In June 2018, I joined BoutiqueHomes as their first UX/UI Designer. Below is a collection of selected work that exemplifies my design process and decision-making.
The legacy platform did not generate an instant quote, and thus owners had to manually enter a quote for a booking request. When they received a request, they would enter a quote and click Send, which would trigger an automatic email notification to the guest. If the owner wrote a message to accompany the quote, then a second email would be triggered.
After a year and half with this setup, users sought to combine the two Send buttons. Fast forward to today, the new platform generates an instant quote, but we still needed to address how owners would update and send a message without triggering two emails.
I designed a modal overlay where the owner can update her quote and send a message at the same time using a single Send button. This avoids the issue of having to click two buttons on the main screen.
There are more than 1,400 properties listed on the website. Compared to competitor sites, our collection was on the smaller end (granted, properties are only added by invitation only). Concerned with not having any properties displayed in search results, management had requested development to display properties that may not be completely available for a guest’s dates on the results page.
The search algorithm was updated like so: If a guest selected three nights, a property that was available for at least one of those nights would appear in search results. If a guest selected four nights, a property that was available for at least two of those nights would appear.
This worked out for guests who were flexible, and could book a stay outside of their original dates. However, it was extremely frustrating for users who had strict dates. The search results page displayed property thumbnails, and guests had to click on each property to check their availability calendar only to find out many of them were unavailable.
I proposed displaying properties that completely meet the user’s search inquiry. If a user enters three nights, only properties that are available for those three nights should appear in search results. My reasoning was that a no results page was better than properties that partially met the search inquiry because it provides users with accurate information and instills trust. Understanding the business concern and negative user impact by not having any properties return, I proposed adding helper text on the page that explains how users can modify their search to discover available properties.
In my original design, I had a section below the text where it displayed properties related to the user’s inquiry. This was not implemented at the time due to limited resources.
There was the production site and staging site—both of which had the same data. Management noticed the image URLs on the production site differed from the staging site, and requested the image URLs to be imported from production to staging.
At the same time, the team was resizing the images, and management requested these newly resized images to be located on the staging site. Based on my experience with FTPs, I knew it wouldn’t be possible to import image URLs from the production to the staging server because the system wouldn’t know how to assign URLs to the files.
I asked development to restructure the folders in the staging server, so the image URLs would be preserved. The already imported images would be removed, and the team would upload the resized images to the production site from where development would remigrate the photos.
The existing website had an “Online Conversation” checkbox on the property settings page. Admin ticked that checkbox to have all inquiries sent to a property go through the website, so our support team can monitor the conversations. They leave it unchecked if the inquiries are emailed directly to property owners (bypassing our website). Manager wanted to implement this same behavior to the new site.
Since inquiries for most properties occur on the website, I proposed developing a “Direct to Owner” checkbox that admin would need to tick to have inquiries emailed directly to owners. This saves admin from having to remember to tick the checkbox and save them time since they would only need to do so for a handful of properties instead of 90% of them.
To migrate this data, the team exported all of the property data into a spreadsheet. A property had an X marked in the “Online Conversation” column if inquiries passed through the website. When assigning this to the development team, I instructed that if the column is blank, then tick the “Direct to Owner” checkbox on the website
Guests receive reward points for every booking, but whether or not the points are displayed for each booking in the user dashboard depends on how much they earned versus redeemed. In the Reward Points table, if a guest receives reward points that are either less than or the same as the reward points redeemed, then it will show “0” next to the booking. While it reads “0,” the system calculates their earned points into the total, but that is not clear to guests.
I asked development to update the reward points system, so that every booking displays the reward points earned (along with the email that is automatically sent). In addition, any points a guest redeems would be deducted from the Total Reward Points instead of from the most recent booking.
Our customer support team found themselves answering the same questions over and over again, such as how the booking process worked. A help desk was available to owners, but it lived on a different domain. Unless the owner bookmarked the URL or our customer support team emailed owners a link to a specific help desk article, discoverability was low. Customer support asked me how we can make the help desk more visible.
I asked development to add a link to it in the user dashboard menu labeled “Help.” With this new “Help” menu tab, owners can visit the help desk and find answers to most of their questions. In addition, I sent out an email announcing the new feature with screenshots to direct owners to the new link