New product and features
Speculative project for Designlab
Product Developer, UX Designer
Expanding Hipcamp’s current market, I developed a new product for digital nomads. This was a speculative project, not affiliated with Hipcamp, and part of my coursework for Designlab.
The main focus is to utilize Hipcamp’s current assets and platform to create an MVP for rapidly testing a new program to see if it’s a viable business opportunity.
Hipcamp allows users to search and book campsites across the U.S. and Australia. It functions like an Airbnb for camping, where landowners can list their land on Hipcamp, and campers can reserve campsites through the site.
Thousands of Americans are joining the digital nomad movement every month. But as they venture out, they quickly learn the burdens of the lifestyle: finding reliable wifi, clean showers and a place to do laundry. But more than those inconveniences, many report being lonely. This isn’t the lifestyle they had dreamed of.
But the downsides of adventure travel and remote work can be solved for these brave freedom-seekers.
What if a digital platform that already had the infrastructure in place to connect landowners with digital nomads found a solution to these problems?
What if the landowners could find a way to fulfill the digital nomad’s needs while creating a new, reliable income stream?
What features need to be added to the current platform to enable this supernova of collaborative connection to happen?
Secondary research uncovered an abundance of co-working spaces in cities, including a new Airbnb modeled business for the suburbs, but none available in remote locations.
An Airbnb for office space, allowing users to rent out spare rooms or garages to companies as workspace during the day. Codi has 500 listings in a number of U.S. cities. Desk is about $700/month.
Daybase creates a network of smaller offices scattered throughout the suburbs, turning retail spaces into furnished offices of 5,000 square feet. Customers use a common work lounge for a $50/month, and pay extra for private workspaces and meeting rooms.
Aggregator of 500 co-working spaces in over 700 cities globally. Monthly membership plans available.
Over 800 flexible co-working spaces for startups or individuals. Proprietary spaces with offerings from a space to a desk to a whole office for the team.
AvalonBay Communities Inc., which owns more than 85,000 rental apartments across the U.S., is launching private workspaces that residents can book by the month, an offering called Second Space.
I interviewed seven people about their experiences living the digital nomad life (at least 50% of the time, working online at least 20 hours/week) to understand whether my hypotheses were correct.
Do digital nomads need a place to work while in remote areas?
When on the road, is loneliness a problem?
Of the seven people I interviewed, 100% said that good wifi is essential to their work and that the majority of their work requires wifi.
Only three mentioned loneliness on the road being a limiting factor to their travels. Many have found online tribes to connect with, or travel with family.
Nurturing their creativity through inspiring locations was important to 70% of the participants.
I focused on the persona that most clearly would use rustic co-working.
Since Hipcamp is a two sided marketplace, I also created a landowner persona. But due to time constraints, I chose to limit the scope of the project and follow the needs of the digital nomad for the creation of the user-facing portion of the product.
Utilizing the current Hipcamp UI, I sketched out and then digitized low fidelity wireframes to solve the problem of digital nomads getting work done when on the road in remote locations. I knew this was a step away from Hipcamp’s core user, so I also wanted to be clear on how it works and who it’s for.
Based on a feature roadmap and secondary research findings, and after thoroughly studying Hipcamp’s current website so I could follow established design guidelines, I created a site map as a guide for the wireframes.
Low fidelity wireframes created to show how the program works within the current site. The landing page wireframe helped me create the copy in a clear, straightforward way that users easily understood during testing.
A clear headline describing that this program is for working, not sleeping.
I named it ‘Rustic Co-working’ and explained its benefits, based on the user interviews I did.
Three steps to solve the most urgent digital nomad problems and then avoid the irritations that many faced as they try to navigate this new remote working-while-traveling environment.
In the research, I discovered digital nomads want maximum freedom, so I did not develop a membership program. I used the current system Hipcamp had built for bookings.
Since this is a new product for Hipcamp, I wanted to ensure the entire process was clearly explained, both in the visuals I designed as well as the copy I wrote.
In user testing, this landing page was clear and users had no problem quickly grasping what it is and why they might want to use it. And they were excited for it!
Here is the first version of the landowner page, highlighting the section that was the most challenging - the check out process.
This part was confusing to the first three user testers, so I went back to the drawing board and sketched options to solve this problem.
After my first three testers, it was clear the check out process wasn’t working. I sketched out some options, with the idea to use a receipt-like check out experience and add more screens.
I digitized the sketches, added more screens and specified the details, then did further user testing, focusing on the check out process.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the rustic co-working lodge program from a front-end user perspective and provide opportunities for improvement. Track quantitative information (success and failure rates) and qualitative information (subjective interest, perceived effort or difficulty).