A case study for improving the user experience of Unplugged.rest, a platform to book a 3-day digital detox retreat at Unplugged cabins.
Case Study Unplugged.rest
What is this case study about?
I worked on this case study during Memorisely’s UX/UI Design Bootcamp. The Bootcamp was enriched with live classes where I had the chance to work and learn together with great designers around the world.
The goal of the case study was to improve the search experience of Unplugged.rest, a platform to book 3-day hide-away cabins around London, where you can unplug from digital life and relax without distractions.
Long story short
Unplugged is a UK start-up that makes it possible to get away from digitalization and all the devices that constantly surround us in today’s digital world.
Unplugged provides small cabins for three days at a time – in the middle of nature. Customers can lock their digital devices in a box and only take them back when they leave. That’s 100% digital detox.
However, the selection of a suitable cabin and the search function on the site are anything but satisfying.
There are no exact locations for the cabins, only rough indications of distance and approximate direction – the starting point for these indications is always London.
In addition, there is no standard calendar function for booking. Each 3-day period is set up as a separate product, making it extremely difficult for users to find a suitable date.
The selection of a suitable cabin is crucial for how quickly and frequently users book. If users do not know exactly where the cabin is located, what they can do in the surrounding area, and when the cabin is available, a booking is unlikely.
Through a new information architecture, the structure of the website became more logical and clearer. In addition, the copy has been improved to provide users with better navigation. The new search bar on the start page offers users the quickest and best possible way to book a cabin from Unplugged.
For the cabins, we have developed a filter system that makes it straightforward for users to browse for desired features for their cabin stay.
Through the case study, I was able to improve my knowledge of information architecture significantly. I can now better manage the content of a business and make it available to users in a simple and structured way.
Designing filters is one of the most complex things in organizing search results. At Unplugged, I had the chance to design the filter functionality for the desktop site and thus expand my expertise in this area.
Understanding product and users
Observations & identifying pain points
Instead of starting directly with ideation, it’s useful to understand the current state of a product and identify the pain points users are facing right now.
That’s why we had a closer look at the current website experience at Unplugged. rest. We worked through the whole booking process and identifyied different issues users come across when they want to book a cabin on the platform.
Forming observations always helps me to get my hands on the project and dive deeper into the topic. Regarding this, I follow the structure
to ensure I am aware of users and business needs.
When searching for a cabin on unplugged.rest, users can only filter by locations north or south of London, which causes confusion, because this is not an accurate marked region.
When searching for a cabin on unplugged.rest, users can only filter by location and month, which causes unsatisfactory search results as the users cannot choose dates directly.
When searching for a cabin, users cannot filter for other categories as location and month, which causes a lot of work for users as they have to read through the texts of each cabin to know whats special about one cabin.
When users want to find a suitable date to book a cabin, users have to scroll through an endless cabin grid page where each date is shown for each cabin, which causes a messy experience and confuses users due to cognitive overload.
We believe that adding categories to the cabins, redesigning the filter options and showing an easy to use date picker would make it far easier for users to find a suitable cabin and therefore leads to higher booking numbers.
After identifying the pain points we mapped out the existing information architecture and in a second step the improved information architecture. There we focused on the main pain points to improve.
Customer Journey Map
Following IA, we mapped out the customer journey. The goal of this was to empathize with users and understand the core problems they experienced at different phases of their journey.
It gave us a clear understanding of the different phases the users go through, when they try to find and book a cabin. We set the touch points users have with the product and mapped out all the actions users do. In this way we got a comprehensive overview of the motivations, thoughts and feelings users can have during browsing on Unplugged.rest.
Mainly we identified two opportunities we thought this would improve the experience of the product most.
Ideation & User Flows
To avoid following our first ideas we conducted a mind mapping session. This allowed us to consider different solutions regarding the pain points we identified in previous steps. The mind map helped us to map out what could be improved or added to the experience.
As a result of our mind-mapping session, we decided that it would be most helpful for Unplugged.rest to improve the search bar and the filter experience.
In our next steps, we wanted to have a closer look at the current experience users gain, while they are searching for a cabin and. Therefore we mapped out the current user flow and it occurred that searching was a hard thing to do in the original design and that there were hardly any options for filtering cabins at all.
While designing an improved user flow our focus was on an easily accessible search bar as well as a proper filtering system. Making the new experience visible in a user flow helped us to understand where the users would have to make decisions and take actions and therefore the design must support the user in the best possible way.
Components & High-fidelity Prototype
We did some sketching to plan our prototype before we jumped into Figma.
After having a clear vision of how the website should look like we decided to create some foundations like color palettes, typography and icons. With that having done we started to build the most important components for the website which are
- input fields
- cabin cards
- user reviews.
These components made it very easy for us to set up the website as a whole experience without having to design every item again and again.
The high-fidelity prototype allows users to test the booking experience using the search bar in the hero section as well as the filtering experience on the cabins search page. To complete the user flow for the «search and select user flow» we added the redesigned cabins detail page to the prototype as well.
With the help of the high-fidelity prototype we’re able to conduct usability testing and get detailed feedback about our solution. This would be part of one of the next iterations when working on this product for Unplugged.rest.