Connecting travelers, hosts and vendors with our synergistic applications, all over the world.
Rentastico is a wholistic, synergistic platform for a comprehensive approach to travel. The aim is to integrate our own travelers' social network, vacation rental search portal and a travel discount platform cross-utilized under one brand, Rentastico.
Role & Responsibilities
Senior UX/UI Designer
• User Journey
• Usability Test
• Visual Design / Brand Development
Initially, the client approached me with a word document brief of all the proprietary applications already in development to create three platforms for travelers interested in hyper-localized travel information - Rentastico, Travel2ube and LargePocket. My assignment was to review the document and begin to put a plan together on how to achieve this from a UI/UX perspective.
Thought the travel industry is a well saturated market, there are a few gaps that the Rentastico product captures well:
• Property owners have 65% or more of low seasons with almost no bookings during the year. Service/products providers are lacking a platform to specifically reach vacation rental owners and travelers.
• Fragmented portals - the industry is lacking a wholistic, one stop solution for travelers.
• Lack of an integrated platform and marketing solutions that connect vacation rental owners, travelers, news casters, influencers, services and product providers at a destination.
• Lack of a platform where to do live promotions for touristic services.
I analyzed competitors’ key objectives, marketing profile, overall strategy, created both SWOT and UX analyses. There are a wealth of travel applications in the market, but we were able to improve on the top functionalities of different successful platforms and integrate our new applications to create a useful tool that is not only familiar to the market but innovative in order to attract and convert users. We looked at Skyscanner, Facebook, TikTok, Expedia, Airbnb Inc., Booking Holdings Inc., MakeMyTrip Pvt. Ltd., TripAdvisor Inc. and Wyndham for our competitive analysis research.
Per our market research, we saw the resurgence the travel market made Post-Covid shut down and wanted to capitalize on the gaps in the market that we had found in creating a wholistic solution. In order to make an impression in the travel industry and with travelers, hosts and vendors - we would need to build an seamlessly innovative, beautiful product to entice users initially and capture interest long-term. By creating platforms geared towards hyper-localized experiences, Rentastico's goal is to capitalize this through proprietary applications and design.
User Persona & Journey
Based on user research and the client brief I identified eight personas with different needs and experiences through the platforms. I created user journeys to help me empathize with potential users.
The results of the research phase made it clear that I was dealing with a problem related to trust as well as continuity of services. How do we entice such a variety of users to migrate and benefit from our platform versus or competitors?
The user needs to feel confident and informed when deciding to share content on our social network, book/list properties, products and experiences. For a new product in the market, it was imperative to build seamless applications that provide a complete ecosystem for a traveler.
This data helped me focus during the design process giving priority to the user experience between platforms - giving access to profiles with useful, detailed information and implementing a design scheme that users are familiar with but unique enough to get users to consistently use our service.
This approach combined with a comprehensive strategy to spread awareness of our product would give us an edge. Considering most of the motivations of our user profiles would be to expand reach and simplify travel processes, as long as our development is achieved seamlessly our UAT would provide that our goals would have been met in facilitating a complete ecosystem.
I took a step back and concentrated on specific user flows in order to make my design more user-centered and, therefore, more successful from the users’ point of view. Making sure that we have though through every way to make the UX the most efficient and logical as possible. See below for user flows for Rentastico host to find an experience to list with your property and create property promotion for listing.
Wire-framing and user flow took many discussions via whiteboard, scribbled pieces paper and hours of team discussion. With so many helpful applications and user profiles, our team needed to make sure everything was easily accessible and logical wherein to locate every tool for all conceivable users.
Creating personas for each user profile, across all demographic possibilities helped us in making sure there were little to no gaps in the UX prior to UAT.
Wireframing to Prototype
Since the application development had been started before I was recruited to the team, there was much work to be done together ensuring that the applications not only worked as intended, but matched the overall UI/UX across all sites.
Prototype 1 (Initial Team Development)
Prototype 2 (Mia Weiland UI/UX)
Prototype 1 (Initial Team Development)
Prototype 2 (Mia Weiland UI/UX)
I conducted Usability Test to assess the learnability of new users interacting with the Rentastico platform for the first time. I observed and measured if users understand the app and how to complete functions such as logging in, searching, booking a property and searching information.
Thanks to the Usability Test I was able to define and solve a few issues.
The Hub is a feature that senior management felt was crucial for the education and promotion of different content across all platforms - originally slated to be placed to the right side of all screens.
Our usability tests showed users were confused by the feature cluttering the screen and make things appear out of balance.
Also, it seemed to give the same effect as advertising that often appears on other websites which is often ignored or unwanted by users.
By moving the element to the bottom of the screen and making it collapsible, we eliminated the visual clutter as well as giving the user the option to customize their view.
By defining The Hub, user are also signified that this is an intentional feature instead of a open space for advertisement.
With such a robust set of features, a concern of mine from the beginning, which was also seen in the UAT, was that there was too much of a learning curve of what and where everything is.
So taking the feedback from the initial UAT and the UAT for my enhanced designs of the applications, we arrived at a standard tab format that we used across, Travel2ube, Rentastico and LargePocket (LivestreamBuddy, MVP Name).
This familiarized the consumer with where to navigate for certain elements, as well as get comfortable with our brand aesthetic as whole.
All above steps are the necessities for successful development. This project was originally struggling in that the design process was not adhered to in the conception of the work. When I was hired to come onto this project, we needed to implement this design structure to ascertain results and to achieve the product objectives.
Sometimes you must start again and really consider all parts of the UX to holistically create a effective, efficient product for your user community.
Some key points I have learned from this project:
Always keep in mind the problem that you are trying to solve and the user for whom the product is created.
Research and testing are both very important tools to make sure the design is created with intention.
Don’t be too attached to a design idea because that can change rapidly after user testing and make sure you are always prioritizing user’s needs.
Feedback from peers and users is crucial and beneficial for both personal growth and design improvement.