MoviePal is a mobile-hybrid application for users to plan a movie outing seamlessly with their friends, all in one platform.
Going to the movies is often done as a social event. How might we help people coordinate this social outing together?
- PROJECT TIMELINE: 2 Weeks
- ROLE: UX Designer, User Researcher
- TEAM: Andy Morris, Ricardo Ortíz, Mary Rizaldo, Diego Mas González
- TOOLSET: Screener Surveys, User Interviews, Online Contextual Inquiries, Affinity Mapping, Design Studio, Feature Prioritization, Persona Development, Prototype Iteration, Usability Testing, Sketch and Invision
- DELIVERABLES: Finalized Sketch mockup, Invision Prototype link and Project Stakeholder Presentation
Introducing MoviePal: a mobile application seeking to solve the social problem of coordinating a movie outing with friends. Please click on this link to launch the MoviePal prototype.
PHASE 1: TOPIC & SCOPE
Created as a passion project, MoviePal came from a team of four designers who were passionate about media and entertainment and its impact over popular culture throughout the years. Being interested in film, we wanted to determine any potential problems facing users when considering a movie outing today.
We needed to dig deeper to understand how users were consuming movie content — whether in the theater, or via in-home entertainment — to better pinpoint the problem space that we would be looking to solve.
Our team soon realized that we had begun our research with an assumption: that users did not have time to attend their local theater to watch movies, and instead opted towards streaming services. We came to believe that in creating a platform that could serve users with in-theater movies at home, we could solve for both problems in a singular solution.
However, through our research methods — using screener surveys, contextual inquiries (interviewing users attending movies in the NYC area), and user interviews — we determined that in-theater movies and in-home streaming services were two separate problem spaces that could not be grouped together.
We needed to solve for one of these spaces, not both. More importantly, we needed to pivot towards where our research was guiding us.
Taking this realization into account, we needed to revise our toolset. We sent a new screener survey, with questions focusing around organizing group events to the movies and in-theater aspects for participants to consider as well.
Connecting with our original set of users, 5 out of 7 of them informed us that they used movies as a social gathering opportunity; of those users, 6 out of 7 of them purchased tickets for films via their mobile devices.
In terms of movie attendance serving as a social event, our users were clear on this through their insights:
“It’s not just about the movie. It’s about walking with your friends to the movie, then talking about it with your friend after you have watched it.”
”If I’m not able to coordinate well with my friends, I won’t go to the theater.”
From these interviews, we were able to pivot from our original data to craft a more relevant problem statement:
People like going to the movies because it is an event that helps bring them together. However, planning a movie night out with more than one person requires additional consideration.
How might we help people coordinate their movie night out together?
PHASE 2: COMPETITION (AND COMPARISONS)
Now with a clearly defined problem statement, we could dive into solving for the social experience of coordinating film outings with other people.
We began by examining various platforms that had social integration tied into them.
In terms of competition, we examined social platforms like Facebook and iMessage, which were both the most social and most utilitarian.
Facebook was considered due to its large user base and event creation features. iMessage was considered due to the majority of our users noting that they used this platform to coordinate movie outings with others in the past; groups in both platforms could also pay one another if items such as tickets were purchased for a group.
Our comparator set examined ticketing services for moviegoers. These were viewed to be utilitarian but less social in their functionality. Without these ticketing services, films would not be available for groups to attend. We considered applications such as AMC Theaters (with various locations in the New York area), and Fandango, the ticket servicing and movie listings application.
Fandango was a key consideration for this case study and prototype proposal because of the behaviors of our users:
- 53% of users reported using Fandango to search movie listings
- 71% of users used mobile search for moving listings
- 41% of users used mobile webpages to select in-theater seats
- 88% of users used creditor debit cards to complete their ticketing purchases
In comparing AMC’s services and Fandango, both applications had a focus of buying tickets but they did not have any social planning features, meaning that users would coordinate outside of these applications for an outing together.
#SpoilerAlert: A requirement of our project was that needed to provide an additional business proposal for our solution to integrate with a more established company. Looking at the data from our research, Fandango was ideal based on the overwhelming response from users who used the service.
PHASE 3: OUR USERS AND THEIR JOURNEY
Taking into account the tendencies of our users, I took the synthesized data we had gathered and began to develop the primary persona for whom we would be designing for.
Based on our user interviews, it was common for a movie outing to have been coordinated by one person within a group (i.e. the person who texts the group to suggest the event or whom purchases tickets for the group). Therefore, we needed to have our persona exhibit this type of behavior.
Meet Aimie, our movie-buff and group coordinator:
Growing up on Long Island, Aimie frequently came into the city for movie nights, and dinners with her parents. She wants to keep this tradition alive with her friends as an adult.
Similar to creating this persona, we needed to showcase Aimie’s user journey when she had organized events in the past. Here, too, I looked to previous interview transcripts to craft a relatable journey that others could empathize with (and perhaps see themselves in enduring a similar path when organizing a social event with friends).
In highlighting Aimie’s current process in coordinating these events, the team would have a better idea of where her pain-points lie throughout her journey, which would better allow us to design for her.
We can see that Aimie’s chief concerns revolve around coordinating with those she cares about and the time it takes to get this done.
Additionally, she finds herself needing to use several platforms to confirm with her friends if they are attending. Timing is also an issue — she needs to know how many friends can commit to “The Avengers: Infinity War” in a set timeframe before she is able to buy tickets for the group.
PHASE 4: MOVIEPAL IN THE SPOTLIGHT
As mentioned earlier in this overview, our team decided to develop MoviePal as a social solution to the movie-coordination problem.
Looking back to our research, we decided to use mobile as the platform for MoviePal. However, we would need this to be a mobile-hybrid application, due to our brand partnership requirement with Fandango.
Remember Fandango? Fandango was the application of choice for users when searching for movies. Fandango was already a “tried and true” application with an established user base.
We began to think that MoviePal could focus on the social aspect of movie planning and a proposal to partner with Fandango could solve for the need of purchasing movie tickets.
PHASE 5: WIREFRAMES AND ITERATIONS
Knowing MoviePal’s purpose, we needed to ideate, and craft a prototype that was functional yet simple in its use.
We conducted two rounds of usability testing, between two prototypes — the first screen below showcasing our Lo-Fidelity screens with insights and the other shows our Mid-Fidelity model, also with usability testing insights.
The tasks that users were asked to complete were to:
- Create a new movie event
- Find the theater nearest them for film times
- Vote on a movie to propose to friends
- Invite their group of friends to attend the movie event
- Select seats and purchase tickets for the event
Through the time we dedicated towards usability testing, we came to our Hi-Fidelity prototype. You can see an overview of these updated application pages below.
Based on these final refinements, we were able to showcase our finished product to some users in-passing, albeit not in a formal usability test. However, we did receive some positive results, with some users being vocal about this application’s viability, telling us:
“This is great – I would actually use something like this.”
PHASE 6: NEXT STEPS AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
While we were not able to conduct additional testing on our final product, we did feel that we solved the problem that our users had made known to us.
In terms of next steps for an additional design sprint, we did discuss several features that might be suitable to MoviePal’s future. However, these features would still need additional drafting and testing for polishing. These features included:
- Split Payments – Many individuals noted to us that they might purchase tickets for a group. While services like Venmo exist to split payments, some suggested to us about having a feature such as this in our application.
- Democratizing the Voting System – A consideration we weren’t able to implement in this first version was a secondary persona for our invitees. Invitees also play a role in event coordination. Could invited guests also play a part in selecting the movie(s) for a group to consider as well?
- Stakeholder Investment – What methods could MoviePal use to generate revenue? If users coordinated events with MoviePal, and bought tickets through Fandango, could this transaction be split in a commissioning system, providing revenue to MoviePal?
While these insights gave us a good idea of what a MoviePal version 2.0 could look like, we would still need to move forward with iterating on these concepts. The team would need to see about developing wireframes, as well as conducting additional usability testing before formally implementing these changes in an updated prototype.
Here’s hoping that with just a few more tweaks, MoviePal can solve our movie planning woes sometime in the future.
Thank you for reading.