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Find and list vacation rentals.

FINAL THESIS PROJECT – BRENNO BALDO

Find and list vacation rentals.

Find and list vacation rentals.

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Find and list vacation rentals.

Find and list vacation rentals.

FINAL THESIS PROJECT SUMMARY

BRENNO BALDO Find and list vacation rentals.

ID#02755661 @ BRENNO BRENNOBALDO.COM

GRADUATE SCHOOL OF WEB DESIGN AND NEW MEDIA ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY

MAY 17, 2012


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Table of contents About the author 5

Information architecture with user tasks for guests

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Résumé 6

Information architecture with user tasks for hosts

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Abstract 9 Statement of interest 11 Executive summary 13

RESEARCH Initial definition of terms and concepts

DEVELOPMENT Development Blog 53 Project development time line

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Wireframes 58 17

Moodboards 59

Target audience 18

Logo development 60

User interviews – Guests

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Final logo 61

User interviews – Hosts 20

Typography 62

User Personas – Guests 21

Color palette 64

User Personas – Hosts 22

Layout exploration and evolution

Competitive analysis 23 Project goals 26 Usability goals/metrics 27

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USABILITY TESTING Usability tests 75 Main recommendations after 1st usability tests

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Main recommendations after 2nd usability tests

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Design problems identification 31

Main recommendations after 3rd usability tests

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Booking model comparative analysis

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Main recommendations after 4th usability tests

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Payment/billing model comparative analysis

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Main recommendations after 5th usability tests

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User roles, reviews, and ranking

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Project wish list 87

Primary features specifications 40

Bibliography 89

STRATEGIC PLANNING

Target system’s configuration 43 Information architecture 44

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About the author

I was born in Brazil and lived there until after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While still in college I realized my passion for design and after moving to the United States in 2000 I decided to pursue a career as a graphic designer. After working as a production graphic designer and as a freelance web designer for a few years I felt it was time to get a master’s degree where I could develop my skills as an interaction designer. I currently live in San Francisco, CA and am planning to move to Amsterdam in The Netherlands, in the Summer of 2012.

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Résumé Summary

Contact

Interaction/UX designer skilled in visual design, prototyping, research, conceptualization, storyboarding, and usability testing methodologies, as well as front-end development and industry standard design tools. Particularly interested in the user-centered design process and all that it entails.

Brenno Baldo ID#02755661 email: brenno@brennobaldo.com web: www.brennobaldo.com or blog.keyzz.com

Work Experience Usability Lab Coordinator at Academy of Art University

Production Graphic Designer at Digital Mania

September 2011 - May 2012 (9 months)

February 2005 - October 2007 (2 years 9 months)

ƒƒ Helped current students developing and performing usability tests, including test planning, task writing, conducted cognitive walkthroughs, brainstorm sessions, card-sorting and other information architecture development techniques. Overview of lab operations.

ƒƒ Managing print and production design projects for Fortune 500 companies such as Wells Fargo, Deloitte Consulting, Accenture, Price Waterhouse and Cooper, Charles Schwab, among others. ƒƒ Coordinating projects to ensure consistency with clients’ design standards and guidelines, and working with clients to ensure deadlines and budgets were met.

User Experience Designer at iManageRent

May 2009 - June 2010 (1 year 2 months) ƒƒ Worked at this startup along with its founder for the first year of its existence identifying its target audience and their main needs and goals, and later translating those needs into task flows and identifying the functionality necessary to accomplish those goals. ƒƒ After building an initial wireframe prototype I also worked at the initial (beta) version of the visual design. ƒƒ Worked closely with the development team on the first stages of the application’s development.

Graphic & Web Designer at AntonioMartins.com

January 2004 - February 2005 (1 year 2 months) ƒƒ Created brand identity for Interior Design firm including logo and stationary; ƒƒ Created and developed web site; ƒƒ Developed various collateral pieces such as flyers, business cards, brochures, postcards. Freelance at Graphic & Web Designer

January 2002 - Present

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Education Academy of Art University MFA, Web Design & New Media

2008 - 2012 University of California, Berkeley Associates, Graphic Design

2001 - 2004 Universidade Federal do EspĂ­rito Santo Bachelor, Business Administration

1996 - 2000 Honors and Awards 1st Place on Usability Category Academy of Art University Spring Show

May 2009 1st Place on Advanced Image Editing Category Academy of Art University Spring Show

May 2009 1st Place on the Web Technologies Category Academy of Art University Spring Show

May 2010 Honorable Mention on the Scripting (Flash Action Script) Category Academy of Art University Spring Show

May 2010 Semifinalist on browser-based design category Adobe Design Achievements Awards

October 2010

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Abstract

I created a web application whose target audience are users who want to rent or list short term vacation rentals. My initial goal was to develop a working web application populated with listing of properties located in Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. Time and technical constraints kept me from achieving that initial goal and instead I created and developed a walkthrough prototype of the web application’s user interface, as well as functional requirements report that details the research, design, testing and development trials involved in this project.

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Statement of interest

Travel and design are my two biggest passions and in 2009 when I started my research on a possible theme for my final thesis I came into the following testimonial left by a vacation rental user: “The biggest difference between a vacation rental and a hotel? I never felt like leaving a thank you gift at a hotel.� That statement made me stop and think about the then growing trend of online searching for short term rentals. It made me realize that the vacation rental industry combined my two passions by allowing vacation rental owners and managers to design and sell different travel alternatives to guests who are looking for a more personal experience. It’s all about the user experience design, except that in this case the

user is the guest and the designer is the host. I had used this kind of services a few times in different countries and I was always surprised that the web sites were very confusing and did not reflect the quality of the accommodations offered. Back in 2009 Airbnb was in its earliest stages and Wimdu did not even exist yet. I saw that as an opportunity for developing a web application with innovative approaches to the user experience and information design. When I decided to start an MFA program in web design I knew that I wanted to finish the program with the set of skills necessary to give me the confidence to get a job in which I could create intuitive and user centered design. The biggest motivation for working on this project is the learning experience itself.

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Executive summary Overview ƒƒ Keyzz.com is a web application to find and list vacation rentals as well as manage the bookings of properties that are rented on a short term basis. Initially it will be populated by properties located in Amsterdam for exemplification purposes. ƒƒ The users who are looking to rent one of these properties will be able to search for different kinds of accommodations including apartments, studios, houseboats, and guest houses. Amongst other things, they will be able to check the amenities of each property as well as its availability, and write reviews with photos. ƒƒ Property owners and/or managers will have at their disposal a variety of tools to advertise and promote their properties, as well as manage the bookings and offer extra services to their guests during the booking process. ƒƒ The application will offer the possibility of instant booking of properties – a more straightforward approach to the booking process that represents a major competitive advantage over the existing competition.

Keyzz.com home page design

ƒƒ A walkthrough prototype and the development blog of the application will be live by the end of the MFA program at the Academy of Art University in the Spring of 2012. It will not be operational for real users due to time and technical constraints. ƒƒ This report intends to explain in detail the concepts and ideas behind the project, the different steps of the design process, the usability tests conducted and their resulting recommendations, all that has been accomplished in the project, and all the milestones that still remain to be reached.

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RESEARCH STRATEGIC PLANNING DEVELOPMENT USABILITY TESTING

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Initial definition of terms and concepts The vacation rental industry has particular terms and concepts like any other industry. The main idea of this report as well as its final conclusions and recommendations can be better understood once some of these terms and concepts are explained. ƒƒ VRBO stands for Vacation Rental By Owner and it is a common acronym used when referring to properties that can be rented for short periods of time. Often these properties are not managed by their owners but by property management companies that retain a commission over the rent. They are always cozily furnished which gives them a warm and homely feeling, as opposed to the cold and corporate-like experience that one usually have when staying at a hotel. Vacation rentals have a particular advantage over hotels if the traveler’s priorities are privacy and cost per guest. ƒƒ Amsterdam is one of the biggest traveling destinations in Europe and it attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. The hotel infrastructure in the City Centre is limited and the vacation rental industry grew exponentially in the last few years in order to supply the demand for short term accommodations. Properties from this city illustrate this project because of a previous project that the author did with a property management company situated in Amsterdam that allowed him to use its clients’ properties as examples on this project. ƒƒ Peer-to-peer (P2P) is a term that originated from the popular concept of peer-to-peer computer application design, popularized by the large file sharing systems, such as Napster, the first of its kind in the late 1990’s. The concept has inspired new structures and philosophies in other areas of human interaction including the idea of guests and hosts present in this project. ƒƒ Booking model is the structure used to set up the transaction between users, in this case the rent of a property. It is the sequence of actions that both parties involved in the process need to perform both online and off line in order to book a property.

Vrbo.com is the oldest vacation rental Web application and its owned by Homeaway.com, who bought dozens of other small vacation rental Web applications in recent years ƒƒ Billing model refers to how the users transfer money between each other and how the Web application charges its operational fee. ƒƒ Tourist versus Traveller. Whether you travel across the world, or to a part of a city that you never have visited before, there’s something important and magical about experiencing new situations and seeing new sights. While travel is often an observational experience, many travelers specifically travel to participate in the action. There’s definitely a difference between traveling and touring. The former requires an authentic interest in new things and an openness and willingness to experience them. The latter is usually limited to “seeing” the sights - often through the lens of a photo or video camera. Tourists tend to gravitate to the familiar for meals and companionship while travelers abhor both, instead going out of their way to meet new people.

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Target audience There are two primary target audiences: Property managers/owners and VRBO users/renters. Throughout this project, property managers and owners will be referred to as hosts, and VRBO users/renters will be referred to as guests.

Guests can be:

Hosts can be:

ƒƒ Professionals traveling on business who need a place to stay for short periods of time and consider value, privacy, and location important requisites when making a decision about where to stay;

ƒƒ Property owners of one or more properties who want to rent them out for short periods of time and need an online venue to advertise the properties’ availability and features, as well as booking management tools. Property owners usually manage no more than 3 or 4 properties;

ƒƒ Students or groups of students from out of town who need a place to stay for short periods of time and consider value and location important requisites when making a decision about where to stay; ƒƒ Tourists and travelers looking for entertainment and in need of a place to stay on a short term basis who consider privacy, safety, and value important requirements at an accommodation. Travelers are tourists who are interested in more than just entertainment. They are seeking the whole experience of staying at a real home in the city where they are visiting. This group is the main target audience and they consider privacy, safety, and location important requirements when making a decision about where to stay.

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ƒƒ Professional property managers of short term rental properties who need a venue online to advertise the units’ features as well as efficient booking management tools. Professional property managers can manage many properties at the same time.


User interview - Guests Script Hi, I am a grad student at the Academy of Arts University and my major is Web Design and New Media. My final project is about a Web site to find and list vacation rentals. I would like to ask you a few questions about your habits when it comes to finding and booking vacation rentals online. There is no right or wrong answers to these questions. You can talk as much or as little as you want about your experiences. Feel free to share any ideas or questions that you might have about the subject. 1.

Can you tell me about your experience using vacation rentals?

2. When searching for an accommodation, what criteria do you consider more important? (Date range, price, number of guests, location, other) 3. When you are faced with a list of results from your search, what information is the most relevant when you are making a decision about which accommodation to stay? (Reviews, price, location, other) 4. What aspects of the booking process are more inconvenient in your opinion? 5. Is there anything you would change in the booking process if you could?

ƒƒ They all agree that using vacation rentals is something that most people are afraid to do because of the risks involved and because of the booking process not being as direct as in a hotel booking. ƒƒ When choosing a website to search for vacation rentals they always go for the more professional looking websites instead of the smaller ones. And pictures are the most important thing when comparing properties. ƒƒ One of them said that he does not make a final decision until he talks to the property owner or manager on the phone. Only that way he feels he can trust that it is not a “lemon”. ƒƒ They all agree that the booking process can be frustrating because of the booking requests that were denied by the hosts due to availability conflicts. One of them said that he once gave up and stayed at a hotel after the third booking request was denied. Only later he realized that the best thing is to try several different properties and not put all your hopes on any single one. ƒƒ They also mentioned that once they find a property that is available they think there should be a more direct way to communicate with the manager other than e-mail. ƒƒ Finally they all agreed that user reviews are essential and one of the key attributes to be considered before choosing a property.

Interviews Summary The following notes and conclusions are a result of interviews with 3 users made between September 30 and October 3, 2010: ƒƒ All users interviewed have used vacation rentals before either for fun or for work. They all had very good experiences but know of cases where guests were not so lucky.

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User interviews - Hosts Script Hi, I am a grad student at the Academy of Arts University and my major is Web Design and New Media. My final project is about a Web site to find and list vacation rentals. I would like to ask you a few questions about your habits when it comes to listing and managing vacation rentals online. There is no right or wrong answers to these questions. You can talk as much or as little as you want about your experiences. Free to share any ideas or questions that you might have about the subject. 1.

Can you tell me about your experience managing and listing vacation rentals?

2. Do you use any kind of software or online service to help you manage your property(s)? 3. What criteria do you take into consideration when choosing an online listing service? 4. Can you describe the usual booking process that you are used to? Is there anything you would change about the process if you could? 5. How much time do you spend on the computer managing your property(s)? 6. How important do you consider updating the availability calendar of the property(s) you manage?

Interview Summary The following notes and conclusions are a result of interviews with 3 users made between September 30 and October 3, 2010: ƒƒ The business of vacation rental management is very competitive and easily affected by the overall economy of the country.

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ƒƒ Exposure and traffic are the most important things about a listing service according to the users interviewed. All of them use more than one listing services and they all consider the price of these services high. ƒƒ The booking process is similar for all users interviewed: the guest chooses a few properties and sends booking requests for them. The manager receives the request and if the property is available on the date specified he answers the request with a confirmation e-mail. If the property is not available he answers the request by offering other properties of similar price range or on the same area. The guest receives the confirmation e-mail with a contract and payment instructions. The guest pays and signs the contract and then returns it to the manager. The manager receives the payment and sends a welcome kit to the guest with all necessary instructions and rules, including check-in info, deposit refund rules, etc. The manager then updates the property’s availability calendar to reflect the new booking. ƒƒ Updating the availability calendar is important but also very time consuming when there are many properties to keep up to date. Calendars that are not up to date are present on most websites and one of the users has a theory about it: he says that those with many properties listed don’t gain anything from keeping their calendars updated because if a guest requests a booking on a property that is already occupied they can always respond the request by offering other properties in the same area or in the same price range. That is one advantage that multiple property managers have over single property owners. ƒƒ All users agreed that the best way to improve the booking process is to have direct booking, but they understand that it can be difficult to do that without risking cancellations by the host. They complained that the monthly price for some websites is too expensive, which keeps them from trying other websites in order to avoid more costs.


Guest personas Jennifer Botwin - The Secretary

Matt Wilson - The Best Man

ƒƒ Executive Assistant, KPMG; ƒƒ 28 years old; ƒƒ Annual income: 39K; ƒƒ Comfortable using computers and the internet; ƒƒ Uses the internet for most of the day while at work and than some more at home.

ƒƒ Sales clerk at Home Depot; ƒƒ 24 years old; ƒƒ Shares his place with two roommates; ƒƒ Annual income: 36K; ƒƒ Comfortable using computers and the internet; ƒƒ Uses the internet at home after work and on weekends.

One of Jennifer’s jobs is to organize trips for some of KPMG’s consultants, including the purchase of airline tickets, reservation of rental cars and accommodation arrangements. At times the executives have last minute trips and she needs to book properties fast and in specific locations to stay closer to the company where they will be

Matt’s best friend Shane is getting married within 2 months and he’s his best man. That means he’s in charge of organizing the bachelor’s party. He decided on a weekend trip instead of just a party. Instead of staying at a hotel he thinks it will be cheaper and

providing services.

Goals ƒƒ Book properties fast; ƒƒ Search for accommodations based on their location and distance to an specific place; ƒƒ Check authenticity of property and its features; ƒƒ Communicate with property manager.

Jennifer Botwin, “The Secretary” at work

more fun to rent a big vacation rental.

Goals ƒƒ Find good value; ƒƒ Refine search based on specific criteria; ƒƒ Share search results with friends.

Matt Wilson, “The Best Man” at home using his laptop 21


Host personas Laura Kolinsky - The Hard-core User

Andrew Johnson - The Nurse

ƒƒ Property Manager; ƒƒ 39 years old; ƒƒ Annual income: 48k; ƒƒ Comfortable using computers and the internet; ƒƒ Uses the internet for most of the day while at work and than some more at home.

ƒƒ Registered Nurse; ƒƒ 42 years old; ƒƒ Annual income: 65K; ƒƒ Recently inherited his parents property; ƒƒ Comfortable using computers and the internet; ƒƒ Uses the internet at work on his iPhone and at home on his computer.

Laura works full time managing 32 vacation rentals in town by herself. She is always on the run and needs to be able to book her properties fast and keep the properties’ calendar always updated. And on top of that she also needs to manage whatever maintenance issues come up on most of the properties.

Goals ƒƒ Increase revenues and cut costs; ƒƒ Be able to manage multiple properties; ƒƒ Save time; ƒƒ Answer potential client’s questions and concerns from anywhere; ƒƒ Keep the properties’ calendars always up to date.

Laura Kolinsky, The Hard-core User, at her desk at work 22

Andrew is living at the house he inherited from his parents and decided to let his own apartment on a short term basis. He works 24 hour shifts at the local hospital. That means he is away from his computer for long periods of time, which makes it difficult to manage the incoming booking requests of regular vacation rental Web sites. He uses Keyzz because it has instant booking and getting his apartment booked doesn’t depend on him being available.

Goals ƒƒ Extra income from rent; ƒƒ Answer potential guest’s questions; ƒƒ Get his property booked automatically; ƒƒ Keep the properties’ calendars always up to date.

Andrew Johnson, The Nurse, during a break at the hospital


Competitive analysis ƒƒ The major players in the vacation rental industry are Homeaway, FlipKey, and AirBnB. ƒƒ During the research for this report, other smaller players were found, including Booking, iStopOver, Wimdu and other smaller companies. iStopOver and Wimdu uses the same business model that AirBnB uses. Booking.com is the only company that uses the direct online booking model exclusively. However Booking.com is a website specialized in hotels and if a host decided to add a property to that Web site, it will have to go through a long process in order to register the property as a hotel on the Web site. ƒƒ Currently the majority of vacation rental listing Web sites utilize the inquiry-based booking model. Booking.com uses the direct online booking model and AirBnB uses a combination of the inquirybased booking model and the direct online booking model. These two Web sites utilize different strategies to avoid overbooking and consequently cancelation of booking by the host. Booking.com will charge a commission fee per night booked from the host whenever there is cancelation due to overbooking.

Rate setup interface at FlipKey.com ƒƒ Homeaway owns VRBO.com and several other smaller websites specialized in vacation rentals. They all use the inquiry-based booking model and charge the host a fixed monthly or yearly fee. It spends a lot of valuable space on educating potential customers about how to rent and what to expect in every step of the process. They also do a good job with the branding. There are customized movies about the difference between staying at a hotel and at a vacation rental. However, that part of the website is Flash based. ƒƒ FlipKey is part of the TripAdvisor group, the biggest online traveling company in the world, and it uses the same business model as Homeaway and its affiliates. It offers a very simple and efficient search refinement tool. It also has a very intuitive interface for hosts who are setting up their rates.

Homeaway has funny instructional movies about the pros and cons of staying at a vacation rental.

ƒƒ TripAdvisor offers guests a photo view of the search results, which allows guests to see all pictures of a property from the search results page. They also make a distinction between management by the owner and professional management. Some users might think that because it’s professionally managed the unit will have higher standards, while others might believe that because it’s managed by the owner they might get better prices.

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TripAdvisor’s photo view ƒƒ AirBnB is a San Francisco based company created in August 2008 that expanded the target audience to include hosts that are interested in finding guests to stay at an extra room or even at an empty couch they have at home. It uses the inquiry-based booking model for most of its users and charge a commission over each booking made through the website. For the hosts that possess an exceptional acceptance rate (meaning the hosts that never deny or cancel bookings), the company offers the possibility of direct online booking only available for the cities of San Francisco, New York, and London. ƒƒ AirBnB has a very interesting business model. They do not charge a monthly fee from the hosts. Instead they treat all hosts as potential guests and all guests as potential hosts. It only charges a commission from the bookings that are made through their system. The key thing is that hosts and guests can only communicate through the internal messaging system. Hosts cannot post their phone numbers or e-mail addresses on their profiles. In that way it becomes harder for them to close the deal outside of the system. If the parties insist and find a way to do so, neither the host or the guest will be able to give each other good reviews. Reviews are very important when it comes to vacation rentals, and only members who were part of a booking are allowed to write and receive reviews.

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AirBnB uses the direct booking model for users with exceptional acceptance rates located in selected cities ƒƒ Room77 has a great concept: empowering hotel guests by informing them which are the best rooms at a given hotel. The problem is that users are not able to see the availability calendar of that room or book it from the website. All the user get in the end of the experience is instructions on where to call and how to talk to the front desk clerks of those hotels. The Web site is still in its beta version and not many hotels populate their database. It has great potential, especially if they decide to show user-generated pictures of the views and the rooms, as well as guest’s reviews.

Room77’s search refinement tools do not include prices or price ranges.


Billing model

Inquiry Based

Inquiry Based

Inquiry Based

Inquiry Based

Inquiry Based

Hybrid

Per booking

Per booking

Per booking

Per booking

Per listing

Per listing

Per booking

Video support

Reviews with pictures

Restrict internal message system

Wish list

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Host can offer additional services

Mobile App

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Direct

Map-based search

Facebook integration

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Instant booking feature Booking model

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Competitive Matrix

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Project goals Guest’s goals

Host’s goals

Business goals

ƒƒ To receive personalized treatment – a major attraction for users of vacation rentals – without sacrificing the speed and convenience of an instant booking experience;

ƒƒ Increase revenue and lower costs. Achieve the highest exposure for the lowest price. Based on user interviews, Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) is the highest priority for property owners when it comes to choosing where to advertise their properties;

ƒƒ Position the Web application as the best

ƒƒ Ability to customize the stay during the booking (i.e. airport pickup, breakfast, grocery shopping, etc); ƒƒ To be protected against scams and identity theft; ƒƒ Assurance that the host is honest and reliable, that the property is what it appears to be in the pictures, and that there are rules and policies in place to resolve problems that might come up if something goes wrong during the experience.

ƒƒ Keep property’s availability calendars updated. A property manager needs to keep his properties listings’ calendar updated so that potential guests will know when that property is available; ƒƒ Show potential guests all features available in the property. The competition on the vacation rental industry is very high and hosts are always in need of new ways to make their properties stand out; ƒƒ Attract guests that are not satisfied with the booking model currently adopted by the majority of the vacation rental websites; ƒƒ Manage bookings and communication with guests online; ƒƒ Address trust issues that hosts might have related to the adoption of the instant booking model.

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option to book vacation rentals online; ƒƒ Become the preferred booking management tool of property management companies (even the ones that list their properties on other Web sites); ƒƒ Prioritize the development of tools and improvement of the user experience of property management companies over individual homeowners;


Usability goals/metrics In order for the web application to be a success in terms of usability, basic tasks should be completed at least 80% of the time that they are started (80% completion rate). Users tested should answer a question after each task asking them to grade the level of difficulty of the task on a scale 1-7. More than 50% of those answers should be on the range 1-3. The basic tasks are:

Guest’s primary tasks

Host’s primary tasks

ƒƒ Search for an accommodation in a specific area with specific amenities and rates;

ƒƒ Successfully create a new account;

ƒƒ Select extra services from the host when filling the booking form; ƒƒ Successfully register and complete booking form and receive booking confirmation; ƒƒ Contact the property’s host using the internal messaging system; ƒƒ Successfully cancel a booking when necessary.

ƒƒ Add a property, including its details, location, photos, and video; ƒƒ Set up a base rate and secondary rates; ƒƒ Set up extra services that can be offered to the guests; ƒƒ Log in to account and check for new bookings; ƒƒ Update a property’s availability calendar with a given range of dates when it will be unavailable;

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RESEARCH STRATEGIC PLANNING DEVELOPMENT USABILITY TESTING

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Design problem identification Primary problem Booking process Guests and hosts need a way to close the deal once they find each other, and that needs to be done in a way that satisfies both of them. The biggest problem in the vacation rental industry is the booking model currently adopted by the majority of the vacation rental companies: the Inquiry-based booking model. In this model the host can take up to 24 hours to respond to the guest’s booking request, and the guest usually is only required to pay a deposit at the time of the booking. The remaining amount is only paid when the guest checks in at the property. The problem affects guests and hosts alike. Guests do not like it because it is slow and the payment options are very inconsistent and do not inspire trust. Hosts do not like it because it scares away guests not used to the process and because in this model guests only pay a deposit at the moment of booking, leaving hosts with no control over cancellation penalties done in the last minute or due to no-show.

Secondary problems Trust Staying at someone else’s property is an idea that takes some getting used to. Guests that are booking their first vacation rental are very sensitive to this problem. They are used to staying at hotels where they can expect a certain standard of quality and where they know exactly what to do in case of problems. On the other hand, hosts who are renting out their own homes or their second home are also very concerned about who will be staying there. Usually trust is not so much of an issue for property managers since they are more worried about occupancy rates and have the liability issues all covered by rental contracts and house rules.

Communication In order to be profitable, all transactions between hosts and guests need to go through the application. The application itself need to become the exclusive communication channel between guests and hosts. That communication needs to be optimized to guarantee the satisfaction of both guests and hosts in order to avoid that they try to communicate outside of the website.

Billing model A host’s ultimate goal is to make a profit and to do that they have to create listings in as many web sites as they can. However the cost of it can be too high on services that charge per listing, creating a barrier that keep users away. Another problem faced by hosts is the payment itself. Guests are used to paying only half of the rent at the time of the booking. This rule opens the door for a series of potential problems involving last minute cancellations, no shows, refunds, etc. On the other hand, guests want to be assured that they are protected against surprises when they check in. Different vacation rental Web sites have different ways to charge the hosts for advertising their properties and to help hosts and guests close the deal and make payment.

Cancellation by the host Cancelation of booking by the host usually happens when the host confirms a booking and later realizes that the property is already booked for those dates but the availability calendar was not up to date. This is the main reason the inquiry-based booking model is more widely adopted than the direct online booking model. This situation is also more common amongst properties managed by owners than amongst properties managed by a property management company. Web sites who use the direct online booking model do not refund their commission fees to the hosts when there is a cancelation by the host.

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Booking model comparative analysis Booking a property is the main goal on the Web site for both hosts and guests. The booking process is a collection of smaller tasks that when done effectively result in the booking of a property. The overall effectiveness of the Web site is a reflect of the effectiveness of this one major task. Bellow are diagrams of the booking process evolution since the beginning of this project.

Inquiry-based booking model considered before user interviews and 1st usability tests

Advantages for hosts ƒƒ Concerned homeowners have the possibility of picking and choosing who stays in their properties. ƒƒ Customized Terms of Service and payment conditions. ƒƒ No broker fees added to daily rates. ƒƒ No merit based system to punish outdated calendars and cancellation of booking by the owner after booking is complete.

Disadvantages for hosts ƒƒ Learning curve for guests not accustomed to the this booking model.

The Inquiry-based booking model is the booking model being used by the large majority of Web sites that list vacation rentals online. In this model the guest chooses a property and sends a booking request. The host receives the request, checks the availability of the property and responds to the request accordingly within 24 hours. Once both parties agree on the booking, the guest sends a deposit payment according to the payment conditions of the host, and pays the remaining amount during check in.

Advantages for guests ƒƒ Lower chance of cancellation of booking by the host after booking is complete.

Disadvantages for guests ƒƒ Slow booking process. ƒƒ Steep learning curve for new users of this booking model. ƒƒ Terms of service, payment and cancellation policies are not standardized.

32

ƒƒ Payment of a fixed monthly or annual fee even if booking frequency is low. ƒƒ Payment conditions are not standard and guests have a higher bargain power over payments. ƒƒ Same booking model as the majority of online services currently operating, which means a lot more competition.

Consequences of adoption of this booking model ƒƒ Web site’s reliability is affected by how up to date the listed property’s availability calendar is. ƒƒ Competition is a lot higher because the majority of vacation rental listing services currently operating online use this booking model. ƒƒ This booking model does not make any significant effort to address the trust problem between guests and hosts.


Diagram of the inquiry-based booking model

Host creates property listing

Guest finds property listing

Host accepts booking request/sends rental contract

Host answer questions

Guest decides to book property

Guest sends payment information/ signs rental contract

Guest receives booking confirmation

Guest sends booking request

Host declines booking request

Guest has further questions

Guest receives booking denial

Host receives payment information/ signed contract Host process deposit payment/updates property calendar/sends welcome info

Blue boxes are tasks performed by hosts

Green boxes are tasks performed by guests

Dashed lines indicate communication conducted outside of the Web site's system. i.e. email or telephone calls

Guest checks in/pays rest of rent to host

33


Direct booking model considered after user interviews and 1st round of usability tests The direct booking model is a booking model similar to the ones used by hotels. Guests are able to book a property online, pay for it using a credit card, and receive a booking confirmation instantly. In order to work, this booking model requires that the availability calendar of the properties be up to date at all times. In this booking model the Web site charges a commission from the hosts per booking. This booking model is faster than the alternative inquiry-based booking model described bellow, as well as very similar to the online booking conventions established by the existing hotel industry. However, in this booking model the chances of booking cancelation by the host is higher than on the inquiry-based model due to the fact that direct online booking relies on the property’s availability calendar being up to date at all times.

Advantages for guests ƒƒ Faster and more convenient booking process. ƒƒ Smooth transition from the hotel booking model already known by users. ƒƒ Uniform terms of service and cancellation policy due to use of immediate payment model.

Disadvantages for guests ƒƒ Higher chances of cancellation of booking by the owner after booking confirmation. (Booking cancellation by the owner is also a possibility on the inquiry-based booking model)

Advantages for hosts ƒƒ Certainty of payment and faster booking process. ƒƒ Better placement of listing due to merit-based system. ƒƒ Smooth transition from the hotel booking model already known by users.

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Disadvantages for hosts ƒƒ Homeowners who like to pick and choose who can stay in their properties will be punished by the merit-based system. ƒƒ Broker’s fee added to the daily rates.

Consequences of adoption of this booking model ƒƒ Guest accustomed to hotel’s booking model will not have to learn and adapt to a different booking model, making the booking process for vacation rentals more smooth and user friendly. ƒƒ Hosts that do not keep their availability calendars up to date will have their listings placement systematically lowered due to the meritbased system in place. Consequently the Web site will become a venue for hosts who always keep their calendars up to date and the overall chances of cancellation by the host will decrease. ƒƒ This booking model represent a competitive advantage over most competitors since the majority of vacation rental listing services currently operating online use the Inquiry-based Booking Model. ƒƒ This booking model eliminates a competitive advantage that individual homeowners have over property managers using the inquiry-based booking model, in that individual homeowners can receive booking requests and close deals at night while property managers can only do that during business hours.


Diagram of the direct booking model

Host creates property listing

Blue boxes are tasks performed by hosts

Guest finds property listing

Guest books property/enters credit card information

Host receives booking notification/ sends welcome info and instructions

Guest checks-in

Host receives payment from Keyzz

Host cancels booking/pays booking cancellation penalty

Guest receives cancellation notice/ alternative property suggestions

Green boxes are tasks performed by guests

35


Hybrid booking model adopted after 2nd round of usability tests The hybrid booking model introduces the concept of “instant booking”, a feature that allows hosts to decide if they want each of their properties to be available for direct booking or not. It also allows them to customize the “instant booking” feature of each property to filter guests with less than desirable characteristics. Every property listed has the “instant booking” features initially turned off and only accepts inquiries (booking requests). Hosts have the option of activating “instant booking” and customizing the feature with a series of criteria that can be “on” or “off” in order to make their properties available for instant booking for guests that fulfill those criteria. For instance, a host might want to make instant booking available only for guests who have a picture in their profiles and who want to stay in the property for less than a week. Guests also have a say in the matter. They can choose to book properties that are available for direct booking or they can send inquiries to the properties that do not have instant booking available. Properties listed without instant booking also are booked through the web application’s booking system and the payment is handled in a similar fashion: hosts receive payment once guests check in. Here are the criteria available for hosts when customizing the instant booking feature: ƒƒ Profile picture - hosts might feel more comfortable to let their property to someone when they know what that person looks like; ƒƒ Guest’s average rating - represent the rental history that the guest has in the web application. Some hosts might decide to only rent for guests who have stayed in vacation rental properties before and understand the rules; ƒƒ Party size - the number of people coming to stay in the property. Hosts who have large properties can choose to turn off “instant booking” for large parties. That way they can expect larger parties to contact them through booking requests and answer any questions that the host might have; ƒƒ Length of stay - number of days booked. Hosts can establish a maximum number of days up to which “instant booking” is available. 36

ƒƒ Amount of time between booking date and check in date - some hosts are suspicious of last minute bookings and prefer to deal with those bookings in person instead of allowing “instant booking”.

Advantages for guests ƒƒ Faster and more convenient booking process; ƒƒ Smooth transition from the hotel booking model already known by users; ƒƒ Uniform terms of service and cancellation policy due to use of immediate payment model.

Disadvantages for guests ƒƒ Guests who do not fulfill the criteria established by hosts cannot book properties directly.

Advantages for hosts ƒƒ Concerned homeowners have the possibility of picking and choosing who stays in their properties. ƒƒ Uniform terms of service and cancellation policy due to use of immediate payment model. ƒƒ Certainty of payment and faster booking process. ƒƒ Better placement of listing due to merit-based system. ƒƒ Smooth transition from the hotel booking model already known by users.

Disadvantages for hosts ƒƒ Broker’s fee added to the daily rates; ƒƒ Ranking system punishes hosts who cancel bookings or deny booking requests.


Diagram of the direct booking model Host creates property listing

Blue boxes are tasks performed by hosts

Green boxes are tasks performed by guests

Host activates instant booking/sets up instant booking criteria

Guest finds property listing Guest does not fulfill instant booking criteria

Guest fulfills instant booking criteria

Guest sends booking request/enters payment info

Guest books property/ enters payment info

Host declines booking request

Guest receives booking denial/receives alternative property suggestions

Host receives booking notification/sends welcome info and instructions

Host accepts booking request/sends welcome info and instructions

Guest checks-in

Host receives payment from Keyzz

Guest checks-in

Host receives payment from Keyzz

Host cancels booking/ pays booking cancellation penalty

Guest receives cancellation notice/ alternative property suggestions 37


Payment/billing model comparative analysis There are two ways a listing Web site can charge a host: monthly/ annual fee per listing, or service fee per booking. And there are two ways a guest can pay a host for staying at the host’s property: direct payment at the time of the booking, or advanced deposit followed by payment of remaining amount at the time of check in. Keyzz will adopt the “Fee per booking” billing model because it offers a more safe and practical experience for both hosts and guests. The comparative analysis bellow describes the differences between the two billing models.

Fee per listing ƒƒ The host pays a fixed monthly/annual fee for each listing or for a bundle of listings. ƒƒ It’s the preferred billing method of the majority of existing vacation rental Web sites operating under the Inquiry-based booking model. ƒƒ Under this payment/billing model, the web application that publishes the listings does not mediate the deal between the host and the guest during the booking process, and consequently it does not arbitrates any conflicts that may arise. ƒƒ Under this billing model, guests usually pay 50% of the rent at the time of the booking and the remainder is paid at the time of checkin, which can potentially cause problems for hosts in case of short notice cancellations and no-shows. ƒƒ This payment/billing model is only advantageous for hosts who have a high occupancy rate year round and it can be very costly for hosts with low occupancy rates. ƒƒ Both guests and hosts are potentially exposed to frauds and illicit behavior from the other party.

38

Fee per booking ƒƒ A service fee is added to each booking and paid to the listing Web site. ƒƒ The listing Web site intermediates the payment that is made by credit card or Paypal. ƒƒ Guests and hosts can only communicate with each other through the listing Web site’s internal messaging system up until the closing of the booking deal. ƒƒ If guests and hosts try to negotiate outside of the listing Web site to avoid paying the service fee, they will not be able to review each other. ƒƒ Under the Instant Booking Model, the guests account is charged at the time of the booking and the host receives the payment only after the guest checks into the property. ƒƒ Under the Inquiry-Based Booking Model, the guests account is charged when the host accepts the booking request and the host receives payment only after the guest checks into the property. ƒƒ In case of cancellation by the guest the host receives payment according to the cancellation policy pre agreed upon. ƒƒ In case of cancellation by the host the guest receives a full refund and the host pays the listing Web site a fee equals or greater than the booking service fee. ƒƒ Under this payment/billing model, both hosts and guests are protected against frauds and illicit behavior.


User roles, reviews, and ranking ƒƒ A guest can be a host and vice-versa. ƒƒ A user can receive guest’s reviews from their hosts whenever they stay in a property. These reviews are used to give that user an average rating as a guest. A guest’s average rating is important because that is one of the criteria hosts can use to decide whether or not they should confirm/accept a booking from that guest and whether or not “instant booking” is available to that guest. ƒƒ Each property receives property’s reviews from guests who stayed in that property. These reviews are used to help give the property an average rating. A property’s average rating is one of the criteria taken into consideration for the ranking of that property on the search results. A higher average rating means a better placement on search results. Another criteria that has influence on the ranking of a property is the amount of booking cancellations and booking request denials made by its host.

ƒƒ There is no such thing as a host’s average rating because hosts do not receive reviews. Their properties receive reviews. Hosts are evaluated based on a merit-based system that punishes booking cancellations and booking request denials. Whenever a host is punished all of his properties’ average ratings are lowered. ƒƒ Users may opt to become exclusive hosts. That means they give up all features that involve being a guest, including the ability to receive guest’s reviews and to add properties to a wish list. This feature is ideal for professional property managers. ƒƒ When searching for a vacation rental, guests cannot see the difference between a regular host and an exclusive host. Exclusive hosts can upload a picture and create a profile just like regular hosts even though they cannot book properties as guests. The reason for that is to maintain the impression of personalized treatment that guests look for when staying at a vacation rental.

Host's ranking according to the merit-based system

Property's average ranking

is based on

Property reviews made by guests

is used to determine

Guest's average ranking

is based on

Guest reviews made by hosts

is used to determine

Booking cancellations made by the host is based on Host's booking request acceptance history

Ranking of each property in the search results page

Host's booking request acceptance

"Instant booking" availability

39


Primary features specifications Multimedia support

Extra Services

1

Hosts are able to add photos, video and multiple map views to their property listings, as well as send extra pictures to guests through the Internal Message System. Guests can write reviews and attach photos to it in order to illustrate specific details about their stay.

Multiple Rates

Hosts can set up and offer different rates for different seasons, days of the week, or special discounts. 3

Guests can see the price for each night when they are planning their trips. Each property can have different rates for weekdays, weekends, high and low seasons, as well as holidays. Guests can see all those rates in one place right when they are choosing the date and length of their stay.

Internal Message System

4

One of the many benefits of staying at a vacation rentals is the possibility of dealing with hosts directly, receiving personalized treatment, and having questions answered. In the hybrid booking model all communication between guests and hosts before the booking is confirmed must be made through the internal messaging system. Both parties need an account in order to use the system, and by doing so, they are protected against fraud and illicit behavior, such as scams and no shows. In case they find a way to close the booking outside of system, they won’t be able to publish reviews of each other. Guest reviews is a very important factor for those looking to find their next vacation rental and it is also an important factor when calculating the search rank of a property. This feature also helps address the trust issue between guests and hosts by creating a direct communication line between both parties.

40

Hosts can offer a series of extra services that can be purchased at the time of booking including breakfast, pick up/drop off at airport, cleaning services, laundry, parking, etc.

Customized Terms of Use and Cancellation Policy

2

Availability Calendar

5

6

Hosts are able to create their own Terms of Use or “house rules”, and they can also chose the cancellation policy that best suit their needs from a group of existing cancellation policies. This feature helps standardize the rules amongst all properties listed, giving both the hosts and the guests a feeling of security and trust, and at the same time giving hosts some flexibility when it comes to cancellation and refund policy.

Photo reviews and ranking system

7

In order to address the trust issue that is common in the vacation rental industry, guests can add pictures to their reviews of the property they stayed. This feature helps potential guests to make a more informed decision about where they will be staying. Guests and properties can be reviewed, but not hosts. And only guests can publish reviews with pictures.

Exclusive Hosting A feature that allows users to “turn off” all features focused on guests, such as wish list and the “Trips” section of the dashboard. In this way users who use the account only for hosting can focus on hosting activities. This feature targets specially users who are professional property managers.


1

2

3 4

5

6

7

Book property page Property page 41


Map-based search results 1

2

3

1

Users will be able to see the accommodation search results on a map as well as look at the pictures and some details of the accommodations without leaving the map. They can also refine the search results without leaving the map and even visualize the search results based on pictures of the properties’ views. 2

Instant booking

3

Booking a property as easy as booking a hotel room. Hosts have the option of activating instant booking individually for each of their properties. When activating instant booking, hosts can set up minimum requirements that guests need to fulfill in order to book the property instantly. In that way hosts have some power over who can stay in their properties. For example they can choose to only make instant booking available for users who have a profile picture and a minimum rating or 3 stars. By doing this if the guest does not have a profile picture he can still book the property but instead of booking it instantly he will have to send a booking request and wait for a confirmation.

Wish List

4

User interviews showed that guests want to be able to bookmark properties that they would like to stay at on a future trip or properties that they stayed at and want to stay again. 4

Merit-Based System Exposure and S.E.O. are the highest priority for hosts who list their properties online. A merit-based system takes advantage of that by punishing hosts who cancel bookings after the booking has been confirmed or who deny booking requests frequently. It lowers the search ranking of the properties listed by those hosts, and consequently reduces the chances of their properties being booked. Ultimately the objective of this system is to reward hosts who keep their property’s availability calendar up to date, and consequently reduce the chances of cancellation of bookings by the host.

Search results page 42


Target system’s configuration ƒƒ Target OS: Windows XP and later PC OS versions + Mac OS X 10.1 and later. ƒƒ Target browsers: Internet Explorer 7 and later, Firefox 9 and later, Chrome 17 and later, Safari 5 and later. ƒƒ Target display resolution: 1280x800 and higher.

Usage statistics based on data from W3Schools.com: OS Usage

Win7

Vista

Win2003

WinXP

Linux

Mac

Mobile

March 2012

49.9%

4.3%

0.6%

28.9%

4.9%

8.9%

1.4%

Browser Usage

Internet Explorer (IE)

Firefox (FF)

Chrome (C)

Safari (S)

Opera (O)

18.9%

36.3%

37.3%

4.4%

2.3%

March 2012

IE Usage

Total

IE 10

IE 9

IE 8

IE 7

IE 6

FF Usage

Total

FF 12

FF 11

FF 10

FF 9

Older

March - 12

18.9%

0.0%

6.1%

9.4%

2.5%

0.9%

March - 12

36.3%

0.3%

9.1%

15.1%

2.2%

9.6%

Chr Usage

Total

C 19

C 18

C 17

C 16

Older

Safari Usage

Total

S5

S4

March - 12

37.3%

0.6%

1.5%

31.9%

1.0%

2.3%

March - 12

4.4%

4.3%

0.1%

Opera Usage

Total

O 12

O 11

O 10

O Mini

March - 12

2.3%

0.1%

1.6%

0.1%

0.4%

Screen Resolution January 2012

1024x768

1280x800

1280x1024

1366x768

Other high resolutions

13%

10.7%

11.5%

18.7%

46.4%

43


Information architecture

Homepage

Log in Search results

List a property

Sign Up

Dashboard

Forgot password

Property page

Sign Up

Profile

Wish list

Trips

Confirmation page

Sign up

Booking details

Add property flow

Log in Property details and amenities

Profile details

Write a review

Booking review info

Photos / Video

Notifications

Review successfully submitted

Booking confirmation

Availability Calendar

Account settings

Dashboard

Cancellation policy / House rules

Dashboard

44

Contact

Trip details

Cancel trip

Host reviews

Trip cancellation confirmation

Abusive / Fake Review Claim

Compose new message

Claim Successfully Submitted

Terms of service

Privacy policy

Fake reviews policy

Cancellation policies

404 Page Not Found


Inbox

Hosting

Add property flow

Sent messages

Booking request

Confirm booking request

Decline booking request

Booking Notification

Message

Dashboard

Past Bookings

Guest review

Upcoming bookings

Availability calendar

Instant Booking Settings

Reply message

Request Property's Review

Property Review

Review successfully submitted

Cancel booking

Rates

Property location and details

Booking cancellation confirmation

Property Reviews

Photos / Video

Cancellation policy / House rules

Amenities

Abusive / Fake Review Claim

Claim Successfully Submitted

Boxes in these color can also be accessed from links located in the footer of most pages.

Property detais/ Overview

Boxes in this color indicate pages and features not available for users who opt to be exclusive hosts.

Extra services

45


Information architecture with user tasks for guests

Homepage 1

8

9

4

5

Log in Search results

List a property

Sign Up

Property page

Sign Up

Profile

1

2

8

Dashboard 3

6

7

Wish list

Forgot password

Confirmation page

Trips

9

Sign up

Booking details

Booking review info

Add property flow

Log in Property details and amenities

Profile details

Write a review

Photos / Video

Notifications

Availability Calendar

Dashboard

Cancellation policy / House rules

2

Dashboard

46

Cancel trip

Host reviews

7

3

Booking confirmation

Trip details

Review successfully submitted 5

Trip cancellation confirmation

Account settings

Contact

Compose new message

Abusive / Fake Review Claim

Claim Successfully Submitted

Terms of service

Privacy policy

Fake reviews policy

Cancellation policies

404 Page Not Found

4


1

Find a property

4

Contact a property's host

7

Add information to your proďŹ le

2

Book a property

5

Write a property review and include photos

8

Add property to wish list

3

Set up mobile notiďŹ cations

6

Check for new messages

9

Find and read cancellation policy of a property

Inbox

Hosting

Add property flow

6

Sent messages

Booking request

Confirm booking request

Decline booking request

Booking Notification

Message

Dashboard

Past Bookings

Guest review

Upcoming bookings

Availability calendar

Instant Booking Settings

Reply message

Request Property's Review

Property Review

Review successfully submitted

Cancel booking

Rates

Property location and details

Booking cancellation confirmation

Property Reviews

Photos / Video

Cancellation policy / House rules

Amenities

Abusive / Fake Review Claim

Claim Successfully Submitted

Boxes in these color can also be accessed from links located in the footer of most pages.

Property detais/ Overview

Boxes in this color indicate pages and features not available for users who opt to be exclusive hosts.

Extra services

47


Information architecture with user tasks for hosts

Homepage 1

2 Search results

List a property

Sign Up

Dashboard 6

Property page

Sign Up

Log in 4 5

3

Profile

7

8

9

Wish list

Forgot password

Confirmation page

Trips

Sign up

Booking details

Booking review info

Add property flow

Log in Property details and amenities

Profile details

Write a review

Photos / Video

Notifications

Review successfully submitted

3

Booking confirmation

Availability Calendar

Dashboard

Cancellation policy / House rules

Cancel trip

Host reviews

Trip cancellation confirmation

Abusive / Fake Review Claim

Account settings

Dashboard

Contact 1

48

Trip details

Compose new message

Claim Successfully Submitted

Terms of service

Privacy policy

Fake reviews policy

Cancellation policies

404 Page Not Found


1

Sign up and list a property

4

Submit a review for a guest's stay at your property

7

Update the availability calendar of a property

2

Set up instant booking

5

Check for new booking requests and confirm availability

8

Find guest's contact details for an specific booking notification

3

Set up mobile notifications

6

Cancel an existing booking

9

Edit pricing details of a property

Inbox

10

Add/edit additional services

Hosting

Add property flow

Property detais/ Overview 10

Sent messages

Booking request

Booking Notification

Message

Dashboard

Past Bookings

Guest review

Upcoming bookings

Availability calendar 8

Confirm booking request

5

Decline booking request

Reply message

Request Property's Review

Property Review

Abusive / Fake Review Claim

Claim Successfully Submitted

Boxes in these color can also be accessed from links located in the footer of most pages.

Boxes in this color indicate pages and features not available for users who opt to be exclusive hosts.

Review 4 successfully submitted

Cancel booking

Instant Booking Settings

7

Rates

Property location and details

9

Booking 6 cancellation confirmation

2

Property Reviews

Photos / Video

Cancellation policy / House rules

Amenities

Extra services 10

49


50


RESEARCH STATEGIC PLANNING DEVELOPMENT USABILITY TESTING

51


52


Development blog The latest version of the development blog for this project went live in February 2012 and can be found at http://blog.keyzz.com. With more than 100 entries, the blog contains all the weekly entries from the directed study classrooms, including two semesters group directed study of visual design and two semesters group directed study of user experience. The content is categorized chronologically and by subject. The development of the project can be better illustrated by the time line of events presented on the following pages and that covers two years of studies.

Development blog at blog.keyzz.com 53


Project development time line

Fall semester starts GDS User Experience with Tom Brinck GDS Visual Design with Ryan Madeiros

September 2008 Join the Web Design & New Media graduate program September 2009 A Vacation Rental Web Application is chosen as the theme for final thesis

Visual design exploration starts

March 2010 Midpoint Thesis Proposal is accepted

User interviews conducted

2010

Sep

Main user tasks identified

Oct

Nov

Dec

2011

Final visual design after 1st exploration

Moodboards are finalized and logo design is in progress 1st wireframe prototype created with Axure ready for test 54

1st round of usability testing (4 users) with tasks for specific for guests

Jan


Spring semester starts GDS User Experience - Kathleen Watson GDS Visual Design - April Greiman DS Web Development - Adam Chromicz

3rd round of usability testing takes place (4 users) with tasks specific for hosts

Research different PHP frameworks that can be used for web development Adoption of Direct-Booking Model after 1st round of testing Decided to focus on the front end of the application during the Spring and then develop the application using Drupal during the Summer and Fall

After the second round of user tests a hybrid booking model is adopted

Project main typeface is chosen: Museo Sans by Dutch designer Jos Find and list Buivenga vacation rentals.

Final look and feel

Find and list vacation rentals.

Feb

Mar 2nd round of user tests (5 users) with tasks for specific for guests

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

8th version of the wireframe prototype is ready for 3rd round of usability testing

Find and list vacation rentals.

Logo design finalized

Wireframe prototype is refined and ready for testing (6th version)

Decided to refine the visual design to improve the look and feel of the application 55


Fall semester starts DS Web Technologies II - Jose Solis

Start UX Lab internship Start using Views, Blocks, Messaging, and Book modules on Drupal 7 Drupal Theme for the project on live.keyzz.com is concluded. 1140 CSS Grid System chosen to be used in the project

2011

Sep

Oct

Nov

2012

Jan

4th round of usability testing takes place (5 users) with tasks specific for guests

Start learning Drupal 7

9th version of the prototype is ready - hybrid version, part Axure based, part hard-coded 56

Dec


Keyzz Development Blog (blog.keyzz.com) goes live

Walkthrough prototype development under way

Final Review date is set to May 17th

Feb

Mar

Apr

A high-fidelity walkthrough prototype will be presented during the final review to illustrate the project’s interaction design

May

Final Review Presentation

5th round of usability testing takes place (3 users) with tasks specific for hosts

Drupal development is abandoned due to time and technical constraints 10th version of the prototype is ready for testing

57


Wireframes A wireframe prototype was created using the software Axure Pro and published to be used by users during the usability tests conducted. This prototype has been updated and expanded many times since its first version. It can be found at the following addresses:

1st version http://www.keyzz.com/prototype

2nd version - used on the 1st usability test http://www.keyzz.com/prototype2

5th version - used on the 2nd usability test http://www.keyzz.com/prototype5

8th version - used on the 3rd usability test http://www.keyzz.com/prototype8

9th version - used on the 4th usability test http://www.keyzz.com/prototype9/index.php

10th version - used on the 5th usability test http://www.keyzz.com/prototype10-1/index.php

58


Moodboards

Sophisticated/Corporate

Adventurous/Vintage

Playful/Friendly

59


Logo development

Find and list vacation Find andrentals list vacation here. Find rentals and list here. vacation Findrentals and list here. vacation rentals here. Find and list vacation rentals here.

Find and list vacation Find andrentals. list vacation Find rentals. and list vacation Find rentals. and list vacation rentals. Find and list vacation rentals.

Find and list vacation Find and rentals. list vacation Find rentals. and list vacation Findrentals. and list vacation rentals. Find and list vacation rentals.

60

FindFind andand Find list list Find vacation andvacation list andvacation list rentals. rentals. vacation rentals. rentals.

Find and list vacation Find and rentals list vacation here. Find rentals and list here v Find and list vacation rentals here.


Find and list vacation rentals. Final logo

Find and list vacation rentals.

Find and list vacation rentals.

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Typography Primary Typeface Museo Sans

AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefgh i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefgh i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789 | /\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefg h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefg h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefg h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefg h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefgh i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefg h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx yz 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789

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Secondary Typefaces Lucida Grande

AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdef g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdef g h ij k lm n o p q r s t u v w x yz 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 Georgia

AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdef g h i j k lm n o p q r s t u vwx y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdef g h i j k lm n o p q r s t u vw x y z 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789 AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJlKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789|/\?!@#$%^&*(){}[] 0123456789

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Color palette

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Layout exploration and evolution Home page

3rd wireframe prototype (December 2010)

Design direction 2 (December 2010)

Final design (May 2011) Design direction 1 (October 2010) 65


Property page

1st wireframe prototype (November 2010)

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Design direction 1 (November 2010) - Inquiry-Based booking model (see basket detail and “Add to Basket“ button)


Design direction 2 (December 2010) - After adoption of Direct booking model (no basket and “Book Now� button)

Final design (May 2011) - After adoption of the hybrid booking model

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Search results page

Design direction 1 (November 2010) - Inquiry-based booking model (see basket detail)

3rd wireframe prototype (December 2010) - After 1st usability test and adoption of map-based search

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Design direction 2 (December 2010) - After 1st usability test and adoption of map-based search and direct booking model Final design (May 2011) - Adoption of hybrid booking model 69


Dashboard page

8th wireframe prototype (April 2011) Final design (January 2012)

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Listing details - property rates page

Listing details - property rates page

Final design (January 2012) 8th wireframe prototype (April 2011)

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RESEARCH STRATEGIC PLANNING DEVELOPMENT USABILITY TESTING

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Usability tests Five rounds of usability tests were conducted throughout the duration of this project. A report of the findings was created after each round of usability tests and is available at the development blog of the project (http://blog.keyzz.com/). Bellow are the main recommendations that resulted from each round of tests.

The primary goal of testing is always to identify ways to improve the design of the Web application based on observing where people have difficulties and gathering their comments as they use the application.

Summary of usability tests performed 1st Test

2nd Test

3rd Test

4th Test

5th Test

Nov-Dec 2010

Feb-Mar 2011

May 2011

November 2011

April 2012

Number of users tested:

4 users

5 users

4 users

5 users

3 users

Target audience:

Guests

Guests

Hosts

Guests

Hosts

Test dates:

Prototypes tested*:

http://www.keyzz. com/prototype and http://www.keyzz. com/prototype2

http://www.keyzz. com/prototype4 and http://www. keyzz.com/ prototype5

http://www.keyzz. http://www.keyzz. com/prototype7 and com/prototype9/ http://www.keyzz. index.php com/prototype8

http://www.keyzz. com/prototype10-1/ index.php

*There are two prototypes for some of the tests because the first one is used for a pilot test and after revisions the second one is used for the remainder of the tests.

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Main recommendations after 1st usability test 11 - Adoption of direct online booking model Users accustomed to booking hotel rooms have difficulty adapting and accepting a different and slower booking model. This adoption means there will be a lot of changes to the current prototype and future Web site, including exclusion of the basket, the booking request form, and inclusion of booking process funnel with credit card payment in the end.

2

22 - Addition of a map to the search results page User testing showed that users do not always remember to use a map. They should have a map always in hand. Don’t make the user think. 3 of the users tested did not think about using the map to complete the task, and once told about that option they realized how obvious the solution was.

33 - Improve and expand search refinement options All property amenities should be searchable. When trying to complete the first task, 3 of users complained they couldn’t filter the search results further. And when trying to complete the third task, all users tried first to filter the results, before thinking of a map.

4 - Home page search form with only one field User testing showed that users prefer to use search refinements once search results are displayed instead of filling search criteria on home page.

5 - Adjustment of layout and hierarchy on review form and contact form Users were confused by the order in which fields were organized and by the overall length of the form, as well as some hidden fields on the contact form. All 4 users commented on the layout of the review form, even though the completion rate was 100%.

6 - Put footer content on a box to make it clear it is a footer Currently the footer is not visually separated from the rest of the content, which makes it confusing.

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1

7

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3

The 1st version of the wireframe prototype before the adoption of the direct booking model. It still has a basket 1 where users could add potential properties before sending booking requests to all of them. The search results page does not show a map of the properties unless the user chooses to do so 2 and it does not have links to the reviews of each property. 7 The search refinements section is not complete. 3

77 - Add links to guest reviews from the search results page Users who like to read guest reviews can go straight to that section of the property page without having to scroll down.

8 - Move No Fake Reviews box The box is currently on a prominent position and is very distracting. It should only mention the FTC once the user clicks on it and goes to the No Fake Reviews Policy page. Two of the users commented on this issue.


Main recommendations after 2nd usability test 1 1- Adoption of a hybrid booking model A hybrid booking model will give users tools to customize and choose which booking model they prefer. A feature called “instant booking” allows hosts to activate the direct booking model on each of their properties. Guests also have a choice when booking. They can choose to book a property right away (direct booking) or send a booking request and wait for the host’s answer.

3

22 - New location for the availability calendar On the property page, when guests refine their search by inputting the desired date they should be able to see immediately whether those dates are available or not for that specific property. In case the user is wondering about the availability of the property for dates different than the ones input, the present solution is to scroll down to the availability calendar and check it out. A better solution is to populate the dynamic date-pickers with the availability calendar of the property. That way they can show whether a property is booked or available for each day as well as the daily rate of the property. This solution would eliminate the need of having the availability calendar on a prominent position of the page and it could be moved to one of the tabs.

2

Detail from the 9th version of the wireframe prototype

3 3- Check-in and check-out date-pickers Check-in and check-out date-pickers are not present on the home page. Users should be able to refine their search by inputting dates on the search result page. In case they pick a property without inputting check-in and check-out dates, they can enter those dates on the property page and check availability for that specific property. The date-pickers on the property page can either be prefilled with the dates entered on the search results page, or, in case they are not pre-filled the “Book Now” button won’t be active until the user picks dates.

1

4 - Search refinement feature Guests who are looking for a property should be able to refine their search based on any of the amenities that are present in the properties being searched. One option is to initially show only the

Detail from the 8th version of the wireframe prototype 77


most popular amenities and have a button saying “show more amenities” that expands the list of filterable amenities in the search refinement panel.

55- Dashboard The “Dashboard” button should be more prominent on the page and once the user logs in, he should be able to see the dashboard instead of staying at the home page. On the dashboard there should be a “Find properties” field.

6 - Map with neighborhoods The search refinement would be a lot more successful if there was a division of the city map in areas or neighborhoods. A more visual search refinement would be fun and engaging to use. Google Maps API offers the possibility of creating overlays that cover specific areas of the map. These overlays can be of different colors to represent different neighborhoods.

77 - Review page before booking Users were confused about the booking confirmation page. It is not clear if the booking was done of if there is still a chance to change booking details. There should be a “Review page” between the booking page and the booking confirmation page.

88 - Exclusive Hosting Feature Users who represent property management companies or that use the website exclusively to rent out their properties can turn off the “guest” features of their account by choosing to “Turn on Exclusive Hosting” on the profile section of the dashboard. That way features like the wish list and my bookings won’t be a distraction on the dashboard.

5

8

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Detail from the 7th version of the wireframe prototype - Part of the “List a property” sequence where hosts could set up different rates. Users were overwhelmed by this page.

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Dashboard page with “Exclusive hosting” feature activated. Notice that the “Trips” tab disappeared and so did the “Upcoming trips” section. Notice also the prominence of the dashboard button.


Main recommendations after 3rd usability test 1 - Streamline and predict user’s actions on “List a property” process funnel Creating a property listing is one of the main tasks of the application and it should be optimized to offer a more engaging and efficient experience. The prototype tested asked all the questions necessary to create the most complete listing possible and most of the users tested were overwhelmed by the amount of information asked from them. A solution for this problem would be to create a sequence of steps that: a) asks only for the minimum information necessary to create an effective listing; b) are dynamically integrated so that each step offers the user options based on selections made on previous steps; and c) are pre-filled with most common answers or suggestions. Here are some examples: a. On the first step the users should only see the field where he can enter his address. Once the address is entered and confirmed by the user the rest of the form can appear with questions consistent with the address entered. b. Users do not need to input the neighborhood name. They should be able to choose from a list of available and searchable neighborhood names. For cities where there are no neighborhood names on the database, that question simply does not appear on the form and consequently the option to filter results by neighborhood will not appear on the search refinement section of the search results page. c. It is not necessary to ask the user whether he wants to show street view or not. That feature should be automatically turned on and the user should have an option to turn it off later (provided that he knows that the street view is adjusted to not show the user’s actual street address). d. There should be contextual tips that appear whenever a new form field receives focus as well as in-line validation whenever it is possible. e. On the second step of the process the amenity options should be populated according to the choices made on the previous step

(e.g., if the user selects “house” as the property type, “doorman” and “elevator in the building” are not viable amenity options. f. Extra services is a great feature but it can be overwhelming for first time users. Instead of displaying all the options on the screen there should be a descriptions of what they mean and a button to display them. g. On the last step, a cancellation policy should be pre-selected based on the user’s past choice or the average policy should be pre-selected in the case of first time users. The same applies for all other fields in this step.

22 - The burden of having to choose a property rate Choosing a property rate is an essential but also a very delicate task. It is also a great opportunity to prove to the user that the Web site really intends to make the process of listing a property the easiest possible. That can be done by offering users suggestions for rate ranges based on the size, type, and location of their property. That suggestion will be based on prices of other similar properties listed on the Web site. In case of cities where there are no other properties listed, the suggested range should be wider. Any help filling out this required question is better than no help at all.

33- Progressive engagement on the rates and calendar page The ability to create alternate rates is a gift for more experienced users but it can be overwhelming for new users. This fact makes the rates page a good candidate for progressive engagement with smart defaults. The user should only see the sections of the page that he is interested in. The user should see that there are options to customize the rates further if he decides to do so. If there is only one rate, the calendar should give the option of choosing other rates. If the user inputs an alternate rate in more than two days the system should show that the rates can be customized on the rates page. On the rates page, the first field should be the base rate (the rate entered when the property listing was created). Bellow that there should be questions asking whether the user wants to cre79


ate: a different rate weekends; a different rate for high season; a different rate for special holidays; or a discount rate. Each one of this options should add or subtract an amount to the base rate.

2

44 - Calendar start “all booked”

2

Detail from the 7th version of the wireframe prototype (above) where users could set up different rates for their listings proved to be overwhelming for new users. Instead now the application suggests a rate based on similar properties already in the systems database (detail from the 10th version of the prototype - bellow).

When users are creating a listing the property’s availability calendar is expected to have all days available by default. However that can represent a serious problem for a Web site that intends to offer instant booking. The reason is that instant booking’s success depends on up to date and correctly filled availability calendars. So, if a user don’t feel like updating the calendar at the time the list is created (e.g., new users not familiar with the concepts), that can mean cancellation of booking by the host down the line. One solution for this problem is to show the calendar completely booked at first and ask for the user to pick the dates that the property will be available. Another solution is to ask the users a few questions before showing the calendar like for instance whether they live in the property or not, and if they do the calendar is shown all booked. The intention of all this is to force the user to stop and think about the calendar and all that it means and to educate the user about his options and their consequences.

5 - Instant booking everywhere 3

Detail from the 10th version of the wireframe prototype - After the property is listed the host can customize the rates on the Property Rates page that uses progressive engagement to give users only the options they need one at a time.

4

Detail from the 10th version of the wireframe prototype - The availability calendar starts all booked to avoid booking request denials and booking cancellation by the host. 80

There should be a visual differentiation between properties that have instant booking ON and properties that don’t. That way users would feel compelled to learn more about it. There should also be a description of what instant booking is whenever it is mentioned throughout the Web site. And whenever a user turns it ON some of the guest requirements should be pre-selected by default.

66 - Booking notification vs. booking request Understanding the difference between a booking notification and a booking request is the same as understanding the concept of instant booking versus inquiry based booking. That is the single most important concept of the Web site and its assimilation by the user cannot be underestimated. There should be visual clues as well as rollover descriptions and maybe even pop up tips for first time users describing the idea and what is expected from the user.


7 - Progressive engagement on the additional services page On the additional services page, each of the services should only show its options once selected. The options should be explained clearly and they will vary according to the service (e.g., airport pick up should be priced per person and not per day; parking, use of gym, and use of pool/hot tub should be either included or paid on check-in because those are very subjective and guests can only make an informed decision once they see what they’re paying for; Laundry and house cleaning should be paid per service and there should be an option to choose how many times they are needed; and breakfast should be paid per day and there should be an option to choose how many days within the whole stay. Any extra service or amenity added by the host cannot be pre-paid.

8

6

88 - Suggested tasks section The suggested tasks section is a dynamic section of the dashboard with suggestions of tasks that might help users optimize their experience in the Web site, and reminds them of existing features (e.g., adding more pictures to a listing, reviewing a guest or a property, turning on instant booking, updating a property’s calendar, etc). Once the user does what is being suggested the reminder note goes away. However it can become annoying for experienced users or users who decide not to do what the reminder note says. One solution for that is to have a couple of buttons on each reminder note that appears when the user rolls over it. One button to close that note for the current session and another to not show that specific note never again.

9 - Mobile notifications E-mail notifications are mandatory for hosts and guests. Mobile notifications is a very useful feature for hosts who do not use instant booking. A suggestion to turn it on should appear at the ‘Suggested tasks section’ whenever a user lists the first property and only disappear when the feature is activated or if the user asks not to be reminded of it again.

8

Booking notifications and booking requests are differentiated by symbols and contextual links. Notifications are represented by a lightning bolt and requests by a clock symbol. 6 The upper left section of the dashboard and the lower right section of the property details pages show suggested tasks and reminders that optimize the user’s experience. 8

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Main recommendations after 4th usability test 1 - Host reviews vs. guest reviews Most users were confused by the idea of receiving reviews from the hosts. Having the hosts being able to evaluate the guests is a direct result of the social nature of the application. Guests depend on their “average rating as guests” as much as hosts depend on their properties’ “average ratings”. After all it is also a risk for hosts to have guests staying in their properties, sometimes their own homes. First time users are not completely aware of this codependent relationship and get confused by the idea of getting “host reviews”. One way to ease them into the idea is to have a box on the dashboard entitled “What your hosts are saying about you”. That box would appear once the user received their first review made by a past host. Another way to facilitate the understanding of the difference between host reviews and guest reviews is to put them both side by side in the same section (Trips) instead of having them in different sections. That way users that are confused can compare and see the difference right away. The guest should receive an email whenever a host writes a review about him/her.

3

2

2

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22 - Contextual navigation Addition of contextual navigation on dashboard area: for instance the addition of “contact host” links whenever that is possible; add a link that says “get a text message whenever you get a new message” next to the inbox to inform users of the possibility of customized notifications; in the past trips section, whenever a host wrote a review of a guest there should be a link inside that trip.

3 3- Main navigation hierarchy The main navigation presented on the dashboard should not have all sections presented with the same visual treatment. The sections “Wish List” and “Profile” are not as important as the main sections “Trips” and “Hosting (or List a property)”. The “Inbox” section is also different from all the others. This difference between the sections’ importance should be reflected visually on the page (dashboard).

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Details from the final design of the dashboard page showing the main 3 navigation as well as the different instances of contextual navigation. 2


44 - Message automatic update There should be a visual indication that messages sent to other users were read or are still waiting to be read. For instance a recently sent message can show as bold on the message thread until the recipient user reads it. Then it would show with it regular weight. That way guests and hosts waiting to hear back from each other regarding booking requests can know when their messages were read and both parties will have a better feeling about the other party’s interest in closing the deal. A variation on that same idea is to have a badge on the message in small letters saying “This message has been read”.

5 - Search refinement Optimize the search refinement area by: changing the order of the filters in a way that the more popular filters are on top of the list; replacing wifi/lan with internet/wifi.

4

Messages that haven’t been read by the recipient are shown with bold treatment until they are read

6 - Cancellation policy Use “Cancellation Policy for this property” instead of only Cancellation Policy whenever it is the case.

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Main recommendations after 5th usability test 1 - Amenities After the major adjustments done on the “list a property” process funnel after the 3rd usability test, having a whole step of the process dedicated to the amenities does not make sense anymore. According to two of the users tested in this round of tests think that the amenity options should be in the same step as the property description field to avoid unnecessary description of the property’s amenities on the description field.

2

22 - Confirmation messages The prototype lacked in feedback for the users after certain actions were performed. When editing sections of the listing the users missed a confirmation message that showed that their changes were saved. One of the users also missed the possibility of viewing the listing before publishing it for the first time.

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33- Share of contact information All of the users had trouble finding the contact information of the upcoming guests. Two of them did not even try to find a phone number and instead used the internal messaging system to contact the guest. The obvious conclusion is that the contact information for upcoming guests should be located in a more prominent area. That conclusion makes sense because the main goal of the website is to put guests and hosts in contact with each other. However, contact over the phone shouldn’t be stimulated because on the long run there is a possibility that guests might ignore the application book directly with the host.

44 - Further changes needed on the rates page The page where users can edit the rates displayed on their listings was completely re-created after the 3rd usability test in order to avoid confusion and to simplify the task of customizing the property’s rates. First time users still had trouble using the new version of the page. In order to simplify it the number of fields per question should be limited to one. The only exception is the low season discount rate because the user needs to define the start and end of the low season. 84

Details from the final design of the rates page showing the confirmation 2 message and the changes after the 5th round of usability tests. 4


3

Details from the final design of the dashboard page showing the contact information of an upcoming guest.

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Project wish list A list of features and functionality that can help address the design problems identified on this project, but that are not part of the project due to time and technical constraints: ƒƒ Based on Room77’s example, Keyzz should encourage hosts to post pictures that show the views from their properties as well as its surroundings and nearby attractions. If at least one property picture is tagged as a “view” picture, guests could filter search results by the properties’ views; ƒƒ On the map inter­face where the tourist can see the results of his search he could also type an address or the name of an area or attrac­tion and see the accom­mo­da­tions avail­able around that location. This is just another way to refine the search, along with price, num­ber of guests, ameni­ties, etc; ƒƒ When look­ing at search results on a map, the user can click on a accom­mo­da­tion pin and a win­dow opens with the name of the accom­mo­da­tion, price per night, etc. and a pic­ture. When the user hov­ers over the image it auto­mat­i­cally starts a small slide show of the pic­tures of that property. ƒƒ A fea­ture that high­lights individual neigh­bor­hoods on the map when dis­play­ing search results. ƒƒ Creation of a network of service providers like plumbers, elec­tri­cians, clean­ing com­pa­nies, insur­ance bro­kers, etc. Hosts would be able to search for these providers around a cer­tain prop­erty link those providers to individual properties. They could then contact them directly through the website and even send pictures of issues with the property and maybe even open bidding wars in order to find the provider that offers the best value; ƒƒ A more detailed review sys­tem with rat­ings in dif­fer­ent categories similar to the one at Booking.com, where guests can belong to specific groups like “young couple” or “family with children”, and properties can also be categorized as “beach house” or “city

apartment” for example. Doing that will help guests identify with the testimonials they read. In order to be statistically effective this feature should be available only when there is a significant amount of reviews published in the application. ƒƒ A fea­ture that allow hosts to pub­lish their list­ings auto­mat­i­cally on Craigslist and other list­ings’ websites. ƒƒ A fea­ture that allow hosts to integrate their availability calendars to third party calendar management applications such as Google Calendar or iCal. ƒƒ Facebook integration, allowing users to sign up using their Facebook accounts and that way ensuring their identity. Hosts could use that as one of the criteria necessary for instant booking on their properties. On the instant booking page there should be an explanation next to the criteria to make it clear for hosts the benefits of having someone sign up with a Facebook account. ƒƒ Integration with Facebook should also allow users to see the degree of friendship between the potential guest and the property’s host. (How many friends they have in common, degrees of separation, etc.). ƒƒ Creation of a mobile app with exclusive features: • Guests could search for nearby attractions once they checked into the property; • If guests turned on “location services” on their app hosts would be able to “see” when they are nearby or in town and that way facilitate the check in process including the delivery of keyzz. • Hosts would be able to create “service issues” that need the help of a service provider and include pictures of the issue taken with their mobile devices; • Guests could create short “diaries” of their stay in the property and add pictures taken throughout their stay. In the end of the trip they could publish that “diary” as a review of the property.

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Bibliography

Books ƒƒ CSS3 for Web Designers by Dan Cederholm

ƒƒ The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

ƒƒ Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter

ƒƒ The Design of Future Things by Donald A. Norman

ƒƒ Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

ƒƒ The Design of Sites, second edition by Douglas K. Van Duyne, James A. Landay & Jason I. Hong

ƒƒ Emotional Design by Donald A. Norman ƒƒ Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte

ƒƒ The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

ƒƒ Experience Design by Nathan Shedroff

ƒƒ The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

ƒƒ Fancy Form Design by Jina Bolton, Tim Connell & Derek Featherstone

ƒƒ The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garret

ƒƒ Graphic Design The New Basics by Ellen Lupton & Jennifer Cole Phillips

ƒƒ The Smashing Book by Sven Lennartz & Vitaly Friedman

ƒƒ Grid Systems by Kimberly Elam ƒƒ Head First jQuery by Ryan Benedetti & Ronan Cranley ƒƒ HTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy Keith

ƒƒ The Information Design Handbook by Jenn + Ken Visocky O’Grady

ƒƒ The Smashing Book #2 by Matt Ward, Alexander Charchar, Francisco Inschauste & Mike Rundle ƒƒ The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Second Edition by Edward R. Tufte

ƒƒ Information Anxiety by Richard Saul Wurman

ƒƒ The Zen of CSS Design by Dave Shea & Molly E. Holzschlag

ƒƒ jQuery in Action by Bear Bibeault & Yehuda Katz

ƒƒ Transcending CSS by Andy Clarke

ƒƒ Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski

ƒƒ Typographic Design: Form and Communication, 4th edition by Rob Carter, Ben Day & Philip Meggs

ƒƒ Pro Drupal 7 Development, third edition by Todd Tomlinson ƒƒ Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte ƒƒ Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug ƒƒ Smashing CSS by Eric Meyer ƒƒ Smashing HTML5 by Bill Sanders ƒƒ Smashing jQuery by Jake Rutter

ƒƒ Usability for the Web by Tom Brick, Darren Gergle, & Scott D. Wood ƒƒ Visualize This by Nathan Yau ƒƒ Web Design In A Nutshell by Jennifer Niederst Robbins ƒƒ Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewski ƒƒ Web ReDesign 2.0 by Kelly Goto & Emily Cotler

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Lynda.com Courses ƒƒ CSS3 First Look

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Web Sites ƒƒ http://www.52weeksofux.com

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Web Articles ƒƒ 16 Pixels for body copy. Anything less is a costly mistake by Bnonn Tennant - http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/07/16pixels-body-copy-anything-less-costly-mistake/

ƒƒ Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte - http://www.alistapart. com/articles/responsive-web-design/

ƒƒ 8 Must See UX Diagrams by Andrew Maier - http://www.uxbooth. com/blog/8-must-see-ux-diagrams/

ƒƒ Responsive Web Design: What It Is and How To Use It by Kayla Knight - http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/12/guidelines-for-responsive-web-design/

ƒƒ A Brief Rant On The Future of Interaction Design by Bret Victor http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/

ƒƒ Sign Up Forms Must Die by Luke Wroblewski - http://www.alistapart. com/articles/signupforms/

ƒƒ Beginners Guide to Responsive Web Design by Nick Pettit - http:// thinkvitamin.com/design/beginners-guide-to-responsive-webdesign/

ƒƒ The Future Of Screen Typography Is In Your Hands by Andreas Carlsson & Jaan Orvet - http://coding.smashingmagazine. com/2012/01/30/the-future-of-screen-typography-is-in-yourhands/

ƒƒ Content Choreography by Trent Walton - http://trentwalton. com/2011/07/14/content-choreography/ ƒƒ Design Patterns: Faceted Navigation by Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender - http://www.alistapart.com/articles/design-patternsfaceted-navigation/ ƒƒ Design Trends 2012! - http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4FcsXr ƒƒ Getting Creative with Specs: Usable Software Specifications by Brian R. Krause - http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/getting_ creative_with_specs_usable_software_specifications

ƒƒ The Ultimate Responsive Web Design Roundup - http://www. webdesignerdepot.com/2011/09/the-ultimate-responsive-webdesign-roundup/ ƒƒ User Experience Deliverables by Peter Morville - http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000228.php ƒƒ Why User Experience Cannot Be Designed by Helge Fredheim - http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2011/03/15/why-userexperience-cannot-be-designed/

ƒƒ How to use CSS3 orientation media queries by Ryan Seddon http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/css/how-to-use-css3-orientation-media-queries/ ƒƒ Luke Wroblewski’s Lecture “Mobile First” at the WebExpo 2011 in Prague - http://metatv.cz/channel.php?video=31679036 ƒƒ More Meaningful Typography by Tim Brown - http://www.alistapart. com/articles/more-meaningful-typography/ ƒƒ Painless Functional Specifications - Part 1: Why bother? by Joel Spolsky - http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ fog0000000036.html ƒƒ Painless Functional Specifications - Part 2: What’s a Spec? by Joel Spolsky - http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ fog0000000035.html

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FINAL THESIS PROJECT – BRENNO BALDO GRADUATE SCHOOL OF WEB DESIGN AND NEW MEDIA ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY

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Keyzz - Final Book  

Final thesis book for Brenno Baldo's interaction design MFA.

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