When: September 2019
Length: 4 weeks
Role: Primary researcher and designer
Team: 1 Product Designer (myself), 1 Marketing Manager, and 1 Software Developer
Task: Research and redesign the entire Vacasa guest transactional email journey
If you have ever booked a vacation rental then you know just how many emails you receive throughout the process. There are confirmation emails, receipts, reservation reminders, review requests, and more.
Vacasa's emails had been designed when the data was pulled from a monolithic data lake. The data was hard to get to and therefor the emails were very static.
As well, their visual design was outdated and lacking in information architecture (old confirmation email below). My goal was create new designs that utilized our new dynamic email sending tool and refreshed the visual design.
The first step was to gather all the existing emails and audit them for their intended function, visual design, and information architecture.
Once I had established the current state I was able to meet with Customer Experience, Branding, and Marketing to determine the intended outcomes. Customer Experience had a wish list of features that would make their workflow much easier and reduce unnecessary phone calls. Branding and Marketing wanted emails that were more brand forward and consistent.
Finally I was able to start sketching and creating wireframes in Whimsical. The intent was to create a reusable system of components that could be pieced together to make many different types of emails.
Designing the emails was a fairly simple process of designing, testing, and refining. I would gather the requirements for each email and then create a design in Sketch using the component library I had developed for emails.
Once I had the designs built I added them to Framer prototypes and sent them to UserTesting.com for tests. I tested the emails with real people and prompted them to find various information including reservation number, parking info, check-in time, etc. After a few rounds of testing and revision, the emails had become visually distinct, highly usable, and consistent.
One component that became core to the experience was this flexible data grid that I called the 'Reservation Details Card'. This card always contained the unit image, as I had found in testing that users responded well to having their email flow 'anchored' by a reference to the unit listing. As well, the card could adapt its contents depending on what stage of the customer journey they were in; sometimes it showed all the details, others times just the dates, etc. Lastly, this card always contained a link to their reservation details page on Vacasa.com.
During my interviews with Customer Experience teams, I noticed that a common complaint was guests calling in for help with simple tasks like opening the lockbox. I figured that we could standup pages on the website where a guest could self-help before calling Customer Experience.
I worked with the CMS team to create a self-help page for troubleshooting lockbox problems. I also created a pattern within the emails where more self-help pages could be added as Customer Experience identified the need.
What I liked:
What I learned:
What I would do differently: