries within the city.


INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

DEFINING ONTOLOGY


We performed an open sort via Optimal Sort to find out what categories users would expect to find tourist activities and locations in. We found there was no obvious pattern so we selected our own categories based on competitor analysis and performed a closed sort to validate this.


USER FLOWS


I created three user flows for typical user scenarios that visitors would find themselves in:

  1. Beacon Technology notification flow
  2. ‘Explore’ feature flow
  3. ‘What’s On’ feature flow

This allowed us to empathise with their situation and pin-point what tasks they would need to perform within the app.


RAPID PROTOTYPING


The first step was to wireframe and get our sketches into a prototype as soon as possible. This allowed us to iron-out the basic screen flow of the app and make sure nothing was missing.

USER TESTING & ITERATION


Getting the wireframes in front of users straight away allowed us to test the logic of the features and flow. Insights and adjustments included:

  • Adding left & right swipe gestures for slider
  • Adding multiple languages
  • Adjusting the choreography
  • Adjusting the flow for Tour Guide Feature

MED-FI WIREFRAMES

MEDIUM FIDELITYWIREFRAMING


Increasing the fidelity of the wireframes allowed us to add the settings and language features and solidify the choreography of the app for further testing.


TESTING DIFFERENTUSER FLOWS


Once again, getting the wireframes in front of users allowed us to test the logic of the features and flow and see if there were any major issues.

MAJOR INSIGHTS

ONBOARDING

RATINGS

OFFLINE MAPS

The absence of any onboarding really made it hard for the users to understand the unique features of the tourist app, and how to use it to it’s potential.

The absense of a rating  feature for the local attractions was a common theme in the testing. We had purposely left a rating system out to minimise the features but it was clear this was important to the users.

Something we had also not considered was the option of downloading offline maps to save on wifi usage for travelers. This was something we had overlooked and positive new addition to the app.

ONBOARDING

EDUCATINGTHE USERS


We had not heavily considered the onboarding at this point as we new that this was going to be a very important part of the experience, as the app did not function as a typical tourist app.

We needed to educated the user on 3 things:

  • Beacon Technology
  • ‘Local experience’ customisation slider
  • Swipe gestures for settings

TESTING & ITERATION


Insights & Improvements:

  • The copy needed to be improved
  • Needed to add images to reinforce the copy

After iterating and testing we got much better feedback that users new how to use the app once they progressed through the onboarding.


PERMISSIONS


For the app’s primary features to function it was vital to gain permissions for the following:

  • Notifications (beacon technology ‘Tips’ and ‘What’s On’)
  • Location data (beacon technology ‘Tips’ and ‘What’s On’)
  • Download offline maps (for users with limited wifi)

USER TESTING


The original idea was just to have pop-ups at the initial opening stage of the app, and we user tested.

Insight:
User testing showed some major issues:

  • Users were annoyed by the succession of pop-ups.
  • Left a poor first impression.
  • Users were not educated on why they needed to give these permissions and therefore most denied access.

EDUCATING USERS


To combat this issues we had to first educate the user on the importance and benefits of the features the permissions would enable. We decided to give the users more context by placing the notification and location pop-ups within the app whilst the user was using those features.

Insight from user testing:

  • The conversion rate of allowance was 100% with 5 users
  • The pop-ups were not annoying.

TAKING IT HI-FI


SMART WATCH APP


As a focal point of the app was to create a product that engaged visitors with the city, where they didn’t spend all their time in the app planning their itinerary, it seemed a missed opportunity not to create a smart watch app that would only support this idea further.

  • locals loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SITE MAP & FLOW


It was clear that the watch app could only have limited functionality compared to iOS app and should focus on serving content based on locality as people would unlikely be using it to search for at event the following day. The smart watch app focussed on in-the-moment tips and advice for attractions in the users direct proximity.

PROOF OF CONCEPT& TESTING LOGIC


I created a cardboard watch MVP to test the logic of the flow with 3 users.

Flow changes:
I found I needed to make many changes to the flow and it needed to be much simpler than the iOS app.

Screen changes:
The real estate of the screen is so small the prioritising space was an issue. Testing with the users made me realise what features where important with the watch app and which ones I could remove.

I focussed the app on notifications and ‘nearby’ attractions I based the app around the 4 tabs categories from the iOS app, Explore, What’s On, Favourites and Map

WIREFRAMING


Medium-fidelty wireframing allowed me to get a better understanding of the screen realestate I had and how the features would fit into this.

I also realised that there was vital information about the attractions that I needed to add or refine such as:

  • Distance to location
  • Opening hours
  • Directions feature

TESTING LOGIC


User testing indicated that several adjustments were required:

  • Needed to add a favourites button
  • Needed to add a flow for Audio Tour Guide
  • Needed to adjust descriptions

TAKING IT HI-FI


The first step was create the high-fidelity prototype. I then user tested this again and another small adjustment was made to the description layout.

MEASURING SUCCESS


It’s important to know how to measure the success of the app, the following metrics will allow us to gauge it’s success.
  • Increase Interstate visitors numbers to Melbourne
  • Number of app downloads
  • Increased visits to recommended activities & attractions
  • Social media impact
  • App analytics

ENSURING SUCCESS

MARKETING CAMPAIGN


Our brief also suggested that our app was to be apart of a wider campaign to increase interstate travel to Melbourne. We thought the campaign would be a great way to promote the unique customisable ‘local’ feature of the app.
This was the main feature that separated our app from other tourist apps, and would ensure the visitor had a memorable engaging stay.

Mood Board.


WHAT'S NEXT?


  • Research more commercial benefits:
    • partnering with local businesses
    • Advertising
  • Test the star review feature further
  • Social media integration and sharing