A hospitality app that provides contactless hotel access & services allowing users to manage and streamline their entire hotel stay with just a few clicks. All services and amenities from checking in, to receiving mobile keys and reserving a slot at the hotel spa, available under one platform and easily accessible to all guests.
Sole UX/UI designer and researcher
10 weeks (Jan-Mar 2021)
Pen & paper, Figma, POP Marvel, InVision, UXPressia
Lobby is an app designed to facilitate check-in and out operations, streamline guest communication, and improve online reputation. It provides users with a contactless and convenient hotel experience from beginning to end. Lobby, taking us one step closer to automation, is the missing piece of the hotel industry.
The design process for this project follows the Double Diamond Model. This model organizes and improves the creative process and is broken down into four essential stages: discover, define, develop and deliver.
Insights into the problem
It goes without saying that we are currently in a digital era. That being said, today’s travellers are increasingly using their smart devices to plan and organize their trip itinerary, but they are often disappointed when a hotel’s digital experience does not match up to the standards of many other major industries such retail, banking, restaurants and more.
Smart digital solutions aren't something guests marvel at anymore, they are demanding them. Hotel guests’ standards have certainly increased over time, yet the experience remains aged and minimal and as a result, the hotel industry has fallen behind in the realm of technological evolution.
According to a research study conducted by Criton between March and July 2020 of 7,954 hotel guest participants:
would download a hotel app that would allow them to check-in and out, and get all information related to the hotel
would download an app that would enable them to open their room door
would be more likely to order room service if the hotel would give them the option of ordering via an app
would prefer to check-in and out through a hotel app
Based on the secondary research, my goal was to create a digital tool that would build convenient, efficient and personalized experiences for every hotel guest so that they can be completely satisfied and happy with the services they receive for the duration of their stay.
There are multiple digital solutions within the hospitality industry on the market already that are mainly specific to vacation rental platforms. None attribute to the scale of available service that Lobby offers.
Who is it for?
Lobby is for a wide range of demographics such as families, millennials, business travellers and more. At the moment, almost 50% of all hotel guests in the world are millennials making them the primary consumers in the market. As tech-savvy and digital native individuals, millennials are always on the look for authentic and smart experiences, making Lobby the ideal hub of tools for them.
In order to better identify the opportunity for a digital solution within the hotel industry, I directly spoke to my target users to uncover their major pain points, motivations and behaviours surrounding their hotel experiences.
All interviews were conducted remotely via zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Synthesizing the area to focus upon
After speaking to my target users, i was able to identify three key insights to guide my design process for this project:
The desire to have a more personalized hotel experience: while guests are seeking new and unique experiences during their travels, the research also revealed that consumers seek lodging experiences that feature a level of comfort that's close to their home lives.
The need to build a connection with the hotel: while staying at a hotel the modern guest wants to be able to use their personal device for things like mobile check-in, to get information, leave feedback, order and book things like room service and spa-visits etc. Mobile solutions are the connection that brings the guest and the hotel closer together.
The desire for an experience: travellers are often diverging towards vacation rental platforms such as AirBNB and Hometogo because of the variety they offer. They are looking for new and unusual adventures to elevate their entire trip experience.
Persona & Experience Map
I developed a persona and experience map based on my interview insights that guided me towards human-centred design throughout my entire design process.
How Might We
How might we translate hotel services and operations such as checking in/out, ordering room service, having access to a key etc. into contactless in order to provide hotel guests with an efficient, convenient and smart experience.
Ideating and exploring potential solutions
User Stories & Epics
To prioritize which task will allow my users to most effectively complete their goals, I authored a set of 27 user stories that were further broken down into 3 main epics:
Check-in / out operations
With the needs and goals of my target user in mind, I initially prioritized the task of checking in remotely and receiving access to a mobile key. However, after round 1 of user testing, I decided to showcase more value by adding the task of attempting to utilize the hotel services and amenities available.
Once the task flow has been developed and using inspiration from existing UI features, I sketched out possible solutions of what a user interface might look like for these tasks.
I started developing wireframes inspired by my most viable sketches to get a more realistic feel of the product while taking into account grid and spacing in order to get them ready for user testing.
Testing, implementing and improving
After building and prototyping the mid-fidelity wireframes on InVision, I went ahead and conducted two user tests comprising of 5 participants each in order to obtain practical and real-time feedback that could be incorporated to improve my design and provide a more optimal user experience. The purpose of this test is to help me understand the way a user will navigate through the different screens of the app, as well as to ensure that all buttons/images/icons etc. are useful, recognizable and in logical placements.
* All user tests we conducted via zoom on March 1st and 4th of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major Usability Issues
Without a landing page and a page after the task is completed, users were confused as to how they got to the 'add a reservation' page.
Users suggested adding a navigation bar would help in guidance through the app.
Users would like to see more icons/images in text-heavy pages such as the 'booking information' page and the 'upgrade' page.
In order to reduce confusion, I added a landing page in which the user would be able to access their hotel accommodation history as well as add a new reservation.
I also added a page in which users would be able to get access to hotel services and amenities once check-in is complete.
I went ahead and explored different variations of a bottom navigation bar despite being uncertain of whether or not a bottom navigation bar would add value to Lobby.
I took into consideration the output of my user tests and decided to add more icons to the 'booking information' page to make it more user-friendly, easy on the eye and convenient.
A selection of images that contribute to the mood and feel of LOBBY. Luxurious, convenient, simple, clean, curvy, cozy,
SF Pro provides a consistent, legible and friendly typographic voice:
App Icon Development
Chosen app icon design for LOBBY
Translating interface from one platform to another
After revisiting my persona, I authored a few more user stories to consider how existing users might benefit from having a smart watch integration and selected the followed to develop:
As a user, I want to unlock my hotel room without having to unlock my phone, locate the app and then the mobile key, in order to achieve efficient access and maximum convenience.
Product Marketing Website
Promoting the brand, driving demand
Marketing the product
Taking into account that my target users are tech-savvy millennials, they will likely be searching the Internet for digital solutions to that would enhance their hotel experience. That being said, I have designed a web page that my users will be directed to throughout their search. This marketing website introduces potential users to Lobby's main features and mission, touches upon user testimonials and encourages users to download it.
Design Impact & Future Thinking
Impact, next steps and key learnings
Designing the other half of Lobby from the hotel's perspective.
Further improving and iterating the UI design.
Adding new features such as controlling room temperature, lights and television.
Potentially adding a points/rewards system in which users would be able to receive offers based on their history with Lobby.
Key Project Learnings
This experience has taught that no matter how much I pay attention to detail, there is always room for improvement. The key to creating a successful and engaging interface is to keep my user at the core of my design process. In doing so, I am justifying every word, element, icon, image, etc. that I incorporate.
An individual end-to-end design project in 10 weeks was quite the challenge that allowed me to quickly assess, compare, iterate and improve my designs within a restricted time limit. I learned how to maximize my time and what to prioritize in order to provide the finest deliverables.
I used Tarot Cards of Tech to determine the potential design impacts of my product with the assumption that it has grown to have a significant user base and is continuing to grow.
An app like Lobby is highly dependent on functionality, and functionality is highly dependent on two states, first is the hotel connection and second is the responsiveness of the respective hotel.
If a hotel has either poor connection or response times/methods then users could potentially lose trust in my product.
With the emergence of the global pandemic, a high demand for contactless services and operations was created and by default, cultural and social change. Although the pandemic is temporary, the digital solutions that came as a result will remain.
If Lobby is successful then the front desk of all participating hotels will essentially disappear. It not only eliminates plastic room key cards, but unnecessary contact as well. With Lobby, hotels will have no need for a front desk as their operations will be handled by the app itself such as checking in and out, requesting hotel services, late check-outs, early check-in and more.