Changing educational and technological landscapes have enabled curious learners to seek educational opportunities from everyday people who possess unique knowledge or skills. This has afforded people the ability to monetize their expertise, which they’ve capitalized on by hosting online courses about any and every topic under the sun -- from cooking to woodworking to knife throwing. But those wanting to host a non-digital, learning event are left unsatisfied.
Research, Information Architecture, Interaction, Visual design & Testing
Team of 4
Duration - 5 weeks
After interviewing users and subject matter experts with varying levels of experience in event hosting; we identified 3 groups of potential customers for the platform.
1. Event planners who aren't knowledge experts
These are professional event planners. They are highly experienced in the process. The main pain point identifiable is the necessity to juggle multiple tools to do the job.
2. Knowledge experts who do not plan events
Has unique knowledge to share but haven’t thought of sharing it. Their pain points are lack of motivation and incentive.
3. Knowledge experts who plans events
They have unique knowledge they wish to share with others, but are hesitant to host an event due to their lack of experience, confidence, and lack of support.
Each one of the three user groups have their own set of pain points. With the limited amount of time on the project, the team needed to set a priority and focus on one group. It was particularly difficult to narrow down the scope as the team began to empathize with each and every one of the user types. We asked ourselves "how do we prioritize one user's needs over the others?".
Taking a deeper dive into each of the 3 potential users showed that knowledge experts who plan events have more incentive to use the product and their pain points are addressable with a digital solution. The design will need to address the user’s lack of experience, confidence, and support.
Solving a complex problem with multiple possible outcomes requires divergent thinking and a detailed understanding of the context.
The three divergent concepts demonstrate different ways to guide and track the users’ planning process.
1. Personalized Journey
Provides a visual step by step guide on how to plan an event in a fun and gamified manner.
2. AI Assisted Planner
As a built in AI chat bot for the platform, it walks the users through the planning process.
3. Cross-platform Synchronization
Serving as a central hub for all the tools required for users to plan their events. It pulls data from other platforms through connected APIs.
After conducting several rounds of concept testing, the users’ preference became evidently clear. The cross platform synchronization concept was the most well received as it resembles the users’ expectation of a tracking tool. They also expressed their interest in the visuals of the personalized journey concept. The result is the convergence of the two concepts.
“This is more what I was expecting - this feels more like an organizational tool” - Chett
Through speaking with different potential users, we know that connecting the tools they would use to the platform through APIs should be the core function of the product. This enables the product to become the central hub for the users’ tracking tools.
Knowing that the users are inexperienced, the platform will need to offer step by step process to guide them towards the finish line. Through user interviews and journey mapping, we identified the crucial steps throughout the event hosting process as the foundation of the MVP.
1. Pick the event date
2. Determine a budget
3. Gathering supplies
4. Venue sourcing
5. Event promotion
With a wide range of users with diverse knowledge backgrounds, the interface must remain flexible to accommodate customization. This also means that the core branding elements will need to be neutral and adaptable.
The solution offers guidance and tracking capabilities for the inexperienced knowledge experts to host their own events or workshops.See the Prototype
With the users in mind, the key features address the user’s lack of experience and confidence.
Having connected APIs such as Google calendar, Eventbrite, Facebook, etc..The user can be reminded to complete certain tasks or follow up with his or her audience. The connected APIs allow the platform to track user's progress throughout the planning process by pushing and pulling data from the 3rd party applications.
The dashboard gathers all the data pulled from 3rd party apps and displays it in a clear and visually appealing manner. This helps the users track all the moving parts of an event at a quick glance.
The platform will periodically display tips for best practices as well as quick reminders of what’s coming on the schedule. This is to further help guide the users as they progress through their planning process.
By setting ease of use and confidence level as the benchmark, we brought the prototype to the users. The test participants are a mix between inexperienced knowledge experts to experienced event hosts. Results gathered from the usability tests are overwhelmingly positive.
1. 92% of test participants confirmed the platform is easy to use.
2. 88% of test participants expressed high confidence level while using the platform.
“It's very logical to use. It's clean, the steps are very guiding, and I enjoyed it.”
“I could see myself using it- it [helps with] tracking everything but it also helps you think of the next things, which is less work for your brain.”
Designs are meant to be iterated. The solution of this problem came from rounds of testing and iterations. With each change, the product becomes more polished.
It’s easy to dive deep into the problem space and start designing features that aren’t priorities to the user. By setting boundaries for the MVP allows the team to focus on the priorities.
Finding users and getting them to agree to be interviewed is difficult. It is important to build a trusting network early on.