Jeff Gothelf, the author of Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, summarizes Lean Design is something that brings the true nature of a product to light faster through an efficient and collaborative method.
Sounds complex, right? Well, it’s not.
At this point, we know how significant business value is driven from UX UI design in smart markets. A good design is attainable through a consistent feedback loop between producers and consumers. The feedback loop is critical to ensure the ultimate goals of both parties are aligned.
This blog explores the value of continuous iteration in design, aka a Lean Design approach. Here, we take the example of a small travel company, Yuyiii, that utilized the services of Divami Design Labs to achieve greater business value.
Mckinsey Design Index
The Mckinsey Design Index (MDI) provides an objective measure of the business value of design by assessing how well the following design principles are utilized in a company’s operations:
(1) analytical leadership in design, which is about measuring and driving design performance with the same rigor as revenues and costs
(2) cross-functional design talent, which makes user-centric design everyone’s responsibility
(3) continuous iteration in design, which is continuous iteration with end-users and
(4) user experience from breaking silos of physical, digital, and service designs.
When Yuyiii signed up for design services from Divami, it had an MVP that provided the usual list of stays or getaways on a search query for a specific location. Aside from the fact that the hotel inventory from such searches do not make it easy to make a choice, in many cases, users are not sure where to getaway in the first place.
For example, for a weekend getaway, you will likely have an upper limit of the distance you want to travel. Additionally, you may have a preference for which part of your state you would like to head to.
In the first iteration of the new design, Divami conducted in-depth user research. It helped us understand the problem that travelers faced choosing a destination. Additionally, we tried to find an intuitive solution that took care of some practical aspects like the purpose of weekend travel.
From user research, it was evident that travelers had a number of criteria in mind when choosing a travel destination. Furthermore, there was a purpose for the trip, which could determine the type of stay they preferred.
Divami came up with the following contextual design to help travelers explore destinations depending on various factors. In effect, travelers did not have to know ahead which neighborhood they were going to. Instead, they could simply start off by selecting what they were in the mood for and subsequently providing other filters to narrow down the search.
The Yuyiii recommendations were based on the travelers’ search criteria. Naturally, it boosted up customer satisfaction and ROI.
It is one thing to do a search to easily find what you are looking for and a different thing to get all the information that helps you make a choice. What would be the criteria for making the choice? Through user research, Divami learned that most travelers had some key criteria, such as admission of pets, facilities for seniors, banquet facilities for selective events, etc, depending on who they are traveling with and for what reason.
Following the lean design approach, Divami took the learnings from user research. We came up with an attractive, intuitive design that was functionally complete. For a stay recommendation, the design incorporated a video of the location.
Additionally, there were other essential and interesting information like address, type of stay, and fun activities to help users plan their stay. This helped the prospective traveler get a virtual tour of the destination. Having all the information to do the selection, the travelers could make their decision.
Additional Findings from the User Research
Of course, as first-time travelers to a particular destination, we check out the reviews. The review helps us ensure that the previous lodgers have had a great experience with the place. However, many times the reviews are uneven, and not authentic. Again, through the discovery process during user research, it came through that users wanted reviews from travel experts who had visited the site.
Further to make the information useful and attractive, the design of the review section included large photos of the reviewer and information categories that most users are interested in. Additionally, the design included supporting collateral from “Friends of Yuyiii”. This segment covered the property owners who could provide interesting stories about the place.
Third Iteration and Future Plans
In the next iteration, Divami focused on the booking process. After all, this is the critical last mile in closing a transaction. And, a cause of frustration from a lack of seamlessness in the booking process.
Additionally, selling activity packages along with a room is an effective way to make the stay memorable and increase sales. The room selection was personalized and recommended based on the user’s wishlist and needs. Under room details, the traveler could see what is in the room, along with the amenities available in the room. A room selection highlighted the best tariff. Additionally, the booking process showed the room rates with additional beds and activity packages. In effect, this iteration in the design of the booking process along with work on voice search integration on mobile helped increase customer satisfaction and business for Yuyiii.
The long term partnership between Yuyiii and Divami ensures that the lean design approach continues. The next plan is to update the main landing page with auto-suggestions and other enhancements.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Having made these iterative changes to the Yuyiii site to improve user experience and address user needs, the obvious question is what were the measurable benefits? Of course, we wouldn’t be writing this blog unless the results were significantly better. However, the gains exceeded expectations:
Putting it Together
The Yuyiii.com site that you see today is the result of continuous iteration in UX UI Design. The approach is something brought from the lean design playbook. In smart markets, consumers want to influence how the products they use are built and UX UI Design is a critical part of such digital products that enable this interaction. By leveraging Divami’s services, Yuyiii was able to do this continuous iteration in design and create a product that consumers liked to use. It was evident from the increased volume of site visits and increased duration of each visit. In the end, that is the business value of good UX UI Design.