Host It

A mobile app that makes party planning fun and stress-free for inexperienced hosts.

Host It

A mobile app that helps inexperienced hosts plan intimate parties with friends without any stress.

Responsibilities: UX Design, User Research, Information Architecture, Interactive Design, Art Direction 

Responsibilities: UX Design, Information Architecture, Interactive Design, Art Direction 

Responsibilities: UX Design, Information Architecture, Interactive Design, Art Direction 

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The Problem

Coming from a business background, I've always had a strong affinity for organizing. Living alone independently left me seeking ways to spend time with friends. As I was searching for a party planning app to help me, I found that although there were a lot, there wasn't one for an inexperienced host like me. They were either all planning and no fun or all fun and no planning. Initial research shows that users are using Facebook to plan their events and are unsatisfied with its service. 

The Solution

Host It is a mobile app that guides inexperienced hosts in successfully planning intimate parties and having fun doing it. Users can choose themes, vote on their favourite with their friends, know their guests’ dietary restrictions, assign tasks to themselves and their friends, and collect all photos from their party using a custom hashtag that can be shared as a neat album on Facebook. 

The Solution

Unbounce Academy is a holistic educational platform for both new and existings customers. The overarching goal was to reduce the company's churn rate by providing customers with "how-focused" and "why-focused" content, delivered through a unified experience for our customers.

Host It Thumbnail

The Process

Market and User Research

I first wanted to understand my user and understand the problem space. I began by conducting interviews through Skype for qualitative data and sent a survey for quantitative data. 

The Process

Information Architecture

I first focused on the information architecture. In order for me to understand how a user might interact with technical articles, I started with the question "how might we design a great experience for information-seeking behaviour?"

Through research, customer interviews and stakeholder interviews, we were able to determine the main pillars:  Community, Documentation, Workshops, and Ecourses. We found out that users would rather search for information (73% of traffic to business sites come from organic search), rather than learn the navigation of the site so we emphasized the search functionality in each pillar. This allowed users to find the information they needed quickly.

The Process

Market and User Research

I first wanted to understand my user and understand the problem space. I began by conducting interviews through Skype for qualitative data and sent a survey for quantitative data. 

Survey

My survey showed that 97% of people use Facebook for their events and are very unsatisfied with its service. They primarily use their mobile devices to create these events. I found that 75% of users are intimidated to host their own party. On the other side of the spectrum, 67% of inexperienced users plan parties because they enjoy the company that they're with so the stress is worth it, and 29% like to be responsible for the entire event. 

Then, I conducted an in-depth competitive analysis on event planning apps to further understand the market. This helped me create strategies based on the opportunities I found in the landscape.  

I didn't limit myself to direct competitors. I used the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to understand what motivated my users to hire apps that are competing for the same job (ie. Evernote and Ziplist). From talking to my users, I was able to formalize my app's main job story.

MAIN JOB STORY
"When I am organizing a party for the first time, I want to make my friends a part of the planning experience so that I can be stress-free during the party and confident that everyone is having a good time."

Competitive Analysis

Information Architecture

SYSTEM MAPPING
By mapping out the system, I was able to define the elements at play, identify interconnections, and analyze the information to understand what paradigms (typical pattern) were currently in place. 

Interconnections
Purpose Paradigm

By using a Lean approach, I was able to validate and invalidate assumptions with my users quickly.

Validated assumptions: 
•  Users care to organize.
• People will use this app if it was available.
• Dinner parties and people are unorganized.

The paradigm revealed is organizing parties are stressful and a lot of hassle. Looking at the current paradigm, validated assumptions, and user motivations, it was clear that the app should aim to shift the user's paradigm to organizing get togethers is a simple task, given the right tools. The goal of the system map is to understand the user's high level journey is.

Systems Map

I wrote all the possible tasks a user might take when planning a party. By grouping them, I was able to identify archetypes that are most likely to use my app.  

Grouped Tasks
Preparation - User Types
During Party - User Types

I was able to identify 7 user types, split into 2 time frames: pre-party and during party. To help me prioritize features throughout the project, I decided to focus on 3 archetypes:

  1. The Apathetetic User (pre-party) - This user was most likely assigned to organize the party. They may use the app for assigning tasks or getting party insipiration. 
  2. The Good Host (pre-party) - This user goes above and beyond their role. They like organizing parties and want everyone to have a good time. The Good Host prepares everything beforehand and creates handmade decor based on the theme.
  3. The Memory Maker (during party) - This user sees these parties as opportunities to share their memories with other people using social media platforms. They are engrossed with table discussions and they post their food on Instagram.

I identified differentiating behavioural trends in the form of behavioural personae: what are the users' motivations, tasks, and needs? I wanted to look at my users in their context. This informed my users' needs in the form of my app's engagement cycle.

Card Sort

CARD SORTING
I conducted a card sorting exercise with my users to understand what vocabulary they used, what information they looked for, and how they prioritized feature ideas. I drafted the sitemap to identify my app's high level classifications.

Sitemap

Mental Models show a day in the life of the users that are profiled based on functions and tasks that are a part of the system and identify opportunities within it. I found 3 key themes of the app that directly answer the goals of my users:

  1. Create - Users enjoy the experience more when their friends are involved in the process.
  2. Collaborate - Users are happy to help the host out with tasks.
  3. Celebrate - Users plan parties because they enjoy the company they're with and want to remember the event. 
Mental Model

Journey Map

LeNS MODEL
To get feedback from my stakeholders, I used the LeNS model to show a visual representation of the functional overview and high level workflows of my app (including labour performances, information flow, and material flow). 

LeNS Model

Beatboards

UserJourney
UserJourney3
UserJourney5

Wireframes

It was time to test my app's usability. I created a simple wireframe prototype using Flinto. This saved me from designing high fidelity mockups that didn't answer my user's frustrations.  Getting consistent feedback from my stakeholders and users helped me iterate quickly and refine my app's experience. 

Wireframes

It was time to test my app's usability. I created a simple wireframe prototype using Flinto with clear study goals. This saved me from designing high fidelity mockups that didn't answer my user's frustrations.  Getting consistent feedback from my stakeholders and users helped me iterate quickly and refine my app's experience. 

Wireframes with notes

The Results

Because it’s a party app, my biggest challenge was finding a way to make it entertaining for my users. Through constant feedback, I found that the solution was in the interaction all along. Instead of adding unnecessary features, I simplified the app and perfected the experience of my user's main workflows. The combination of a lean product strategy and early co-creation allowed me to create an app that fit the needs of my users.

How exactly did I answer the needs of my users and make party planning fun and anxiety-free for first time hosts?

Phase 1: Create - Themes

First, I introduced a collaborative way to select party themes. The host chooses 3 options for their guests to vote on. This allowed guests to be included without cluttering their Facebook with comments.

The Results

Because it’s a party app, my biggest challenge was finding a way to make it entertaining for my users. Through constant feedback, I found that the solution was in the interaction all along. Instead of adding unnecessary features, I simplified the app and perfected the experience of my user's main workflows. The combination of a lean product strategy and early co-creation allowed me to create an app that fit the needs of my users.

How exactly did I answer the needs of my users and make party planning fun and anxiety-free for first time hosts?

Phase 1: Create - Themes
First, I introduced a collaborative way to select party themes. The host chooses 3 options for their guests to vote on. This allowed guests to be included without cluttering their Facebook with comments.

Phase 2: Collaborate - To Do's

On the organizational aspect of the app, a to do list that delegates tasks and displays everyone’s responsibilities. The host can set task reminders for themselves and their guests, reducing their anxieties regarding "bugging their friends too much" and "people not replying to their messages." This avoids awkward situations created when something is forgotten. This feature also takes the emotional load off my main user, the inexperienced host. 

Phase 2: Collaborate - To Do's
On the organizational aspect of the app, a to do list that delegates tasks and displays everyone’s responsibilities. The host can set task reminders for themselves and their guests, reducing their anxieties regarding "bugging their friends too much" and "people not replying to their messages." This avoids awkward situations created when something is forgotten. This feature also takes the emotional load off my main user, the inexperienced host. 

Phase 3: Celebrate - Memories

Finally, a way to collect photos of the event. My users told me that they take a lot photos during the party but that they have a difficult time saving all of them from different sources. With a custom hashtag, hosts don’t need to worry about it. The content pulls itself and collects the photos in an album that can be shared in Facebook.

Phase 3: Celebrate - Memories
Finally, a way to collect photos of the event. My users told me that they take a lot photos during the party but that they have a difficult time saving all of them from different sources. With a custom hashtag, hosts don’t need to worry about it. The content pulls itself and collects the photos in an album that can be shared in Facebook.

Photos1

Onboarding

I learned early on that inexperienced host didn't have the same level of interests in party planning. By knowing my archetypes, I let users choose their own path in the app -- ie. have the features they need when they need it, and invisible when they don't. The first time a user clicks on a tab, the app gives them a brief introduction. 

Onboarding
I learned early on that inexperienced host didn't have the same level of interests in party planning. By knowing my archetypes, I let users choose their own path in the app -- ie. have the features they need when they need it, and invisible when they don't. The first time a user clicks on a tab, the app gives them a brief introduction. 

Onboarding

Denise Villanueva

Information Architect. UX Strategist.
Product Designer.

Denise Villanueva

Information Architect. UX Strategist.
Product Designer.

Denise Villanueva

Information Architect. UX Strategist.
Product Designer.

Denise Villanueva

Information Architect. UX Strategist. Product Designer.

Let's chat!

//   hellodenisev@gmail.com
  778 872 5898

Let's chat!

//   hellodenisev@gmail.com
  778 872 5898

Let's chat!

//   hellodenisev@gmail.com
  778 872 5898