Hotelr - humanizing strangers, building trust


Hotelr is an early stage startup that's bringing the sharing economy to the hotel experience. Below's a quick illustration of the product concept. 

product proces.jpg


  • Design v1 of their iOS mobile app
  • Research and refine their target audience


I worked with a team of designers. I led the initial research phase, where we conducted market research and identified our design goals.



hotelr process.png

Initial research and design goals

In initial research, we conducted 4 different kinds of research to understand the travel and space-sharing landscape, to gauge interest in Hotelr's business idea, and identify our design goals.

Here are 2 central design goals we identified:

  1. Humanize strangers
  2. Make reservation creation and joining as clear as possible

How we humanized strangers

We designed two features to close the gap between strangers on our platform:

  1. View Travelers
  2. User Profiles
View Travelers feature, from lofi to final

After seeing that stranger danger was a very strong pain point for our users, we decided to return the power of choice to them by creating a "View Travelers" feature. The idea is to give people the option of seeing their options hotel-first or person-first.

With each iteration, we explored different visual and textual ways to encourage users to engage with the user profiles. The final result below goes in depth into the rationale we used for certain design decisions.

User Profile content evolution, lofi to final

We explored several layouts for a profile that achieved the following:

  • Content with basic info coverage
  • If they could gauge what kind of roommate this person would be

With each iteration, we aimed to reword and redesign the profile to be more personal and casual. By our last test, 4/5 of users felt like they knew what kind of roommate Jay would be. Success!

How we made joining and creating reservations easy

For this app to work, joining and creating reservations had to be easy-peasy.

Before and after: In lofi testing, our users were confused by the multitude of join and create reservation options -- our designs failed to point them towards a certain action. In the following iterations, we tested various layouts to see which encouraged people to pair up, and arrived at the solution below.

We also learned, in lofi testing, that people didn't understand the implications of joining v creating a reservation. To address this, we designed screens to explain the financial and logistical impact of creating or joining a reservation. By the end, all of our users were able to complete the tasks successfully.

Click on me to see more detail!



What we were really doing was designing an environment in which users could trust each other. Much of the work was finding the right bits of information, using the right language, and being sensitive to people's fears of strangers.  

Future considerations:

  • Incorporating a criminal record check
  • Continue working towards humanizing strangers--
    • Make the profile a story, a fun experience
    • Video introductions
  • Targeting the app towards a specific audience