How a cost-effective incentive entices event-goers in attending in-person events

November - December 2020

UX Researcher |UI Designer

The Problem

A social product scenario was presented with the problem being that although users of the app were reserving events, few were following through and attending these in-person events. The product manager suggested cost effective incentives for the company and/or notifications may entice event-goers to turn their invites into attendees.

Considerations for the current Covid-19 climate were used in the research and design of the project that depicted an event following proper Covid-19 protocols.

The Process

Modified Design Thinking

 In this particular project, I empathized with event-goers who wanted to attend events but were fearful with the pandemic. 

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Three things event apps are missing: sharing, search and in-app payment options

To better understand the current landmarks of in-person applications, I did an analysis of the main competitors: Eventbrite, Facebook Events, and MeetUp.

To sum up the results, while they all had a clean and easy Call to Action (CTA), their  event applications needed other features, such as sharing ability, clear and easy way to search outside of home region, and in-app payment options.

To understand the problem that was laid out of conversion rates, I interviewed 5 event goers to understand their event searching habits and what they were looking for in an in-person event application. After conducting the interviews, I created affinity maps with Whimsical which showed common  themes of relocation, searching for an event incentivization, use of technology,and how to approach live events in the face of a pandemic, like Covid-19. 

Affinity Map

Affinity Map- Ally Connect@1.09090909090

Empathy Map

An empathy map was created from the affinity map which more clearly showed what users liked about event apps and what was lacking. 

  • Covid Regulations

  • Reaching Appropriate Groups

  • Balance between event and dates

  • Events being suggested

  • Promotions through newsletters

 The target user included:

● 32 - 55 years old ● User base is an equal split between men and women ● Use phones and desktop applications equally ● Middle class ● Recently relocated to a new city

The only difference between the target user and the interviewees was that few have recently relocated to a new city. This may be a result of the current pandemic situation, where people are sheltering in place for the time being.


“Michelle” is the event-goer interested in concert events. Her main concern was attending in-person events safely in the midst of a pandemic. Although information about the user target population was provided prior to conducting interviews, they were confirmed through the interview process. The target user included:


I used one HMW question to drive how I might design the next stage:

HMW create an experience that would allow for users of the app to not only reserve, but attend in person. 


The image below shows the route for virtual and in-person events for the Minimum viable Product (MVP). From there, the user would choose the type of event from different categories (e.g. music, technology, food and drink…). The user could either choose by date or event, with several categories to choose from. The user could choose to participate in an incentive, and continue to the payment options. 

Steps to creating a prototype included a sitemap and wireframes of the user flow.


Initially, a profile creation section was included but was extracted when user interviews indicated that it would not be useful.

….And the name for this application is Ally-Connect, as it implements the elements of the branding personality of a trusted friend making a difference in the world.

Usability Changes and Results

Round 1 Usability Test Results

Five friends tested the wireframes to see if the design and flow made sense. 

The major issues that came up in this test were:

  • Paying with Paypal needs a clear CTA

  • Logging into Facebook or other external site needs clear explanations of why it is being used

  • Using Facebook needs clear results with images of friends instead of just the number of friends.

  • Alignment is needed in the calendar and some other elements

  • Typography needs to be aligned with the elements

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In the screens above, there were some issues including: alignment, prominent back button

More alignment issues (mostly in the calendar), as well as prominent Paypal icon, as well as cost for after party.

Major issues with these screens include  Facebook icon confusion, as well as lack of prominence with Paypal icon. Facial images were requested rather than a number of friends.

Round 1 Usability Changes

After the usability tests conducted for the wireframes, high-fidelity screens were made, implementing the changes from the usability tests. Using the evista UI kit, I was able to create simplicity, while making it look attractive. The following changes were made:

  • Consistency of color and shape

  • Navigation needed clarification with back button

  • Consistency with labeling

  • Correcting typos in information

Round 2 Usability Results
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  • Home Screen added, based off of user feedback

  • Used the evista UI kit with rounded navigational buttons

  • Alignment fixed

  • Used the evista UI kit with rounded navigational buttons

  • Alignment fixed with calendar pre-made pattern

  • Used the evista UI kit with rounded navigational buttons

  • Facebook icon added along with just logging in (no creation of a profile)

  • Paypal icon added

  • Clear credit card form

  • Final screen with clear location, Covid regulations, costs.

  • Users have option earlier in the flow to choose the incentive (after party) or just choose the concert.

  • Facebook explanation fixed from round 1

  • Images of Facebook friends added

  • Alignment with calendar fixed

  • Paypal CTA is made clear

  • Typography was changed to a more gentler, rounder font.


In this project, I have conducted research including user interviews, affinity and empathy maps, persona creation, and user flows. I have designed the app according to the product manager’s specs, with wireframes to high-fidelity screens, as well as feedback from user interviews and usability tests.

Participants like the simplicity and ease of the app. The app includes incentives that testers felt would attract them to attend in-person events.

Interesting Insights

  • Although a trend with fewer people using Facebook (especially younger generations), Facebook has a good model for sharing ability.

  • Most testers were fearful of in-person events due to current pandemic situations

  • Testers liked the imagery, simplicity, and how welcoming it was

  • Sometimes it is better to use a pre-made pattern, rather than building from scratch

  • Business impact: bringing in more attendees through incentives would bring in more sales of attendees who would not attend otherwise

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