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ZOKU Bud

Helping the expat at ZOKU Hotel settling down in Amsterdam.

Building a Q&A platform that helps the expat settling down more easily in their new city. By providing anwsers and open a doorway to create new friendships.

  • Roles
  • Product Design
  • Client
  • School project
questions questions questions
The problem

Expats who are visiting ZOKU hotel do find problems with settling down.

First of all we needed to get clear what kind of problems the expat is facing, who this group of expats really is and how we can provide a solution.

I won’t go deep on this one, but let’s start with a short brief about our findings from the research phase.

The expat who visits ZOKU hotel works at one of the big firms located in Amsterdam. The expat stays for one or two months. Some of them use this period to find permanent housing in Amsterdam.

During their stay they face all the problems that are coming along with settling in a new city. Think of the social aspect of making new friends. Simple problems like, where do I get my groceries? Or where can I find a good doctor? But also more complex problems, like learning a new language, getting along with a (complete) new culture or setting up an insurance.

Building a bridge

A tool that gives all the answers related to finding new friends, a new house or where they can find a good doctor is going to be hard. So we came up with the idea of a Q&A platform.

Cause the knowledge is already inside ZOKU hotel. The expat that who is already here for a while, have faced those problems before. So the platform needs to be a bridge between the new expat and the expat that are here for a while. A bridge that connects people but also provides answers and helps building the community within ZOKU hotel.

So how do we build this bridge? During the sprints we came up with the following main features. Questions, Advice and invites.

wireframe questions

Questions

The question section gives the user the possibility to ask relatively easy questions, and get answers from the ZOKU community in a more easy and faster way.

wireframe questions

Advice

For all the more complex problems that can’t be answered with a simple reply, there is the advice section. Expats can post their problem and set up a meeting in the comment section.

wireframe questions

Invites

For all the social related questions, there is a section where the expat can invite members of the ZOKU community to join their activity.

How can we make the process of posting clear and easy to use?

During the design process we coped with a couple of challenges. In this case study their are picked three of those challenges that transformed throughout the project.

wireframe questions
  • version
  • 0.1

Solution

Make a clear destinction between the three sections. Questions, Advice and invites. The user can only post a new item in one of the three sections, if he is active in this section.

Problem

It’s unclear for the user that he needs to be active in the section he wants to post in.

wireframe questions
  • version
  • 0.3

Solution

It’s possible to post from every item, in every item. Through a simple choice menu inside the post section.

Problem

Solved the first problem but people will still confuse the header form with a search function. The lack of a search function may result in multiple posts about the same topic.

wireframe questions
  • version
  • 0.5

Solution

The user first needs to use the search function before he can create a new post. The search function constantly gives the user feedback by providing possible hits.

How can the user find his way through the big amount of questions?

Their is a big change that after launch, the app will get unorganised through all the questions users ask. So it’s important questions get organised. This will reduce the change of questions getting asked twice.

wireframe questions
  • version
  • 0.1

Solution

Their is one feed with all the questions that have been asked.

Problem

Their is no organizing. Questions will stack up. Combine that with the fact that there is no search function. Not really a user friendly solution.

wireframe questions
  • version
  • 0.3

Solution

The 0.3 version makes use of tabs and labels to better organize posts. It’s also possible for the users to upvote posts.

Problem

Two tabs and the use of labels won’t be enough to make all the questions organized.

wireframe questions
  • version
  • 0.5

Solution

The 0.5 version has a major change in how it organise posts. The question section is divided into three different sections that can be access through a horizontal scroll menu.

The categories section has several related categories from which people can find questions that already have been asked.

How can we engage the expat to be active and participate in the app and community?

The app needs to give the expats a clear motive to make use of it. For the people that are new at ZOKU the purpose of use is clear. But for the ZOKU members that already stayed their for a while, the intrinsic value of reciprocity won't be enough.

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ZOKU points

So we came up with the ZOKU points. The ZOKU points give the user the ability to get fees on their purchases in the ZOKU lounge. The place where they come to eat, drink coffee and have fun.

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QR-code

With an QR code the user can during checkout scan his or her code to activate their fee. The fee gives the user an extra motivation to make use of the application.

ZOKU points can be earned by being active on the application.

Friendly and familiar

The expat is in most cases completely new to Amsterdam, is confronted with a different culture and is thousand miles away from his family and friends. So the app needs a visual design that feels part of the ZOKU family, makes the user feel at home and starts a friendship with the user.

  • #221F1F
  • #FFFFFF
  • #44BEFF
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Consistent & Friendly

We really wanted to keep the color usage in line with the style from ZOKU, but the product also needs to have its own personality. So we used a color pallete with the familiar black and white from ZOKU and a blue bright highlight color to give it his own flavour.

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Friendly forms

The icons have a prominent function within the app. People interact with them all the time. It’s key to give them that friendly vibe through friendly rounded forms and a playful modern font.

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Keeping it simple

The app doesn’t have to be on the foreground. It’s still all about the content so we tried to find the right balance between a minimal design and a the friendly personality.

Evaluation

The app offers a great solution for the expat with settling down. But throughout the process we spotted a couple of risks like, the community. The app needs a strong community that stays active to make it a success. Also the development of the application will take a big budget cause of all the functionalities that exist in the application. Cause of the long interaction process, the visual design phase could maybe use a couple of extra weeks to really create a delightful experience.

I really want to give credits to my former team mates Daan Jansen, Eva Ruijg en Vincent Defize for having such a great time together and pulling this off.

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