In recent years the New York Times, Forbes, and Time have all reported on the declined marriage rates in America. Headlines such as “ Marriages between men and women hit lowest rate on record “ and “The Marriage Crisis” are everywhere. But what effect does this change have on the wedding industry and its planners?
In this group project, my team was tasked by the stakeholders of Oh So Simple Weddings (OSSW) to create a MVP web-based platform for wedding planners to manage clients and offer on-demand online coaching sessions.
Lead: Project manager, IA, Usability Testing, Presentation
Contributed: research, sketching, wireframing, prototyping
Duration: 3 Weeks
Tools: Sketch, Invision, Adobe
In 2008, 47% of couples used a traditional planner while 27% completed a DIY (do it yourself) wedding. Flash forward to 2018, the number of DIY Weddings increased to 73%.
According to Wedding Wire Annual Report for 2019, 80% of all weddings are planned online through apps and websites.
- 67% of couples use Pinterest
- 58% using Instagram
- 74% used wedding websites
To our surprise, there was actually an increase in the number of people getting married per year, for 2018 the number increased from 2 million to about 2.2 million. Coupled are getting married later in life than the previous generation.
Even though our stakeholders presented us with research they have completed, I felt that it was important for us to conduct our own research enable to truly understand our users and the "why" behind what we were asked to build. Below are the major findings:
Weddings Per year
I also did a competitive analysis of some of the top online wedding planning platforms. In addition to being able to manage their clients, offering on-demand online coaching sessions would be the main factor that sets OSSW apart from its competitors.
With the increasing popularity of DIY weddings, couples are searching for affordable options when planning their big day. Wedding planners need a way to connect with these couples in order to offer their services, prove their value and assist them in any stage of planning.
We believe that by creating a web-based platform which allows wedding planners to create a profile to market their services, manage clients, and focuses on providing on-demand live coaching sessions, we will achieve a way to help planners provide support for the DIY/ online market.
To get a better sense of our users, I conducted additional research on wedding planners. Here are the main findings:
48% of wedding planners work in full-time roles while 52% work part-time.
Junior planners usually earn $13 an hour. As they gain more experience and build their clientele, they can charge more for their work. This takes years to build.
Currently there are 116,700 in the United States. By the year 2026 there is an expected 10.9% market job increase.
Predominantly women working
37 Years Old
Average age of planners
Average Salary per year
With this knowledge, we built a proto-persona to represent our users.
The next step was to create a Customer Journey Map. I created this map to be a visual that would be easy to talk through and show our stakeholders the importance of the customer's experience. As designers this allows us to see where our persona had been and what are the goals that she is trying to achieve through using our product.
We created user task scenarios and I made a user flows to map out the possibilities that users might encounter while using our product. There were separate flows for the different actions that could be taken on the platform but mainly focusing on the planner to client coaching call aspect.
Accepting a new request for online coaching call
Completing the online coaching call with client
You’re a wedding planner and you’ve just heard of this new platform that allows planners to manage their online coaching services. You’re curious to learn more, go to the website and create an account with all required information to make your site viewable.
After signing up for the platform, you log-in because you received an email stating that you have a request for a coaching appointment. Sign in to view and accept this new request.
A couple of days later you’ve received a reminder email for your upcoming coaching call. Log into the platform and complete the call.
Creating a new profile as a wedding planner
Before we began to sketch the screens for the platform, as Information Architect lead I created the site map for the website to show the structure of the website.
Upon completing the IA, it was time to ideate! As the project manager, I led 3 design studios so we could talk and work through our ideas for this website as a team.
We used Sketch to create our wireframes. I was in charge of creating wireframes for the storefront. This included all pages that were related to a planner inputting information for their business/services to be visible by couples: Business info, description of services, photos, pricing, and availability.
Once wireframing was complete, Invision was used to create a low-fidelity prototype which was used to conduct some user testing to get feedback on our design.
The team found it very difficult to find industry professionals to complete usability testing due to being in the middle of wedding season. In efforts to find users/ participants, we tried several types of outreach.
We asked people we knew who recently got married for their planners’ contact information.
Emailed planners that were friends of our stakeholders and cold-called several wedding planner offices
We walked to 10 different hotels and asked to speak with their in-house event/ wedding planner- most successful
4 users with wedding and event planning as an occupation
3 users who have had general event planning experience
Once we found testing participants, we completed 2 rounds of testing.
Added a "Create Account" call to action button at top of the page
Added a "Create Account" button under different platform options
Removed the phone number and business address field from the create account page
Version 1: setting up account pt. 1
Version 2: account setup now included in on-boarding in the initial account creation flow
Option to skip ahead to standard profile editing page (some people like to look around before committing)
Added option for planners to list there wedding specialities
Separated pricing and availability pages
Version 1:setting up account pt. 2
Added pop-up notifications for upcoming calls and new client request
Included a week view of calendar to dash board and clients page
Added additional notifications to allows planner to see new communications on each clients page
Cleared up verbiage and included more details about client for new requests
Removed additional tabs to focus only on online coaching
In the second round of testing we were also able to confirm that the changes we made were effective. The color map below shows that all the problems from version 1 were solved for in version 2.
The stakeholders are moving forward with our design and on-boarding developers to build the product.
Collaborating taught me a lot about my abilities to lead a team as a designer. It was very important to me that everyone on the team felt comfortable sharing their ideas. I achieved this by starting and ending each day with a team meeting to cover concerns and ideas, keeping us organized and creating a timeline to hold us accountable for completing delegated tasks. I truly believe developing a good team relationship helped push us to think outside the box and develop a great product for our stakeholders.
Overall, I learned so much from this project as a designer and I was thankful for the opportunity.