The transformation of Vibe Tickets, my very first project since arriving at Vibe.
Vibe is notorious for having a highly engaged user base of 16-30 year olds and saw huge levels of activity on current native mobile applications. This had its challenges;
- 16-30 year olds were of low income.
- 2018/19 was a huge year for ‘comeback’ tours from big name artists - usually associated with an older generation.
As a youthful brand, this left us in a position where we had to innovate. We had to come up with a solution which facilitated both our youthful gig loving audience and this new audience of an older generation wanting to relive their youth. Competitor research was essential for this project and we had some key questions we wanted answers to.
Where are these users looking for tickets?
We felt this could be done with a simple user survey. We asked a number of people from a variety of different demographics where they would go to look for tickets to a gig and why.
As expected, a Google search was the number one answer - this was down to speed of results. The competition for SEO rankings in the ticket industry is a case of who has the most money and how much are they willing to invest. This, along with some unethical dark patterns, is key to Viagogo’s success. Another answer was Twitter. This however, came from a younger audience as expected. The reason for this was the lack of fees.
Who has access to these tickets?
There were two main sources. The first being your general gig goer who could no longer make the event - this made up an extremely small percentage. The second was the abhorred professional traders of the industry.
What motivates these users to transact?
This was a tough one to test. We obtained our findings through a more informal interview with a number of stakeholders from different demographics. This was followed up by an assessment of competition offerings. Why were Viagogo leading the UK ticket resale industry but maintaining a status of one of the most hated companies out there? Our findings were clear;
- The cheaper the better.
- What if these tickets sell out before I finish checking out (FOMO)
- How do I know these tickets are legitimate?
Now we had an understanding of the industry, we decided to break it down and identify key issues with what’s currently out there.
How is our product going to solve all of these issues in what’s perceived a broken industry?
Following our research, a web platform was the obvious route. Both the web and native mobile apps had their benefits. However, our newly widened demographic and prospect of improved SEO performance meant that we could cater for both our audiences through a web application.
From here, we took our findings and competitor research to create low fidelity wireframes. This was an extremely quick and throwaway approach to seeing how we could solve the problem. It was interesting to see how the three of us in the design team differed in opinion. This was great! It meant we could sit down, discuss and justify our decisions. Ultimately this led us to what we felt was the near perfect solution. Near perfect as there’s always room to improve!
Once a decision was made, we transferred these low fidelity wireframes into fully fledged clickable prototypes. This was by no means a finished product - but allowed us to take it away and test it on a select group of users. We reached out to our followers on social media and found 6 willing participants for our controlled user testing sessions. These participants each completed a series of tasks whilst being filmed. At the end of the tasks, the facilitator asked a number of questions around what they did and their thought process at each point in the journey. The recordings were then assessed by the wider team to identify potential pain points across the journey. We were then ready to begin to shape the overall design.
Our design style is clean, flat and makes use of a lot of whitespace. Most ticket resale sites were quite the opposite. Pressure selling tactics were used widely to push the user to ‘panic buy’. At Vibe, this wasn’t an option. We strived to be an ethical ticket resale platform, absent from any fees.
This was our next challenge. We had to make clear, from the second a user landed on the site, there are no fees at any point of the buying process. This is a huge grey area in the ticket industry, recently limited by legislative changes, the fee is the last thing you see. From a user’s perspective, this coupled with flashing modals telling you there are 7864 people currently looking at this ticket forced a user to panic buy. We were completely against this.
We used trust signals, such as PayPal logos (used in the checkout flow) for brand association. A user is much more likely to transact if they’re presented with a well known brand they use and trust.
This project was a great opportunity to push the boundaries in an industry shaped by convention - I feel we did just that. After using HotJar to track interaction and analyse user behaviour, we decided to further improve the mobile version. The site was designed mobile first, but analytics showed many more were using the mobile version than first anticipated. We took this as an opportunity to innovate and really challenge convention through our floating navigation, modals and checkout flow.
What else was required for this to be a success?
This project wasn’t going to hit targets alone though. We had to work closely with ethical ticket sellers to bring supply to the demand. This is where we launched Vibe Verified. The aim for this product was to create a ticket inventory management system for a number of vetted professional sellers. This had to be better than anything they had used previously and again, a thorough research and design process was used.
What a great project to work on as my first at Vibe. So many challenges and the creative license was endless. This project really paved the way for me in a career in Product Design. Next up, VibePay!