|Duration||Feb 2018, 4 days|
|Key Words|| Design Challenge
Imagine you are a music lover, and can play the piano pretty well. Everytime you enter a new school, the first thing you might want to figure out is whether there are available practice rooms or rehearsal spaces open for students. How could you find those resources? How could you know whether there are other people using that space at certain time?
I redesigned the online reservation experience for music lovers at Georgia Tech to reserve music rehearsal spaces in the new student center. With this design, users can easily match their time availability to space availability, and then make reservations accordingly.
Before starting to design, I drafted several research questions to push myself to think more about "why" rather that "what".Time was limited so I had to strictly control my time spent on background researches. I did the secondary research online to get a basic understanding of the problem space. Based on the initial research, I summarized a stakeholder map to help me better understand people involved in the reservation service. Meanwhile, I noticed that students outside the School of Music and its ensembles may be the most frequent user of my design, because they have the most limited resources with most flexible time schedule.
Mapping out the Stakeholders was one of the most important steps I've taken at this phase, because it helped me to sort out all the parties that would be influenced in the reservation action. Only by learning about their roles and needs, I could design the most efficient tool for both managemet teams and users.
Another important issue is, what are the existing methods to reserve a music rehearsal space? As I talked to more people, including but not limited to Georgia Tech, I began to know better about the strengths and pain points of existing systems in many universities. While other universities mainly use one method to reserve music spaces specifically, GT has three ways to get different music rehearsal spaces. Ironically, none of them is satisfying.
So, what do users really need? I created three personas to represent three types of users I was designing for. This step enabled me to understand different using scenarios, so as to create a more inclusive design.
Apparently, different levels of users have different requirement in terms of music space requirement. But, what are their common goals? What are the necessities, and what are the "better to have" experiences ? I did affinity mapping to explore the data I collected, hoping to find out more insights.
The quick but useful research gave me three key insights for the design, and they became my guidelines in the ideation phase.
Let's reflect the existing music space reservation experience at Georgia Tech first:
I did two rounds of idea brainstorming during the whole design process. The first one was a "reversed assumptions" brainstorming before clear design goals were identified. This step let me have a wider range of crazy ideas without intervention of existing systems. Though some of the assumptions were defeated afterwards, some ideas generated in this period did gave me some inspirations. Then, with user's goals in mind, I did brainstorming session again.
During idea development, I kept user's goals in mind, and finally chose to design a web-based reservation service for music rehearsal spaces. This service will be a part of comprehensive GT reservation system, because users don't want distributed information. Instead of going back and forth between different spaces and time availability, my design enables users to directly get available rooms in their desired time slot. They can immediately tell where to start the reservation with my design, and the using steps are very simple:
Based on the sketched concept, I created an initial wireframe and asked users for feedbacks accordingly. This version only consisted of important steps that were necessary for users to complete a basic task.
I did a quick user test for the initial wireframe. Based on the feedback, the following design changes are made:
1. Use a vertical button bar on the left to replace the hamburger menu.Hamburger menu can help to leave the space clean, however, users don't know what it stands for at the beginning. :
2. Add "Space availability" as a new tab bar on the calendar.Even though users will start considering about time slot according to their own schedule, however, sometimes they will have specific room target and relatively flexible personal free time. For example, if a professor is going to reserve a large Complex music space for a Jazz talk, he will want to directly see the availability of the certain type.
3. Add "warning message" .If the user select a time slot under the "space availability" tab, it may sometimes conflicts with personal schedule. Also, there should be time restriction on every reservation, which is 4 hours, so as to make sure the limited resource can be utilized in an efficient way. Therefore, a "warning message" reminding users of the inappropriate time selection can make the system more robust.