The field of UX has evolved considerably in the past few years, in part due to the growing use of mobile devices in order to access the web, which has presented new business opportunities (Wroblewski, 2011). In addition, it has led to a shift in the context of use, since it made it more accessible and convenient for the users. Nevertheless, the main pillars of UX are still the same regarding the platform in which they are presented (Garrett, 2011; Jasmond & Chudley, 2012 and Wroblewski, 2011).
Akana Wavepark, which is an artificial surf environment, has identified such an opportunity and decided to create an app in order to enhance the overall surf experience that will be offered in their facilities.
In this thesis, we researchED the field of UX in order to understand and identify the main characteristics that help define a ‘good’ UX. Then, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, benchmark and closed card sorting, were implemented to provide valuable insights based on which a prototype for the booking process of a wave or session was designed following the 5 Planes of UX and implementing user-centerd design or UCD (Garrett, 2011). To be able to design such product, AW marketing team provided with their business needs and target in order to better define the possible context of use and therefore help to make the right decisions along the design process.
Finally, the prototype was tested among potential users through a usability test. The data gathered from the feedback was taken into account for further improvement on the prototype.
The objective of this study was to design a prototype for AW mobile wave-booking process, using user-centred design and based on UX best practices. The research examined a scope of UX definitions in order to set a reference on the matter. Nevertheless, it is still a young field and the existing UX models and frameworks are rather subjective and have a dynamic nature. Although companies are using the term UX in the development of their products, the basis are set on HCI methods, such as usability. Since there is not yet a well-defined common ground, this study has chosen the approaches on UX that best matched the nature of AW product.
As a functional product, AW prototype has fulfilled the expectations due to its constant focus on the user throughout the design process. Understanding the typologies of product experience and the existent customer needs have also been key. However, the most important when designing a product is the working method, the steps to follow in order to start with an abstract idea and build towards an actual product or a prototype in this case. Garrett’s (2011) 5 planes of UX has been the conceptual framework used in this study, which we highly recommend due to its user-centred design system, full range of tools and user understanding.
In spite of the methodological process used, based on Garrett’s (2011) work, there were limitations due to the lack of a multidisciplinary team. Nevertheless, with the support of the tutors of this thesis together with the knowledge provided by the background work made possible what we believe is a great booking process prototype.
Garrett, Jesse James (2011). The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond. New Riders.
Jesmond, A. and J. Chudley (2012), Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences. John Wiley & Sons.
Wroblewski, L. (2011) Mobile first. NY, USA.