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Smart Advice is a gourmet social network solving an issue of a good dinning recommendations. It’s a unique algorithm developed in University of Trento it gives user a precise recommendations based on his taste, trusted people and knowledge of unique local aspects.

  • 90 options, for 192-250 people;

  • 42 small umbrellas ( with 2-3 sun loungers;

  • 18 big umbrellas ( 2-4 sun loungers;

  • 7 suit (sofa, 3-4 sun loungers);

  • 22 tent (2-3 sun sun loungers)

​Example of medium size beach club on Adriatic cost

Sun Point

Sun Point is an app for beach management. Customers allocation, bookings management, seasonal clients, additional equipment, usage and financial metrics monitoring etc. Sun Point simplifies all of it and dramatically reduces amount of paperwork related to these activities.

Validation

Project overview

Problem definition

User needs assumption

User Research
Competitor analysis
User Personas

App structure
Use Cases
Wireframes

Brand Style
UI Design
Hi-fi Prototype

Usability testing
Analysis

My role: UX/UI Designer
Client: Sun Point

Scope of work

  • Design PoC of web app

  • Brand identity

  • Design promo-page

  • Design Email campaign

Design Process

During one of vacations client noticed how much effort beach managers put into all that paper work, customers assignments, booking etc.

That's how simple this idea to build a start-up appeared.

There is an obvious problem — let's provide a better solution.
 

Problem definition

  • Out-dated method of beach management: paper-pencil-rubber;

  • existing method isn’t flexible enough to cover all possible cases;

  • process is hold by only manager and not clear for other stuff — impossible to delegate.

User Needs (assumptions)

  • Make processes faste and easier;

  • eliminate necessity to draw tables of enormous size;

  • more convenient way to edit data;

  • quick discount calculations;

  • statistic gathering and easy reporting.

User Research

  • Confirm that problem actually exists;

  • Check initial assumptions;

  • Find out another pain points of the user and unsolved difficulties.;

  • Explore the whole process and use cases;

  • Explore currently used tools, methods and devices;

  • Check existing configurations of the beaches;

  • Figure out the target users and possible role.

Research goals:

I've reached out beach managers in Riccione and Rimini (Adriatic cost of Italy). This place was an excellent representative group because of beach sizes and amount of it. Our interview where focus on understanding main pain points, frustrations. We aimed to validate our assumptions and figure out if we missed something.

Through interviews and observations on site we were able to gather enough information to distinguish the real user goals and prepare the User Personas we can refer to.

From the very beginning we find out that there are already some services exists which are tried to solve similar problem. But why doesn’t it so popular? Why do user prefer the old fashioned way?
The market opportunities are big and it was worth to figure out the questions.

“For booking request, I had to check availability with the help of a ruler (otherwise my eyes would cross!), and then mark with a pencil the boxes corresponding to the days of stay in the structure. With the pencil, because in case of changes it was obviously necessary to erase with an eraser and rewrite all over again.”

User persona

During our research we’ve looked through every Mediterranean beach to find the biggest private beaches. The most perspective direction would be Adriatic coast in Italy and Liguria in Italy and France.


Then we’ve decided to focus on Italien beaches as the most promising, especially on Adriatic cost because of it’s wide beaches.


The majority part of the Italian beaches belong to private beach clubs. Such beach clubs dominate the seaside scene in Italy. The neatly laid out parasols, deckchairs, sun loungers, well-maintained changing rooms, showering places, and toilets, are their common facilities on the Italian beaches.

Market Research

Research Goals

  • Determine market size;

  • Understand possible configurations of the beach;

  • Determine duration of the season;

Competitors Research

Research Goals

  • Explore and analise competitors;

  • Determine standard practices in the market;

  • Identify noteworthy user experiences;

  • Identify features to avoid;

  • Notice unique features;

During competitors comparison it was important to find out their strengths and weaknesses and not only shed light on the key areas we should strive to maintain the high quality, but also help identify any opportunities for our application to emphasise.

Secondary user persona — Beach worker 

Man, 25 years old
Background: mostly doing various physical work on the beach: setup, cleaning, maintenance, but from time to time can work on reception to meet and help the guests.
Scope of work that is important for the this project: check in , check out process, analysing of possible bookings, offers calculations, booking registration.
Frustrations:
not fully involved in the process and doesn’t know all nuances;
not sure which discounts and when can be offered to clients;
usually doesn’t know the planned relocations;
hard to understand handscript in the table;
Needs:
make the process transparent
clarify permissions

3. UX Design

Sketching

A lot of different configurations of sun places: minimum 4 types of shadow (umbrella, large umbrella, tent, canopy) + options to rest ( sun-bed, lounge, chair). Option to relocate, partial payments, seasonal bookings with gaps. All this made our brains to burn.

User flow for reception worker

UI Design for Promo-page

Web Site was made on English and Italian and shows our main advantages, provides demo video, involve test users and

Conclusion

All existing systems are looking outdated, not user friendly, user experience is very low, they have low learnability and it's difficult for user to reach the main goal, functionality is very overloaded.

Only few apps are adapted for mobile devices. None have different roles/permissions for users.
Good to implement in second iteration: app for clients, history, online booking for clients.

4. UI Design 

Validation

We've released our MVP and provided and access to 5 beach managers who agreed to test it in low season and provide the feedback.

What did we check: :

  •  Viability of the product: how effectively users of both types cope with day-to-day tasks. Does it make beach management better then with pencil+paper toolkit? 

  •  Collect feedback for most important missing functional bits. 

 

Main outcome:

No one wanted to come back to manual flow;

  • All test-users would recommend our app to colleagues;

  • 4 of beta testers said they would recommend app to colleagues;

  • 3 of 5 confirmed that now they spend less time for managing the beach places;

  • 4 of 5 said that they easily coped with delegation of tasks to less-qualified colleagues;

  • 10+ feature requests(bulk operations, integration with payment systems).

We also received feedback about further improvements and corner cases that were revealed during real life testing. For example:​

  • request to add possibility for bulk booking for corporate clients;

  • similar booking system for cabins;

After promo-campaign we've got + 47 new subscribers and + 11 new beach managers who would like to be our experts.

After Thoughts

I'm sure we can say that first phase was successful. We have satisfied test-clients and new interested beach owners but to continue using it in peak season and completely replace current pencil+paper flow app should be more stable and functional gaps should be closed.

 

There is a lot to do for the next phase. At least these modules should be designed and properly tested:

  • admin panel for configuration of the beach plan and structure;

  • dynamic prices configurator (progressive discounts);

  • permissions;

  • invoice generation;

  • generation of invoices.

I hope tourism in Italy will soon pick up its former pace and we will be able to continue further development.