Not sure what a Design Sprint is? These are fun and interactive problem solving sessions with students, staff and other key members of the public. For more information, read Participate in a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences
Our sixth Design Sprint took place on April 24, 2018. The problem we came together to solve was, « How can we improve the housing selection process for candidates? »
The sixth Design Sprint was about our Accommodation. Unlike previous offerings where we focused on designing a new web experience, this one was an attempt to consider the entire customer journey.
Currently a user can browse accommodation options on the dundee.ac.uk web pages, however booking a room is incorporated into the course application. As a result, the pages are non-interactive and people may feel they don’t have a link to book their new home until the very last moment.
Notifications come via email from SITS from a mix of admissions and residencies, plus there’s interaction within a separate app called Room Service, which is accessed via eVision.
Design Sprints allow us to imagine a completely free canvas, so something that is currently complicated due to an internal system can simply be ignored. This allows us to come up with a plan of where we want to be, rather than where we might end up in the short term.
We decided that the existing pages were doing a decent job as a static catalog, so we focused on travel from the first accommodation email.
Currently, this is sent once you are able to book a room, so quite late in the cycle as it relies on us knowing the status of the applicants’ application. We decided to email early, introducing a new intermediate step of a shortlist.
Shortlisting would be a soft concept on our side as it is not a final choice however it gives the user a sense of comfort as they have actually performed an action related to their accommodation. It also provides our residences team with a potential overview of which apartments will be popular once the offers apply.
Instead of just throwing the user into an alien business system, we integrated the web back into the solution, so from email they were sent to the website they had already accessed. From here they can compare our options and choose their favorites.
A good suggestion, which came from a colleague from IT, was to show the functionality of the filter even though it was available everywhere. This actually works to highlight that we have 100% Wi-Fi coverage and 100% en suite rooms.
An intelligent chat interface was considered for these phases, programmed to interpret the questions and answer most of the common questions. Due to the cost of housing, there is often a desire to confirm things even when they are directly in front of you. The automated chatbot can provide this reassurance without directly impacting staff time, only ramping up when users are dissatisfied.
The accommodation listing has a clear notice to remind users that they haven’t actually booked a room, but informs them once the booking is opened. This choice is saved to their Dundee account (via a login) so if they come back they will be reassured.
Finally, back to the emails: the first inviting payment, the second just before they arrive, and finally a post-arrival survey to see how they’re doing.