Social, Mobile App, Product Update, The Show Up Scene

Improve the conversion rate of RSVPs to attendees for this meetup-style app.

Hi-fi home screen mockup

Role: I was the sole UX researcher and UI/UX designer for fictional brand The Show Up Scene.

Introduction/Problem: The business team for a fictional startup for a meetup-style mobile app titled The Show Up Scene identified that, on average, only 20% of people who RSVP going actually end up attending events. Prior research demonstrated that users may not be receiving effective reminders about upcoming events. The business goal was to increase conversion of RSVPs to event attendees. A significant constraint was that there was no budget for attendance incentives.

Goal: Increase the conversion of RSVPs to attendees

Solution: The brief provided three lightweight wireframes of a mobile app for reference.

Tools: Figma, Figjam, Calendly, Zoom, Google Forms, Google Sheets

Outcomes:

  • Users stated they were more likely to attend events in-person after the improvements to the app.
  • Users agreed that the improved reminders for saved and RSVPd events were useful and thorough.
  • Users felt that the ease of changing their RSVP for a saved event via text message was beneficial.
  • Users were happy to complete star ratings of just-attended events, which in turn improved trust in the system for future events.
  • Users appreciated the sticker format of the reward for attendance.
  • Users were highly likely to complete a simple survey for an event they RSVPd for and failed to attend, thus providing valuable ongoing feedback.

Final Prototype:

.gif of hi-fi prototype

Link to Prototype Flow 1 (Figma)

Link to Prototype Flow 2 (Figma)

Project Plan

I constrained my work on the project to 90 hours, and I began by creating a project plan with six phases.

Image summarizing an iterative 6-Phase Design Thinking Process
Graphic outlining process

Phase 1. Discovery (17 hours allotted)

  • Write a research plan
  • Conduct research: Secondary Research, Survey, Remote User Interviews: 5 users, 30-minute interviews, remote via Zoom
  • Synthesize research: Summary, including an affinity diagram, user stories, and a persona

Phase 2. Design (17 hours allotted)

  • Design user flows
  • Design in low fidelity: wireframes, lo-fi prototype

Phase 3. Validate (5 hours allotted)

  • Write a test script
  • Conduct modified guerrilla usability testing: 5 users, 15-minute interviews, remote via Zoom
  • Synthesize research: Usability test report

Phase 4. Design (25 hours allotted)

  • Design a hi-fi mockup
  • Design a hi-fi prototype

Phase 5. Validate (11 hours allotted)

  • Modify test script from phase 3 with updates
  • Conduct usability testing: 5 users, 15-minute interviews, remote via Zoom
  • Synthesize research: Usability report

Phase 6. Design (15 hours allotted) 

  • Iterate on hi-fi mockups
  • Iterate on hi-fi prototype

Though I had budgeted up to 90 hours for the project, I ended up needing approximately ⅔ of that, 60 hours. The most significant time savings were realized because:

  • Both rounds of usability testing went faster than expected, taking less than half of the allotted time.
  • I moved from low-fidelity to medium-fidelity in the wireframes and prototype early on. That gave me a more well-developed product to iterate in high-fidelity.

Phase 1. Discovery

  • Research plan – I quickly developed a one-page research plan with an early focus on thorough research, including user interviews, to inform the product from the start.
  • Secondary Research – I researched Meetup, Eventbrite, and Facebook events, including analyzing their approaches to reminders for events. I also researched what solutions had been proposed and considered for potential solutions to address the business goal of increasing conversion of RSVP to actual attendance.
    • Full disclosure: I have organized and hosted events through each of these platforms before, so I had some existing familiarity as well.
  • Screener survey – Through social media (Facebook, Meetup, Twitter, and Instagram), I distributed a Google Forms screener survey to help recruit user interview participants.
  • Remote User Interviews – I used Zoom to conduct five 30-minute remote user interviews, recording them with participants’ permission, taking notes both during and after the interviews in Google Sheets.
  • Affinity Diagram – I quickly and easily converted the spreadsheet of notes into digital sticky notes in Figjam. That, in turn, made it very easy to do a digital affinity diagram, which helped me identify user priorities and rank the efficacy of possible avenues for a solution.
  • User stories – I developed user stories to ensure that the solution was focused on user needs and priorities, as well as business goals.
Screenshot of user stories in Google Sheets
  • User Persona – I developed a persona of Social Sam to serve as a touchstone to the user throughout the design phases of the project.
  • Research summary – I completed a one-page research summary with links to the research and synthesis documents.

Phase 2. Design

  • User flows – Referencing the user stories, I identified and designed four user flows relevant to the business goal.
  • Lo-Fi wireframes – Referencing the three lightweight wireframes provided with the brief, I began lo-fi wireframing.

Phase 3. Validate

  • Test script – I prepared a test script to minimize bias in questioning and to ensure each participant was asked the same questions.
  • Modified guerrilla usability testing – I interviewed five users, 15 minutes apiece, conducted remotely via Zoom. Due to the pandemic, it seemed unwise to attempt to conduct in-person guerrilla usability testing, so I considered this a modified form of guerrilla testing.
  • Usability test report – Using my interview notes, I prepared a usability report, identifying and prioritizing the critical, major, minor, and normal issues. I also outlined key findings and the top three issues, developing recommendations to resolve them.
Findings
  • Participants felt that a cute badge of some sort would be a nice reward for attending an event.
  • Participants agreed that, short of paying them somehow to incentivize attendance, it felt like the app and notifications were useful for getting them to attend events.
  • Participants liked the social option, see what events friends are attending.
Issue #1

When presented with the option to provide feedback after an event, all participants said they would likely only provide feedback after attending an event if things had gone badly/hadn’t gone as expected.

Recommendations:
  • Remove the feedback option.
  • Replace it with a star rating option, so that it’s quicker and easier for people to complete and so that it also builds trust in future events by the same organizer/host.
Issue #2

Participants were mixed on whether they would complete the survey if they hadn’t attended an event.

Recommendations:
  • Combine survey with “we noticed you didn’t attend” screen so there’s no extra click/screen to get to the survey.
  • Add a “skip” button to make it clear that users can skip the survey.
Issue #3

One out of five participants reacted strongly in a negative way to the notification settings defaulting to “on.” Four out of five users liked the options and felt they were comprehensive.

Recommendations:
  • Add a button for turning off/on all notifications in one action.
Table: Usability Report

Phase 4. Design

  • Design a hi-fi mockup – I iterated on my medium-fidelity wireframes to create hi-fi mockups, resolving a majority of the issues uncovered in phase three usability testing. The main fixes included:
    • Revising feedback option for attended events to a star rating
    • Increasing font size of text message mockups
    • Optimizing did-not-attend survey onto one screen and added a Skip button

Phase 5. Validate

  • Modify test script from phase 3 with updates – I revised the test script from the first round of usability testing to suit the changes that had since been implemented to the design.
  • Conduct usability testing – I conducted five 15-minute remote user interviews via Zoom.
  • Synthesize research – I prepared a usability report, identifying key findings from the second round of usability testing.
Findings
  • Participants were able to easily navigate all the essential tasks.
  • Participants unanimously said they would rate the event with the star rating available on the screen right after the event.
  • Participants liked the sticker format of the reward for attendance.
  • Participants felt the notification settings options were thorough and useful.
  • One participant felt that knowing how their survey feedback would be used would encourage them to actually complete the survey. The other four participants said they would likely complete the survey as-is.
Issue #1

When presented with the option to complete a one-question survey to provide feedback after failing to attend an event they had RSVPed to, four participants said they would likely complete the survey as-is. One participant said they would want to know their information was not going to be associated with the survey response and that they’d like to see “anonymous” in the survey prompt. The same participant suggested that a link to additional information on how the survey responses would be used might encourage them to respond to the survey.

Recommendations:
  • Add “anonymous” to the survey request.
  • Include a link to additional information on how a person’s info would be used.
Issue #2

Was the save button on the event details screen user-friendly? All five participants were easily able to locate and use the save button to bookmark an event for later.

Recommendations:
  • No change needed.
Issue #3

Would participants complete the star rating for events? All five participants reacted positively to the star rating being available on the screen immediately after the event. Three expressed that they would be far more likely to complete it there than if they were to receive a follow-up email.

Recommendations:
  • No change needed.

Phase 6. Design

  • Iterate on hi-fi mockup – I made a number of improvements to various screens.
    • As a result of usability testing, I altered the phrasing on the did-not-attend survey to indicate the survey would be anonymous, and I added a link that would lead to more information on how survey information would be used.
    • I incorporated the option to scroll events listed in the explore and my events tabs directly on the home page.
    • I moved the search function to below the explore option and added it in the explore page as well.
    • I added more negative space to the event details pages.
    • I modified the whites and blacks, which were not true white or true black, to even more muted shades of white and gray, to be easier on the eyes and in keeping with current design trends.
    • I added bottom nav icons above the bottom nav labels in keeping with current design trends.
    • I enlarged the text for the text message mockups, as well as changing the shade of green to one optimized for screen viewing.
Hi-fi mockups

Conclusions

  1. The time and effort invested in research paid off by narrowing the scope of the solution, surfacing important usability issues, and validating the solution. Interviewing 15 different users of varying demographics evidenced important findings in each round.
  2. Adding the star rating system enhanced trust in the system and increased data available to the company.
  3. Incorporating the one-question did-not-attend survey offered the company further feedback that could be used as the basis for future research and enhancement.
  4. Implementing a reward sticker for attending events delighted users and made them feel appreciated.
  5. Small changes like adding a social aspect where users could see events friends RSVPd to and easily see how far an event was from their home made the app more user-friendly and increased the likelihood of attendance.
  6. Adding the option to RSVP or un-RSVP via text message also encouraged the user to change their RSVP easily prior to an event, thus making the RSVPs more accurate prior to an event, which could also be interpreted as improving the conversion of RSVPs to attendance.
  7. Participants would be better incentivized with tangible rewards or sweepstakes-type opportunities. If or when there was sufficient budget, various incentive programs could be developed with marketing tie-ins. For example, participants could earn points by attending events and redeem points for branded merchandise or sweepstakes entries. Another possibility, the company could sell physical stickers alongside the digital sticker collection modeled digitally in the app.
  8. In the future, there is an opportunity to approach the business problem from the side of the event organizers. For example, organizers might be able to increase the conversion of RSVPs to attendance by providing more thorough information in the event listings, including on the accessibility of events. 
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