Founded in 2014 by Jose Luis Martínez, HundredRooms is a search engine for vacation rentals in Spain. They compare rates from more than 100 different websites, giving the user more than 2 million apartments at the lowest rate available.
"We need to understand our users and develop a valuable product for them"
UX research, UX Design.
This project was part of my formal training at General Assembly. My aim was to offer UX mentoring to Hundredrooms identifying problems, prototyping and validating solutions for improving the product. All the design process was based on UCD (User Centered Design).
Through Analytics and social media analysis, the marketing team at Hundredrooms had identified a target which age was between 25-44 years old. 60% were women and a big percentage of them had children. Although there weren’t accurate data that could help to validate this assumption.
After understanding stakeholder’s view on their users and the product needs, I conducted a user research focussed on two targets: those whom use to travel with their families and those whom travel with their friends.
The primary research goals were:
- To gain insight into what are the user’s motivations when renting an apartment.
- To observe navigation behaviour within competitor’s sites to understand how users research their holiday accommodation.
- To test the navigation of the current site on mobile.
- To know the current satisfaction levels of the user when renting an apartment.
key research findings
One of the Key research findings was that Families with kids, one of the primary target audience, struggle more when renting the right accommodation for children. Essential features like the number of beds, accessibility to the apartment or if the crib is included, are a must to know for them.
Holidu was the main competitor and apparently they were doing it quite well. They use a nice design, friendly messages and quite minimalist design.
Airbnb doesn’t have exactly the same product, but definitely they are competitors. In the research, users with children expended more time to find the apartment, since essential information for them wasn't displayed in the main list and it was in the apartment page only.
To reduce the scope of the project, I focused the research on solving the following problem statement:
Erica needs a way to identify if the accommodation is suitable for families, because she has two kids.
These effective format to write problems and hypotheses help to put focus on things that will generate value to users and engagement with the business.
We believe that by asking users how many children / infants are travelling with them, Erica will find results easily since we can display the accommodations more appropriate for their family (by adding crib, accessibility, …).
Also Hundredrooms will have more information of who their users are and their needs. As well as to validate the assumption about that families is their main target. We will know this to be true when we observe that Y% of the searches have children and/or infants.
Prototypes & Validation
I designed the solution to the problem identified by adding a new feature in the main searcher. Users could select the number of children and infants that travel with them. I turned the sketches into a smartphone prototype to validate it with potential customers.
The primary goals of this research were:
- To get feedback on the new ability to specify the number of children and infants in the search.
- To gauge participants’ reaction to the new navigation: access to filters, map, create alert and change search.
- To gauge participants’ reaction in the homepage redesign.
The key findings related with the hypotheses I mentioned above were:
- Thought the Low fidelity prototypes and testing task scenarios I realised that the new feature was welcoming by everyone (even for those without children).
- After talking with families I learnt that 2 years seems the most correct age for an infant. I came back to the design to change it.
After the stakeholders validation we agreed that the implementation could be possible. We’d need to investigate about which features we could prioritise, personalise the experience for families and sort the results according to their needs.
This would bring a valuable information for Hundredrooms and their users.
At this stage I tested the onboard page and the final transition page. The user validation brought also light about how confusing was this page. It could be a good goal for the next research.
The new searcher feature is ready for next implementation steps. The users validation has minimise the risk of failing, it has saved development time as well as has confirmed the value for them.