If you love watching movies or are a fan of theatre in your city, chances are that you’ve used BookMyShow to get a ticket. The website, which is India’s largest online movie and event ticketing platform, has recently seen a design revamp for its desktop version.
BookMyShow claims the redesign has resulted in drop in bounce rate (by 60 per cent), and more user engagement. So can design really boost the numbers for a commerce portal, get consumers to engage more?
We spoke to Anish Tripathi, AVP Product Design at BookMyShow on why design is central to a product, and how it can give a boost in both user numbers, and revenue. Below is an edited version of the interaction:
What are the big changes that BookMyShow made? What was the focus in the new design?
Anish Tripathi (AT): We rewrote the code completely and went with a magazine-like approach in the new design. Now, we have utilised a lot of the screen space with images from production houses and event organisers. Our Showcase is kind of the homepage, and the landing page as well. These are actually sponsored spots, and they look pretty native. We’ve monetised it, but made sure it is not intrusive.
We’ve added a new section called Experiences, which is a curated collection of events on BookMyShow, to discover events in a better way. Additionally, there are features where you can pick the timing for the previous show, the next show from the seat selection page itself, without going back all the time.
There are smaller experiences that users might not realise. For instance, while you are booking a seat, the call to action is not highlighted, but once you’ve confirmed the seat, it will light up. It diverts your attention to “hey this is where I have to click next”.
You’ll be able to find information in a lot better fashion, hence the engagement has increased. Our transactions have also gone up.
How important is design to a product such as yours?
AT: Design is, of course, very important; and it can help decide how to transform the experience for users. To some extent they know which movie they want to watch, and which location, timing of show, etc, but they go through the process in a specific fashion because you architect it that way. You can either make this process completely difficult, or totally easy.
There are some four, five principles of design and if all of these align like the stars, like information, architecture, findability; your interface is proper, it will work. We are very, very serious about making our design conversational, an interface that talks to you, tells you what you need to do next.
Would you say that design can boost numbers, result in more transactions? What sort of impact has this revamp made for BookMyShow?
AT: The biggest challenge in the redesign was not to disrupt the base consumer behaviour of booking a ticket. We don’t want to make it more difficult, but we made it a little more flexible. The word flexible is very important here. We have basically allowed users to do somethings on particular screens that they were not able to do before. Show timings on the seat layout, being able to combine the order summary on the seat layout, etc.
We know we’ve made a lot of effort to get a user up to a particular stage, so allow them to do all the changes they want by not going back. Frankly, it takes a lot of effort to get a user to that particular screen.
Biggest change has been to keep a user where they are, and we have a very linear flow to our website, you pick a movie, you pick a time, then you a pick seat and move to the transaction page. Making it more flexible meant that more people landed up on the payments page.
Compared to the industry our transaction payment conversions are a bit higher, and it’s definitely gone up post the redesign. There are also some smart interactions on the payments page that have increased transactions. We not only increased the impressions number on a page, but we also increased the conversions by redesigning the payments page as well to show offers, the wallet, and other options.
Can you elaborate on the flexible design bit? Also did you take user feedback during the redesign?
AT: So if you click on movies, there’s this whole page that pops up. We have added features like the ability to pick language, movie formats have been clubbed together, that has really helped us because in some cases the format is what people are looking at. For instance, someone might want to watch Captain America only in IMAX.
Earlier, on the showtime page, you were not able to filter based on certain parameters, we have introduced price as well as a filter. I would sum it up as a discover, decide, book.
We did a lot of these secret society sessions, where we had users come on board and validate the interface we were building. In fact, we have another 30 people coming over and validating the QuickBook version that we are working on.
In the end, you also don’t want to make it confusing for the user by throwing in a whole lot of new features. Conversions are going up, and some of these features were requested by users.
What about the experiences section with its curated list? What sort of response has that seen?
AT: Response is good given that this is a new section. People think of BookMyShow as more of a transacting website, although we do want to increase engagement, and help people discover stuff as well. We’re also seeing that more people are interacting on events, and conversions going up when they are discovering this via the curated fashion. For instance, in experiences we have options like Editor Recommends, and if you click on the events there, then you can directly book tickets as well.
Would you say that design is finally being taken seriously in India?
AT: I think design is extremely important to a product. I’ve had a lot of exposure to different sources of inspiration that made me a designer.
In India, people are starting to realise that without design your product is not going to do as well as it can, or do its max potential. That doesn’t mean that without design you can’t do business. However, there are some companies that are taking design seriously like Zomato and ClearTrip. A lot of startups are working design-first, and that’s a great thing. But at the same I don’t think a pure design-centric approach is completely there, and it will take time to evolve.