Princess Cruises Cruise Finder
“Make Tinder for cruise planning.” This was our charge from the client. We had to take cruise planning, which is typically done either by filling out multiple pages worth of form fields (or giving up and calling customer service) and make it as easy as swipe-voting on potential dates.
We began by breaking down the creative concept and typical cruise planning into its logical pieces. In essence, we were being asked to design a cruise recommender system that instead of asking people what they liked or where they wanted to go, would show them pictures indicative of their preferences and glean a handful of cruises to recommend based on that.
The heart of any recommender system is the data set. That is the most behind-the-scenes part of the experience, but it determines if the user’s expectations will be met or not. We coded all of the cruise routes, itineraries, onboard activities, amenities, and destinations. We then coded various images against these dimesions and an additional “Personality” attribute. We were swimming in a pool of data, but once we created the boundaries and definitions, we knew what the user experience could support.
It was during this time that the project team kept alluding to the “algorithm” that was going to “figure out” what recommendations made sense. We quickly learned that we were responsible for creating the algorithm. So, we used a quick-and-dirty test system and tweaked our decision tree until we came up with something that worked. Based on the user’s votes, the recommendations made sense.
We started wireframing and created multiple permutations of the cruise recommender design. We validated this by running user testing and learning not only UI nuances, but if the recommendations felt “right” to people. We knew the responsive web site (desktop, tablet, mobile) design worked for everybody people and those experienced with cruising.
Deliverables: data analysis, "the algorithm", user flows, wireframes, user research
The “Places to Sea” web site launched and received positive press along with the newfound ability for newcomers to cruising to be able to easily engage with it. Instead of cruise planning being intimdiating and frustrating, we made sure the first steps were easily, fun and encouraged exploration.