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app improvements with
user research

Driving customer-centric app improvements with user research


Our client, a luxury hospitality group, operates exclusive members’ clubs in locations worldwide. Across several decades, the group has built a diverse global membership community.

Elsewhen recently worked with the group on a 14-week engagement to give its customer app a fundamental overhaul in terms of user experience (UX). We researched and validated a range of essential improvements to the app’s usability, content and functionality – and helped their app team take a more customer-centric development approach.

  • Improving user experience for a luxury hospitality group’s customer app, through user research, hypothesis validation and rapid prototyping.
  • Reimagining the app to meet client and customer expectations for usability, content relevance, feature discoverability and user engagement.

The challenge
Overcoming issues with app navigation, usability and engagement

The group provides customers with a mobile app to help them get the most from their club membership. However, the business had identified a variety of problems with the app that needed addressing. The existing app had been developed in-house, and the business wanted Elsewhen to provide an expert outside perspective on how it can be improved.

Members were mainly using the app to book club restaurants, leisure facilities and accommodation. While the app also included other membership content, its design was unclear, particularly on the home screen. The confusing navigation and structure left customer’s struggling to find information and make desired actions.

Another aspect of the app needing a rethink was how members meet and connect. A feature had previously been introduced in the app to encourage members to interact and engage with each other. However, the implementation had not been fully worked through, so awareness and usage of this member connections feature was very low.

Our Services
  • Product strategy
  • User research
  • Customer insights
  • Jobs To Be Done analysis
  • Design for key customer journeys
  • Digital product design
  • UX design
  • UI design
  • Prototype design
Transforming a complex and inefficient delivery process

Our strategic approach
Bringing a more customer-centric focus to digital product improvement

Elsewhen worked closely with the group’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and leadership team to plan and implement a 14-week project to address these high-priority issues with the app. We focused on resetting the core app product and process – to help the client’s team work in a more customer-oriented and experiment-led way.

We began by researching and rethinking the key product areas: We needed to design a new navigation system and coordinate its initial implementation. We identified opportunities to improve the home screen and redesigned the interface to support this. We also worked to understand and improve how members connect through the experience.

We ran 3 workshops with the client team to understand their challenges, priorities and objectives. We also conducted 7 customer interview sessions to gather real-world user feedback on the app from a diverse range of members. We then synthesised the insights gathered to “connect the dots” on how to improve the app.

Following a phased path to  better delivery

Our solution
Applying evidence-based thinking and design excellence

We helped this global hospitality group enable a step-change in customer experience

During the discovery phase, our team researched and validated hypotheses on the key app issues. Subsequent phases developed design recommendations for how to improve the app.

We verified that users did not find the existing sidebar-menu interface and structure an intuitive way of navigating the product – while some weren’t even aware of the menu’s existence. We recommended changing to a familiar tab bar navigation model to support tried and tested interaction patterns. We also designed options for a clearer and more brand-consistent user interface (UI).

We confirmed that most customers are primarily focused on using the app for transactions and bookings – browsing content as a secondary activity. This emphasised that the app should be redesigned around enabling these primary customer needs. At the same time, we designed home screen options to present other relevant features and content in a more considered and helpful way.

Building more efficient delivery pipelines and teams

The outcomes
Building a clear way forward for stronger customer relationships

We ran 3 client workshops and 7 customer interview sessions to gain real-world insights

Overall, our work equipped the client with research, recommendations, prototypes and an implementation plan to overcome its biggest app challenges.

We helped the client build an evidence-based, experiment-led team culture – where user-testing will be central to any ongoing product improvements. After our work on the app, its user approval score on the Apple App store has risen to 4.9 out of 5 (as of November 2022) – and 90% of users provided positive feedback on the updated app in a recent Net Promoter Score (NPS) customer survey.

We also helped them understand and improve how members connect through the experience. Our improvements generated strongly positive customer feedback that the client can act on in future development of the app.


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