I know I have a big problem: replacing the act of seeking others’ opinion on whatever I am working on—never a good idea. Which is why I actually started to listen to the user from ideation. But in order to identify a more concrete and specific end user this exercise was very useful, and turned out to have some surprising data.
First, I considered the following questions:
- Objectives. What are the knowledge gaps I need to fill?
- Hypotheses. What do I think I understand about my users?
- Methods. Based on time and manpower, what methods should I select?
1. Objectives – I was curious what would be the most ideal medium: website, app, web app or maybe a mobile web app? I needed more information regarding internet, computer and phone usage to be able to answer that. I also specifically asked what steps do they take when planning a meeting. In addition to this, I needed to know more about expectations, what would make a meet-up planner good, usable, what features would they look for? I also needed some information about similar existing sites such as Yelp and SmartShanghai, what makes them good or what they are lacking.
2. Hypothesis – I presumed people would be more open for a website, since apps take up too much memory on the phone and SUS would not be an app users would use every day. I derived the general plan-making routine from my own experience. I usually come up with the type of meetup at first, meaning if it is for studying, just catching up, treat day, date etc, then I would choose to do something that I am familiar with so there is not a lot of variety in my selection. After that, I would look up the specific place such as a restaurant or bar, and book a table. This takes a lot of time and as the number of people involved increases, it get more complicated and frustrating because noone ever knows what they want.
3. Method – For the survey, I compiled a list of questions, most of them multiple-choice because that is the easiest way to collect quantitative data. There is one open-ended, which I would analyze later. In order to fast and effectively get around the strength and weaknesses of the competition (Yelp and SmartShanghai), I conducted a 45min Focus Group Discussion with 5people. And finally, I conducted 2 one-on-one interviews just to get to know better other people’s attitude towards the topic.
Here is the link for the data analyses from the survey: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_TBpphQ8CffJql1ELVxySoPcG9u8HJ39AIAIjBUMo2s/edit?usp=sharing
From the Focus Group and the interviews I found out more about personal preferences. Everyone of them was a student at NYU Shanghai, between ages 20-23, girls. I asked similar questions to the survey but went into motivations more deeply. The most important part in these sessions was finding out what attracts visitors to the similar concept ideas like SmartShanghai, Yelp, Chop, Time Out etc. The most attractive feature they had was the location based search and the deals. Originally, I did not think about building a deals section into the project, but at the end I put it there. But most importantly they all reinforced me that they would use a website that would combine a location-based search with the best deals in town.
Additional interesting finding was how participants found the word meeting confusing, they all associated to something more formal. I realized I have to play close attention to the wording as it may be deceiving for others.
Both my personas are based on real people. While Olivia is a mixture of NYU Shanghai girls, Marianna is actually my own mother. I interview her specifically for making a persona.
The persona clarifies who is in my target audience by answering the following questions:
- Who is my ideal customer?
- What are the current behavior patterns of my users?
- What are the needs and goals of my users?
I tried to keep them brief, specific yet realistic.
Link to the personas: https://app.xtensio.com/somgzeg7