App Check-in

Picture this: your Disney vacation is just a few days away. You downloaded the official Disney World App and see that check-in is available. After a few quick taps, you are all set. You can now skip the front desk and go directly to your room when you arrive. How awesome is that?

Disclaimer: As a promise to my friends Mickey & Donald, I've intentionally left out many details on this project.

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My role

Product and interaction design, stakeholder presentation, test planning, documentation, tech hand-off.

The challenge

We were tasked to design the experience of resort check-in within the My Disney Experience App. The App check-in would allow you to skip the front desk, but your experience would be as pleasant as what our cast members can bring to you in person (which is a pretty high bar for us to meet).

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Discovery & Ideation

We started with user stories. When you are checking in to your Disney Resort with our app, there is a possibility that you'll want to update some information with us. Your phone number, for instance. Or you might want to make sure we have the right credit card on file. If you or someone else in your party have just checked in with the app, you will want to feel confident that you are indeed checked in. After boiling down various user needs like these line by line, we consolidated them into important touch points along the guest journey map.

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The state cards shown above display critical information you’ll need at different stages along your journey, also serve as entry & exit points to the check-in flow. We then ideated and explored on several flow options, narrowed them down and presented our recommendations to the stakeholders.

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Rounds of Refinement

Our ultimate design goal for the app check-in, is that it serves you like a real Disney cast member. Let’s imagine you’re going to check in with a cast member in a Disney Resort. As soon as you walk in, you start looking for the front desk, or a big sign that says “check-in” (Or, a line of people waiting with their luggages). The front desk will be the start and end point of your check-in process.

Similarly, If you are using the app check-in, your Resort Hotel Card on the dashboard serves as your entry and exit point. We worked through a few rounds of iterations designing the statefulness of all entry points to make sure it serves your needs in every stage of your journey.

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In order for the check-in flow to guide you through smoothly, we iterated our design solutions for many rounds as well. Our guiding principle is that you’ll only need to fill out things we don’t already know and things we absolutely need.

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It may sound simple, but we’ve worked and fought hard with other Disney friends to make sure every tiny detail in every possible situation follows this principle. The result? A simple online check-in process. Our rewards? You can spend less time filling in forms, and more time figuring out what to eat when you arrive.

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Our rounds of refinement also included solving edge cases. In some situations, you may have booked two rooms for your family under one reservation, or two different resorts for one trip. We made sure we got all the edge cases covered.

Guest testing

Do guests understand why they should check-in? How to complete check-in? How to interact with the form fields? And what to do after check-in? We built prototypes, came up with testing questions and worked with our researchers to validate our assumptions to make sure our end product works perfectly.

Overall, the app check-in was perceived very easy and intuitive to use. The testing also yielded a lot of interesting findings suggesting ways to improve. We made quick turn-around design improvements from the findings.

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Design hand-off

Finally, we handed off our design to the developers for implementation. We know form fields can be a pain, so we went the extra miles to make form filling as painless as possible. One example is the many complicated functionalities on when and how we should pre-populate the right info at the right time for you.

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Final thoughts

When we first kicked off on this project, I shrugged and thought “meh, a screen of form fields, how hard can this be?” Well, past-tense Tony, you were so wrong. A well designed product that considers the best guest experience, use case scenarios, and interaction specifics, was not so easy to achieve. It was definitely a satisfying project for me to help more guests and families begin their magical vacation as soon as they set foot in Walt Disney World.