Fulfilling our goals
Our project's goal was to develop a social event planning system. Google, our client, wanted us to determine the feasibility of developing an application that would cater to the largest amount of people and that would integrate with its existing products. Our final design supports and enhances the way people plan events, and it provides a further impetus for using Google products.
Our initial research phase consisted of a broad exploration of the world of event planning which resulted in a strategically grounded decision to focus on the planning of “casual social events.” To guide the design of the Fiesta system, we constructed a goal statement that succinctly described what we wanted to accomplish with the system:
“Help groups of people have an easier time suggesting and planning get-togethers in the next few days, so they can focus on having fun with friends.”
Filling the niche of casual events
From a business and marketing perspective, our system fits well into the currently underserved niche of casual events. Compared to planning using email and phone communication, our solution provides a central place for collaboration and negotiation (unlike phone) that retains a direct, personal approach (unlike email). The Fiesta system is not meant to replace communicating with these modalities; it is meant to work with them.
The event details section provides the latest status of the event at a glance. Compared to competitors like Facebook and Evite, Fiesta provides a system that is much more suitable for casual events, in which the initiator wants all participants in the event to have a say in what is going to happen. Fiesta's communication area and suggestions are invaluable for the collaboration and negotiation involved in planning casual events. Fiesta benefits from a thoroughly tested user experience and has the advantage of direct integration with Gmail and other powerful Google products.
A good fit for Google
Casual event planning seems to be a good fit for Google. It is lightweight, fun and is something that should not require a lot of effort. People can plan events at any level of granularity, from completely open to completely defined, but there is always a feeling of sharing the event. Fiesta does not exclude non-Gmail users; rather, it entices them to try out and adopt some of Google's incredible products after having been exposed to their use within the Fiesta experience. We believe that a large part of the internet-using population could use Fiesta to manage a significant part of their social lives.
Finally, a good way to plan events!
We took great satisfaction in seeing user-test participants having fun planning events with their friends using Fiesta. The few usability flaws we found since the paper-prototype design phase have been ironed out, and the final interactive Flash prototype of the system presents a robust design which we feel is worth consideration for real-world implementation. Users often commented that they liked our system better than what they currently use for planning casual events. With this evidence and approval in mind, we are proud to present our solution to Google, and we would be thrilled to see Fiesta or some of its innovative design elements implemented in Gmail. This would be exciting, not just for our portfolios, but because we would finally have a decent way to plan our social events!
This project was part of a course at the Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute. The designs and concepts presented are ideas created by us, the students, for educational purposes, and do not represent any current or future Google product.
Google retains all existing copyrights.