Making a case for User Experience
57hours was founded by tech-driven outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to make it easy for anyone to enjoy the great outdoors with the company of expert, local guides.
The company was young and as it was an in-house project, the focus was on delivery rather than brand strategy from day 1. I pointed out the need and value of a UX strategy which will set all of us in the same direction.
By doing the UX review, quick wins and needed improvements were easily identified. I delivered actionable, tactical recommendations which were built in the UX strategy which was put into implementation after my internship ended. The vast majority of my suggestions can be found on the site today.
Get to know and trust 57hours
Trying to answer the question: “Why would someone book with 57hours?” my first takeaway was to present ourselves as a platform. Business feels inner-centered, platform feels empowering and connecting – we want to become a main tool guides use to organise what they love doing the most by at the same time offering the users a unique, curated experience by the guides.
It was clear that we needed to show that our own, as well as our guides’, brand values align with our users’. Emphasizing the good that comes out of our efforts – becoming more active, empowering local business, meeting new people, a joined mission to conserve the environment – we achieve that very exact thing.
GenY and GenZ are driving brands to practice socially responsible business and ecological conservation, and are one of the most represented age-groups in the US population, as well as the most active ones. It was important for 57hours to reflect their own brand values online.
Users of 57 hours pay for one or multi-day trips in the mountains with guides they do not know. Based on done research, I’ve suggested that the overall tone of voice on the website (and in the app) needs to feel safe and trustworthy, and have a human touch.
A client-focused user experience
Instead of a wall of text, the infobox offers an easy overview of the most important information. At first glance, you can see when could you go (season), are you skilled to do it (skill level), how many days does it take (duration), what did the others say (trip review) and how much would you pay (price range). This offers transparency and instills trust with the user.
The web & the app were experiencing significant traffic but very few bookings were being made. What I noticed from research – and common empathy – is that the app was great for people who already knew the locations and what do you need for a trip like that. However, to the ones (like myself) who never hiked on such a scale, it was all too daunting. Providing this information for every trip decreased the anxiety and increased the number of bookings.
EPIC badges are a combination of a few improvement suggestions I’ve brought to the table. They are awarded to trips that have outstanding guides, well thought-out itineraries, a nod to sustainability and education and inspiring outdoor environments. This contributes to strengthening the app-guide-client relationship and creates messages that are uniquely relevant to each one of the customers.
Mountaineering belongs to the wider experience industry of travel, where people are used to guidebooks. An amazing value adder to the business (great SEO) and to the client (knowledge) are blog posts (where to go, what are the standout reasons, top 10s, etc.), which were implemented in the form of a magazine once I left.