Online platform that helps groups of people with shared interests to plan offline group meetings around the world. In it's current model, it only caters to organisers and members.
There were two aspects to including venues to the website
- For venue managers
- Listing of a venue to the website made possible in five easy steps
- Easy finding of a venue while listing with a map feature
- For event organisers
- Searching for a venue via maps feature
- Adding venue search to the existing search bar
METHODOLOGy & TOOLS
User surveys, interviews, leadership of the project, experience map, contextual research, usability testing, persona creation, wire framing and prototyping.
- Currently organisers are responsible for finding and booking space for Meetups on their own
- Likewise, companies with space available for such Meetups either start and organise their own, or reach out to organisers via. calls or emails to offer their space
- The project was to add third element of Venues. To create a means through MEETUP website so that Organisers and Hosts can find one another
The project was part of training at GA. It was completed in two weeks with key-learnings: writing of survey forms, making forms for website easy and simple to use, project management.
DISCOVERY & RESEARCH
The competitive environment was mapped by studying the number of steps involved in the process of listing venues on their website. Compared the service of direct competitors to that of Meetup as well.
- Eventbrite offered a free service compared to Meetup with plenty of apps such as entry manager etc.
- It also offers a multi-tiered ticketing system & seat designer along with per ticket price model but has no community side
- Even though Facebook is browsed regularly and offers personal information on people, since it's too large and free, it has many dysfunctional groups
- Hirespace offers to list a venue for events but not for collaboration or sponsorship purposes
The research involved both a survey and personal interviews to understand how the organisers are finding space for their meetups and how are the companies marketing their space at the moment. The survey was responded to by 86 people and brought to light some key insights into the process. On interviewing close to 10 people- 6 organisers and 4 space owners, the findings from survey were further validated.
- 83% of organisers find venues through word of mouth, 60% use online search
- Most of the companies marketed their space through agents through travel sites. These were the restaurants/ pubs/cafes/ hotels
- Most have space readily available in the evening, currently receive most enquiries by email
- The space owners also revealed that they were paying close to 25% in commission for bookings they received through the agents
Quotes from interviews
- “It's very difficult to look for venues online and make enquiries one-by-one.”
- “I spent two months looking for a venue to start a new meetup”
- “I currently pay as high as 25% in commission to booking agents.”
The design process began with understanding the user by making an user flow and experience map. Based on all this research, personas were drawn to keep in mind who we are designing for, what their pain points are and how they behave.
First-time event organisers found it difficult to search for venues that were free and wanted to collaborate for a meetup. One of the interviewee’s had spent close to two months looking for a venue, when starting a meetup for the first time. Other’s who were organising meetup’s regularly found it difficult to look for new venues that were also free and were willing to collaborate. Usually, they were cold calling potential collaborators and only succeeded in finding one when suggested by colleagues or Meetup group members.
Space owners found it difficult to list space online, felt overwhelmed with options online and when they discovered Meetup, the problem is that there is no way for them to list their venue.
SKETCHING & IDEATION
The minimum viable product must allow organisers to find venues easily within their preferred area & venue owners to list their space online easily. The first sketches included the basic sign-up form for a company to list their space online which was in the same format as the Meetup website.
USER TEST FINDINGS
Testing revealed that the users found the form complicated. The key information filled by venue manager was not matching with the information available to the organiser on search. The user was getting confused by the words ‘find a venue’ listed in the primary navigation.
- Why not add the venues into the central search bar?
- I would like to see the summary of my venue profile
- Registration process needed to be made simpler
- Price was removed as a barrier for venue managers
- Venue search feature added to the search bar
- Included map as a central element to assist finding a venue
Incorporating all these findings into the next iterations, final mockups were prepared. The final designs developed an easy to use feature that will test inclusion of venues within Meetup’s current model.
- Converting venue model to paid model
- Adding ways to find data on members into a premium option
- Development of standalone app for venue feature