This is an important topic that how to reserve the meeting rooms and keep the efficient utilization in a company with 1,000 employees which has 200 meetings per pay.
在一个拥有 1000 名员工、每天 200 场会议的公司，会议室的预定和有效利用是一个重要的议题。
In this Design Exercise, I conceptualized a system designed to provide a convenient meeting room experience and to increase the effective utilization of the room as much as possible. In a typical meeting, the process from reservation to use will benefit from the mechanisms of this system.
在这个 Design Exercise 中，我构思了一套系统，旨在提供方便的会议室使用体验，并尽可能提升会议室的有效利用率。以一次典型的会议来说，从预定到使用的过程，都将因为这套系统的机制而获益。
Understanding the Problem
The challenge & goal
The company has a complex situation. There are 1,000 employees worked in a five-story building, with 200 meetings per day. There are various types of meetings (large and small, formal and casual), and the equipment configuration of each meeting room varies. It sounds a bit difficult to reserve meeting rooms that meets employees’ needs in such a complex situation. As an employee of a company that has been in a similar situation, I know a little about the reasons for this, including the pain points of meeting room reservations and the unexpected situations that reduce the efficiency of meeting room utilization. However, I need to confirm my observations.
这家公司的状况复杂。1000 名员工都在一栋 5 层的楼里工作，每天有 200 次会议。会议的类型多样（有大的小的、正式的和休闲的），而每个会议室的设备配置也不尽相同。要在如此复杂的状况中订到满足自己所需的会议室，听起来就有点难度。作为曾经经历过类似状况的公司员工，我略知其中的原因，包括会议室预定的痛点，以及那些降低会议室利用效率的原因。不过，我需要证实我的观察。
My main goal is to make it easier for employees (hereinafter referred to as “users”) to reserve meeting rooms, while enhancing the effective utilization of the meeting room as much as possible.
This is the design process used for the Design Exercise.
这是 Design Exercise 采用的设计流程。
Please note that since this is a Design Exercise, the process will be conducted in a simulated manner. For example, I will not be able to interview real users, but will have to take a similar approach to interviewing users who have experience using the meeting room.
请注意，由于这是一个 Design Exercise，因此过程将以模拟的方式进行。例如我无法访谈到真正的用户，只能采取类似于访谈有会议室使用经历的用户的方式。
Testing Pain Points
Talk with users who have experience using the meeting room
To get some real-world insights, I conducted qualitative interviews with friends who had experience using the meeting rooms, either in person or by online chat. The questions focused on 3 main areas.
- The purpose of the meeting rooms, or the types of meetings
- Possible frustrations with the process
- The preferred features in the existing process
The following are excerpts from the interview. The English provided here is translated from the original Chinese.
When do you usually use the meeting room?
What frustrations (if any) have you experienced in reserving and using meeting rooms?
What are some of your existing reserving process that make you feel good?
In each interview, I went into the details of the situation they were describing. I wanted to hear the background and context of what really happened, and to verify my suspicions about the motivations of their behavior.
I have gathered the following insights.
Disconnect between plan and reality
- Users are annoyed when they need a meeting room urgently but can’t reserve one, and when they find that many rooms are empty.
- Users are frustrated when errors occur and there are no simple corrective actions.
- It can affect the efficiency of both parties that delay a meeting accidentally and rush to wrap it up when the next meeting’s attendees arrive.
- When meetings do need to be extended, attendees of the next meeting may need to wait at the door or return to their personal work area first, which causes problems for them.
A simple task but a longer process
- Users have become accustomed to the innovation of modern applications and are frustrated with the traditional complex interface and processes.
- When users find an empty meeting room nearby and want to use it immediately, they still have to log into the system to reserve it first to avoid other people reserving it. But at this point it already seems cumbersome.
Automation efficiency needs to be improved
- When conference services are needed, communication with the logistics department adds to the cumbersome feeling of meeting room reserving.
Discoveries related to user expectations
User expectations change with the scenario
The same reservation system may be perceived differently in different scenarios. When employees reserve a meeting room for a meeting to be held later, they will calmly and carefully reserve it. but if they are already standing at the meeting room door, they will find the reservation system cumbersome because they need to log in and then find the current meeting room from a complex set of meeting room options.
Behind the “how” described by users may lie a very different “why”
Users express a desire to monitor those who miss appointments and to reduce non-compliance through punishment. They usually think this way when they find out that a meeting room is available but they couldn’t reserve one, and they are in a state of annoyance. The reality is that as long as they can reserve a meeting room, it doesn’t really matter if someone else breaks a contract or if they are penalized.
Develop design principles
Before proceeding with the design, it was important to define the way to measure success and to understand the scope of the design. I wanted to be able to maintain a direct relationship between the findings and my design. Therefore, I created the key principles to be used in the design.
- HMW - Better adapted to the dynamic nature of real-world situations and human-generated errors? - Intuitive
- HMW - 更好地适应实际情况的动态性质和人为产生的错误？- 直观的
- HMW - From reservation systems to maximizing the workload and time savings of meeting lifecycle management? - Efficient
- HMW – 从预订系统到最大程度地简化会议生命周期管理的工作量并节省时间？- 高效的
- HMW - Present content in an easy-to-understand and scalable way? - Simple
- HMW – 以易于理解和可扩展的方式呈现内容？- 简单的
- HMW - Engage naturally with users within their scenarios? - Familiar
- HMW – 在用户的场景内与用户自然接触？- 熟悉的
- HMW - Guiding users through the right actions upfront rather than mending them at a later stage? - Positive
- HMW – 通过前期的引导令用户做出正确的行为而非在后期亡羊补牢？- 积极的
I conceptualized solutions that could solve the problem, while requesting feedback from the users to narrow down the best solution.
The logic behind the platform
The life cycle of a meeting room and its agenda
Reserving a meeting room
Extending a meeting
Reminder with check and confirmation - Proactive cancellation of a meeting reservation
提醒与检查确认 – 主动取消会议预订
Release by logistics or other users - Passive cancellation of a meeting reservation
后勤或其他用户释放 – 被动取消会议预定
Provide interaction solutions for key user touchpoints
Provide a great meeting room reserving experience
This system will provide a dedicated entry point and user interface, and will enable information interaction by connecting to internal company systems such as email, calendar and contacts, thus also avoiding changes to the existing IT management. Please note that content triggered by company systems will not be included in the scope of this design, such as email notifications that are automatically pushed after a schedule is created.
这套系统将提供专门的入口和用户界面，并通过连接公司的邮件、日历和联系人等内部系统以实现信息的交互，这样也能避免更改现有的 IT 管理方式。请注意，由公司系统触发的内容将不包含在本设计的范围内，例如日程创建后自动推送的邮件通知。
I wanted to create a solution that could combine user flow and task flow, meeting both the user’s habits and the system’s requirements. This approach would also help me think about the content of each interface and how the system would react to the desired actions and make improvements as a result.
Initially, I wanted to divide the meeting rooms into specific categories by configuration based on the type of user meeting, and automatically assign the rooms by selecting the type of meeting, and only reserve the rooms that fit the type of meeting. However, I soon realized that this did not really improve utilization efficiency, but rather went against the dynamic nature of the actual situation. Because even for the same type of meeting, the respective needs for meeting room configurations are diverse, and because users are occasionally comfortable meeting in rooms that don’t exactly match, they want some room for variation.
Therefore, I decided to leave the choice to the users and help them find the meeting room they want more efficiently by presenting information in a more intuitive way.
I divided the reservations into two categories, “By Time” and “By Meeting Rooms”, according to the factors that users consider first when reserving a meeting room.
Note: The Interaction Experience based on a Figma file is shown in embedded form below. Please click the full screen button to see the full content. You may need to wait for the Figma content to load before you can view it, you can also open the Figma file.
注意：下方以嵌入式形式展示基于 Figma 文件的交互体验。请点击全屏按钮，来查看完整内容。您可能需要等待 Figma 内容加载完毕方可查看，您也可以打开该 Figma 文件。
Reserve by time
Select the start and end time of the meeting
The appropriate option will be displayed automatically, depending on the time.
Further selection of eligible meeting rooms
Users can further filter the meeting rooms by floor, capacity and equipment configuration. Each meeting room option displays the detail information.
Or, reserve by meeting rooms
While viewing the available time of the meeting room, the users can select the time range they want to schedule directly on the timeline.
Whichever of the above two methods you choose, the users will be taken to the same next step to complete the creation of the entire schedule.
At the same time, the requested meeting services will be automatically pushed to the back office and scheduled automatically.
Proactively release potentially available meeting rooms through alerts & confirmations before the meetings start
Users can receive a same-day reminder confirmation at 8:00 a.m. on the day of the meeting and can simply release the room if they want to cancel the meeting that day. This helps keep the meeting room up-to-date that day to free up space for users who really need it.
用户可以在会议当天上午 8:00 收到当日提醒确认，如果当天要取消会议，可以直接释放会议室。这可以帮助当天的会议室保持最新的状态，以腾出空间给真正有需要的用户。
In the reminder before the meeting starts, users who have reserved a meeting room can also give feedback on whether to cancel based on the latest status. And general attendees can also prepare for the meeting in advance because of the reminder.
Release the meeting room via NFC at the meeting room door
在会议室门口通过 NFC 释放会议室
Of course, users may also not actively cancel a meeting room reservation. At that point, the critical issue can be resolved as long as the user who actually needs to use the meeting room has a way to correct this error and reallocate the resources to themselves. This is helpful for users who need to use the meeting room immediately at the moment.
When the users need a meeting room on short notice, you can use your phone near the door of an empty meeting room nearby to approach the NFC tag and quickly reserve the room. This method also allows you to release unoccupied rooms that have been reserved (after 5 minutes of the start time).
临时需要会议室时，可以在附近的空会议室门口使用手机靠近 NFC 标签，并快速预订会议室。通过这方法，也可以将已经被预订但无人使用的会议室释放出来（在开始时间的 5 分钟后）。
Reduce delays and bring convenient flexibility with end-of-session alerts
Remind the meeting creator 15 minutes before the end of the meeting so that the pace of the meeting is reasonably controlled and the probability of delaying the meeting is reduced.
在会议结束前的 15 分钟提醒会议创建者，以便合理控制会议节奏，减少拖延会议的概率。
Of course, if a meeting does need to be extended, it can be conveniently extended if conditions allow.
Visual Effect Preview
A High-fidelity Screen
You can view the interface design in Figma.
您可以在 Figma 中查看该界面设计稿。
Shortcomings and improvements
Due to time and external constraints, some sessions were not conducted very adequately, as well as some design solutions were not in-depth enough. These shortcomings include:
- Not enough types of users were interviewed. Wanted to explore the needs more deeply by learning more facts.
- Mock interviews were not in-depth enough. I hope that the face-to-face interviews will allow users to make a real meeting room reservation and get more exact information through observation.
- The functional design is not yet complete. For example, providing an overview of the schedule of all meeting rooms in the conference system, providing NFC signage at the entrance of the meeting room, introducing appropriate security mechanisms for NFC operation, etc.
- 功能设计尚不完整。例如在会议系统内提供所有会议室的日程总览、提供会议室门口的 NFC 提示牌、为 NFC 操作引入相应的安全机制等。
- The implementability of the solution has not been proven. The solution involves the working style of the employees (including the collaborative logistics department), the technical architecture of the IT system, and the procurement of the company’s equipment, which requires more in-depth communication to ensure that the solution is implementable.
- 方案的可实施性尚未考证。该方案涉及到员工（包括协同的后勤部门）的工作方式、IT 系统的技术架构、公司设备采购等，需要经过更深入的沟通才能保证方案是可实施的。
- The testing process was inadequate. No real tests could be conducted yet.
If I could continue this project, I would refine the above deficiencies and:
- Create high-fidelity, interactive prototypes (including reservation platforms, NFC-tagged signs on meeting room doors, notification features, etc.) and test them thoroughly to identify issues and improvements.
- 制作高保真的可交互原型（包括预订平台、会议室门上的 NFC 标签告示牌、通知功能等），进行充分的测试，从中发现问题并改进。
- Collaborate with relevant departments within the company and conduct small-scale trials within the company.
- Collaborate with relevant departments within the company, such as IT and HR, to customize employee training related to meeting room reservations, including deployment and usage of related equipment and software.
- 与公司的 IT 和 HR 等相关的部门协作，定制与会议室预订有关的员工培训内容，包括相关设备和软件的部署及使用方式。
Doing this Design Exercise made me realize once again that the user is indispensable in design decisions. Always focus on the user, put the user at the center, listen and experience the user’s feelings, in order to have the opportunity to truly understand the user and thus provide design solutions that meet the user’s needs.
做这份 Design Exercise 让我再次意识到用户在设计决策中是不可缺少的。始终围绕用户、以用户为中心、聆听并体会用户的感受，才能有机会真正理解用户，从而提供满足用户需求的设计方案。
What surprised me was that there is still a lot of room to improve the work scenarios that we all take for granted, and that some small changes can have a huge impact.