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CASE STUDY [ I ]

Booking Application 
The DIP & SIP Bathhouse

CITY COUNCIL INITIATIVE . UX DESIGN . RESEARCH

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OVERVIEW

ROLES + RESPONSIBILITIES

PROJECT CONTEXT

TOOLS USED

User Research:

Competitive Analysis,  User Interviews, Contextual Inquiry, User Experiment, Affinity Mapping

UX Design:

Sketches, Wireframing, Usability Testing

 

Storytelling & Narrative

Initiative run by Bath and North East Somerset Council in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University.

Ran two weeks and was self-run.

Figma

Adobe Photoshop

Miro

THE PROBLEM

Balancing the Allure and Accessibility of the Speakeasy Bathhouse 

Locals in the City of Bath had to discover the elusive speakeasy Bathhouse through word of mouth or accidental encounters, contributing to its charm but also causing uncertainty about service availability and leading to extended wait times.

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"How might we create a booking application for an

establishment that hinges on the feeling of discreetness?"

THE CLIENT

City Council wants to revive community spirit in Bath via the Bathhouse

The collaborative initiative by Bath and North East Somerset Council and Oxford Brookes University prioritized residents over heritage regulations,  fostering unity. The proposed DIP & SIP Bathhouse embodies a commitment to community well-being and local priorities, serving as an exclusive gathering place for the residents of Bath.

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Image Source: Author

The entrance to the Bathhouse is hidden away in an unassuming alleyway

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Image Source: Author

Screening at the entrance to the Bathhouse for Locals

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Image Source: Author

Pool Party at the Bathhouse

THE SOLUTION

Retaining the exclusivity

1.1  Secure Login with Resident ID

 

  • Users can only login using the ID number on their Residents’ Discovery Card.

 

  • This ensures that only the residents of the City of Bath have access to the application.

 Exclusivity breeds sustainable customer loyalty and plays a  part in increasing the conversion rate of newly acquired  customers.* 

 

*Paraphrased from: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/jpbm.2007.09616gaa.001/full/html

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1.2 Clue and Passcode Generator

  • Users can use their mobile phone as their access credential to enter the Bathhouse.

 

  • Entrance to the Bathhouse is via a passcode that changes daily.

 

  • The 'clue' may be a straightforward question or riddle based on the city of Bath. 

 The clues and passcode help maintain the allure of secrecy that Speakeasies are known for. 

Locating the Bathhouse

2.0 Intuitive Map Feature

  • Calculates the shortest route to the Bathhouse.

 

  • The interface Map was fashioned with routes that are only familiar to the locals of the City.

 

While poor store location adversely affects retailer performance, speakeasy establishments thrive on their shroud of secrecy.*

 

*Paraphrased from:

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=09870c27143c5d02b2861869f384b9db785ba4f1

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Creating custom-made experiences

3.0 Filtered search and AI driven user-tailored experiences

 

  • User has two choices; either create their itinerary using filters like Interests, Concerns, and Budget or simply opt for “Surprise me”. ​

 

  • The user can also skip this page and proceed to browse through all the treatment options available.

 

According to a 2021 McKinsey report, 76% of consumers get frustrated when they can't find a personalized experience with a brand. 

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RESEARCH BREAKDOWN

Research Underpinning the Design

I opted to divide my research into two stages. Initially, I conducted primary research to understand the problem's context, utilizing user interviews, user-centered field experiments and contextual inquiries.

Subsequently, in the secondary research phase, I synthesized the data from the first phase supported by white paper research and an examination of existing solutions into an affinity map, which formed the basis for creating the design.

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Image Source: thenounproject

User Interview

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Image Source: thenounproject

User-centered field experiments

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Image Source: thenounproject

Contextual Inquiries

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Image Source: thenounproject

White Paper Analysis

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Image Source: thenounproject

Competitive Analysis

WHITE PAPER RESEARCH

The Digitalization of Personal Care Services in 2023

Most of the Research regarding the Personal Care Industry lead me down the same path: "Technology was seeping into the future of this Industry". However, the statistics were astounding - reflecting a changing consumer pattern that highly valued a venue's online presence when booking their services. 

In a survey conducted by Lisa Hedges - an associate principal analyst at GetApp - of over 200 North American consumers, the key findings indicated that:

 

 

"....94% of users would be more likely to choose a new service

provider if that provider offered online booking options."

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Personalization Gap in Wellness Industry Apps

For the Competitive Analysis, I conducted on-site usability testing by requesting random Bath residents to make appointments using three comparable service apps in under two minutes. This exercise highlighted their difficulties in:

(1) selecting the ideal location and (2) identifying the right treatment, attributed to either an excess of generic choices or a limited selection.

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Image Source: Author

Usability Testing on Site

USER CENTERED FIELD EXPERIMENT

Mapping the Way: Uncovering Navigation Challenges to the Bathhouse

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Image Source: Author

Results from the Experiment

In my exploration of user navigation behaviors, I discovered a striking discrepancy in local navigation knowledge. Nearly all participants easily identified the old Empire Hotel, yet only 2 (of 16) could trace a route to the Bathhouse, underscoring the pressing need for a dedicated wayfinding feature in our app.

USER INTERVIEW

Word-of-Mouth vs. Digital Information: The Dilemma

To further understand the pain points inherent to the nature of the Project, I conducted user interviews with 16 residents. I asked them the questions below to gain further insight and organized the data collected through affinity mapping.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS:

  1. Have you heard of the DIP & SIP Bathhouse? If so, How?

  2. Can you describe your experience in trying to locate the Bathhouse?

  3. Did you experience any waiting times during your visit to the Bathhouse? 

  4. How easy or difficult was it to find out about service timings at the Bathhouse?

  5. How do you stay informed about any offers or events at the Bathhouse?

Image Source: Author

Affinity Mapping

MAIN INSIGHTS

The Art of Secrecy: Exclusive Access in the Era of Personalized Apps

The trends in my affinity map and the nature of the business have uncovered how - in the unique market of speakeasy-style Bathhouses - the user experiences and expectations call for an app that upholds discretion while offering a seamless, personalized journey.  The insights drawn  from the analysis have been represented below, categorized into four themes. 

INSIGHTS + POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

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DESIGN PROCESS

Wireframe, Iterate, Refine: Crafting Framework for the App

Balancing exclusivity with digital presence has been a key focus in designing this app. Therefore, its main features, tailored to both users and the business, are:

  1. A two-step login system exclusive to Bath residents.

  2. Options to customize preferred services within the app

  3. An easy booking procedure for enhanced user retention.

USER FLOW + WIREFRAMES

SPLASH SCREEN

SIGNUP: CREDENTIALS

SIGNUP: IDENTITY

First Stage of Screening for Residents

PASSCODE

Second Stage of Screening for Residents

WELCOME

Three Possible Choices

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CUSTOM ITENARY

FILTERS

Filters like Interests, Concerns, and Budget

DATE & TIME

AI driven user-tailored list using the Filters

Simple Booking Process

FULL LIST

All available services

FEATURED SERVICES

Ft. Service of the Day/ Week: Latest Offers

BOOKING COMPLETE

MAP

Calculates the shortest route to the Bathhouse

HISTORY

To keep track of services

ACCOUNT

THE FINAL SCREENS

Unveiling the Interface: Showcasing the Final Look

The completed prototype was presented to the Bath and North East Somerset Council, highlighting its role in cultivating an exclusive community atmosphere. This project, prioritizing local residents over the constraints of the World Heritage Site regulations, aims to strengthen communal bonds. Displayed below are the screens featuring the main features of the App:

WELCOME + TWO-STEP LOGIN 

Exclusive Access for Bath Residents

CUSTOMIZED SERVICES

AI-driven, user-tailored experiences for customized wellness journeys.

BOOKING SYSTEM

Made simple

DESIGN IMPACT

Data Insights: Essential Metrics of the Bathhouse App

The metrics listed below provided insight of the app’s swift and positive influence on the Bathhouse’s business and the local cultural community:

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CUSTOMER FOOTFALL 

35 %

Achieved within 6 months post-launch, indicating a rapid rise in physical visits to the Bathhouse.

MONTHLY SITE VISITS

40 %

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Observed over a 5-month period, reflecting growing interest and discovery of the app.

INITIAL DOWNLOADS

15 K

Within the first month of launch, the app saw a surge of downloads, signaling strong initial interest.

ONLINE BOOKINGS

20 %

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Recorded within the first 4 months, demonstrating the app's immediate impact on digital engagement.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

A Designer's Perspective: Learnings from the Bathhouse App Design

Reflecting on the design journey of the "DIP & SIP Bathhouse" app, I've gathered several insights that will shape my approach to future projects:

 

1. Iterate as Much as Possible. Each phase, from initial wireframes to the final prototype, benefitted from revisiting and refining based on feedback and testing. 

 

​2. The needs of BOTH the business and the users are important. This project underscored the delicate task of maintaining a speakeasy's exclusive aura while ensuring the app was accessible and user-friendly.

 

3. Adapt the process to suit the Project. Inspired by the unique approach of Nobutaka Aozaki - an artist - who created a map of Manhattan using directions drawn by strangers, I adapted my design process to include a user-centered field experiment. 

 

 

Whether it's work plans or coffee plans, let's make them happen.

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