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The Hotel Finder that has your Wheels in Mind

Madeline Heffernan interviewer, product designer, task analysis, logo and tagline designer, writer, editor Sang-Wha Sien: product designer, inquiry analysis, web designer, prototype designer, writer, editor Siruo Zhao product designer, task analysis, facilitator, poster designer

Paper Prototype
For our lo-fi paper prototype (see below for an overview or Appendix D for close ups), we decided to use basic index cards to represent the screens of a smart phone. We also decided to have a small row of buttons to always remain in front of the user, which would act as the Android main buttons (home, settings, back, and search). Obviously this would be different for iPhones, but we decided to stick with Android for the simple lo-fi. Each index card represents a specific state on a specific page of the app. Some pages, like the Aloft Hotel page, only have one state associated with it in the lo-fi. However, others, like the Profile page have 5 or 6 states associated with it depending on what has been selected by the user. Therefore there would be 5 or 6 cards for the profile page, but only one for the Aloft page. To interact with our prototype, there must be one facilitator working with the user. Whenever the user clicks on a tab or button, changing the state or page, the facilitator must replace the current index card in front of the user with a new one, which shows the new state of the app. Unfortunately, we had to strictly limit the amount of state possibilities for the pages. We could not accommodate for text users entered into the app, since that would require us to change the prototype during the evaluation. So instead, we hard-coded some elements such as username and the search results, and during the evaluation would just have the users pretend that these were the things they entered in. Overview of our prototype system:

Evaluation Method
We found three participants to evaluate our low fidelity paper prototype, one of whom was a participant from our contextual inquiries, Janice. The other two participants were Tom and Alice, two of Janices roommates. They were chosen because each had varying degrees of experience with people in wheelchairs. To limit the number of variables that would affect our findings, we made sure that each test was done in isolation. Before the evaluation, we figured out what roles we would play. The role of the observer was to take notes (Sang-Wha), while the computer (Bootsie) managed the index cards and the facilitator (Snow) interacted with the participant. We also prepared a loose script on what to say, what questions to ask and what reactions to look out for (See Appendix B). The first task would be to book a room at the Aloft Hotel in Portland, Oregon. They would be told to find a room that could meet the most basic requirements of a person in a wheelchair: ramps and elevators. As a new user, they would first have to sign up for an account before they could progress onto the booking. The next task would be to write a review at Aloft. We planned this task to have two stages because we had designed our app to have two different paths to writing a review. We wanted to see if finding 2 different ways would be easy to handle. The final task would be to book a hotel room that could provide more than just the basic amenities for wheelchair users. They would also want a place that could accommodate their young children, who would be travelling with them. Although very similar to the first task, it would involve more time and more finesse with the app to give them the results they would need. And because this task would be more difficult than the others, we decided to save it until last.

Evaluation Results
Our evaluation showed very little inconsistencies among the participants when it came to the bottom-line data we were tracking. They were not frustrated so much as confused, and when they were confused, it was at the exact same button, form, or information. They were confused by the just this time I need button, and since they had never come across a button like it before in other applications, they didnt know how it could be relevant in finding a hotel. They were also confused by how it handled their current booking information. They expected the my hotels page to list all informat ion about their booking history. They also wanted the ability to edit and even cancel the current booking. But they were the most confused by the layout of the pages. They would click on a text, thinking they were buttons. This could be explained by the low fidelity part of the prototype, and we have decided to ignore this part of the confusion until the high fidelity user testing. Despite this, they were able to perform all of the given tasks. Their confusion did not affect their usability of the app so they gave our design a low severity rating. They agreed that the problems would need to be fixed, but it would still be a useful app to have. Our target

audience, Janice, told us that planning a trip with her mother would be much easier if all the information about hotels accessibility was in one place. They also made suggestions that they believed would improve the app. Janice wanted the order of the pictures to be in a specific order because she felt that the rooms pictures were more important that the bathroom. Tom wanted more functionality in the map, wanting more information about the restaurants around the hotel he would be staying. He also thought we should remove the buttons in the my preferences tab and have information dynamically synced, because he would often forget to click the submit button. The above suggestions would be something we would have to take into account in our next iteration of our design. We would also have to fix the functionalities that caused the participants confusion.

Revisions and Refined Design Sketches

One issue we found during the evaluation phase is that users tend to be confused about which section they are in in the app. Our revision will have to make sure what tab they are in is highlighted with enough contrast from the rest of the screen. Here is a list of the changes we have decided to make: 1. Under My Preferences tab of Profile, we decided to eliminate the unnecessary buttons edit and submit since it would be more functional for any changes in the checkboxes to be dynamically synced.

2. In the Pictures & Measurements page of the hotel page, we decided to reprioritize the order of the pictures so that the order would become main room, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Janice pointed out that the main room was the room they stayed the most in, so it should be the most important. Also, we decided to get rid of the border around headings so that they would not be confused with buttons.

3. In the search page of Hotels, we decided to add greyed out text Enter hotel name... in the search bar to only allow users to type in the hotel name instead of locations or other key words.

Another change on the same page was eliminating Just this time I need which would allow users to make one time accommodation preference change. Unfortunately, users were confused about this and felt it was redundant with My Preferences.

4. In the map page of each hotel, we decided to add external links of nearby restaurants to Yelp or UrbanSpoon. This would provide users with a more detailed information of the restaurants and other establishments nearby and would also allow us to maintain our focus on finding hotels.

5. Under My Hotels tab of Profile, we decided to add the header Current and Past to distinguish between the hotels that had been visited and still needed to be visited. We also added more information under each hotel and the ability to edit or cancel the active bookings. This would allow the user to have more control from within their profile page.

Appendix A: Raw data task 1: first time user, need only basic amenities -expects log in or create account page as the first thing she sees -> goes through the process of signing up -logs in and app brings him directly to the profile page -confusion about "my preferences" tab ; didn't know what page he was in but this could be caused by the low fidelity -confused about "just this time i need" button -clicks search-> hotels list page -> says theyre confused about the wheelchair rating -clicks on aloft hotel -clicks on ? for the wheelchair and realizes what it is -clicks on pics and meas; -goes back to aloft page and reads reviews and looks at map -books king room and gives it credit card info -purchase complete -wants current bookings tab -wants preferences to be dynamically synced not submited info -liked the map functionality task 2: writing a review (both via the hotel page and directly from her profile page) -in the beginning, told that she already has an account, so logs in -clicks "myhotels" -has been to Aloft Hotels before so clicks it -notices that there's a button for writing a review, clicks "write a review" -submits review but error page comes up because she didn't rate it -gives it 4 starts and resubmits -she likes what she's written, so clicks on the "confirm" button on the confirmation page -was told she has to find another way to write a review -goes to profile page -confused about the tabs; didn't know that she was already at profile page but this could be caused by the low fidelity -overall, finds it straightforward -liked it that she had two options to write a review -liked the confirmation page -wants more functionality of the reviews page; wants edit, delete, and show more buttons task 3: finding a hotel to Portland, with children, need more amenities -on the preferences page, checks shower stool, tall toilet, seat pad for toilet, bars by both toilet and bed -> clicks submit -goes to hotel page -chooses destination as Portland, Oregon and other info -app processes her preferences and refines search results, then brings up a list of hotels -> picks Aloft Hotels -confused about the wheelchair rating -> clicks on question mark -> popup comes up about rating

- confused about the back button on android -confused about the pictures layout: thought bathroom title looks like a button to click but later realized that it's the heading for the pics of bathroom -first pictures are of the bathroom, but she mainly wants to see the room itself; the bed especially; -this is the order Janice wants to see the pictures: main room, bathroom, kitchen -clicks back to book the room -enters credit card info -confused about history of her trips -nervous about booking hotels anyway, wants to see past and current trip info to confirm her transaction went through -> would like to see a tab called "my bookings" -would probably use it, easier to find hotels this way -slight confusion about writing a review

Appendix B: Lo fi Script and things to note Hi. Thank you for taking the time test out our design. <Introduce the rest of the group> Were designing a mobile application that could benefit people in wheelchairs who want to travel. Currently, there is no good way of finding a hotel that could accommodate them in the quality that they want. We hope to change that. We want you to feel comfortable while during the evaluation, and we want to let you know that you can quit at any time. Are you still interested in taking part in this evaluation? Great! <Introduce and show some pages of our prototype so they can get a feel for what it is> We will be giving you three tasks for you to work out. Dont be worried if you cant finish a task or you feel frustrated. We will be evaluating our prototype and not how you interact with it. If you have any questions about the prototype, please ask now or wait until after the evaluation is over. We will not be answering questions during the evaluation. Are you still interested in taking part in this evaluation? Great! <Gives consent form> Its okay if you dont want to be recorded. <First task> You are a paraplegic in perfect health. You want to travel with a friend who is not paraplegic and need to book a hotel room. Since you are so healthy and have a small, manual chair, you only need the barest necessities: ramp and elevator. Please demonstrate for us how you would book a hotel room at Aloft Hotel as a new user. You will need to first sign up. <Second task> Say you loved your stay at Aloft Hotel so much you wanted to upload a review. Please find a way to do that.. <if failed to write a review, go to the next task; else give them another task that has to do with writing a review> <Third task> Lets say you were a paraplegic travelling with children. You are not in the best of health so you would need more than just ramps and elevators. You need a shower stool, handlebars in the bathroom, and spacious rooms. How would you book a room in such a hotel? You can pick Aloft Hotels again if you want to finish the transaction

We also decided beforehand on what kind of observations we would look for during the tests. They include: How many times do they look frustrated? How are they frustrated? Do they ever press a button and are confused by the result? How many times do they ask how to do something? Is there a functionality on the app that is never explored? We also came up with questions to ask them when the session was over. These include: What are your opinions on the design? Would you use it if it were available to the public? Do you think it would make finding a wheelchair accessible hotel easier? What did you find confusing? Do you have any suggestions to make this better?

Appendix C: User Testing Consent Form You are being asked to take part in a user testing of a paper prototype of an application targeted towards wheelchair users. Please read this form carefully and ask any questions you may have before agreeing to take part in the study. What we will ask you to do: If you agree to be in this study, we will conduct an interview with you. The interview will include giving you three tasks for you to act out on the paper prototype. The interview will take about 30 minutes to complete. With your permission, we would also like to tape-record the interview. Risks and benefits:There is the risk that you may find some of the questions that may be asked may be sensitive. You have the right to stop the testing at any time. Your answers will be confidential. The records of this study will be kept private. In any sort of report we make public we will not include any information that will make it possible to identify you. If you consent to a tape-recorded interview, we will destroy the tape after it has been transcribed. You will be given a copy of this form to keep for your records. Statement of Consent: I have read the above information, and have received answers to any questions I asked. I consent to take part in the study.

Your Signature ___________________________________ Date ___________________ Your Name (printed) ______________________________________________________

In addition to agreeing to participate, I also consent to having the interview tape-recorded. Your Signature _________________________________________ Date _______________

Appendix D: Close ups of each page in our low fidelity prototype Log in, Sign up, and accessing My Preferences tab for the first time:

My Preferences, My Hotels, and My Reviews tabs in the user profile page:

Hotels search and results pages and the individual page for Aloft Hotels:

Links from the Aloft Hotels page Map, Pictures and Measurements, and close ups of the pictures:

Booking form, write a review, confirmation page for writing a review: