A new, easier booking process and an exciting few months ahead!

Conor, Product Manager.

We’ve released a completely new simplified process for parents/guardians to book their children into a Dojo event on the CoderDojo platform (Zen). We hope that you find it as useful and as easy to use as we think you will. I want to take you through why and how we built it, and what it means for how we’re building the CoderDojo platform into the future.

Why rebuild the booking process?

We noticed several things that convinced us to remake the booking flow for Zen.

  1. The majority of champions/Mentors that had complaints about the Zen platform were actually speaking on behalf of parents (from interviews and annual survey data). Therefore making it painless for parents was the priority, even for champions.
  2. We knew there were several issues with the backend that we could clean up at the same time. For example, when you book for several people these will now be properly grouped, so you only get one email confirming the booking and can cancel them all at once as well. There were numerous issues similar to this fixed which means we can move faster in the future to address your problems.
  3. Finally, it’s incredibly important to us that a lot of clubs use and find that the CoderDojo platform is useful to them. Anything we can do to make a parent’s first time booking a ticket to a Dojo event easier and even enjoyable is incredibly powerful.

How did we build it?

Some of the great investigation work Pivotal helped us begin

The very short version of what we did is: we redesigned and rebuilt the registration page and made it part of the process of booking a ticket. This started nearly a year ago with some very generous help from Pivotal. They first helped us redesign and redevelop the Dojo search pages. From there we expanded the rebuild to cover extra aspects of the booking backend, to cover every type of booking and tested with parents multiple times to make sure we were making something that worked for everyone.

The changes and fixes we’ve made mean that a new parent booking for 3 children will only need to enter data on 2 pages, down from 9 pages previously. Obviously this is a huge improvement! We also tested this form in various Dojos around Dublin and found parents had no problems with the new screens but we’ll keep improving it if any of you find you have particular problems with the new form.

Some of the changes you will notice:

  • A more visually appealing confirmation screen when your complete your booking
  • more visually appealing email confirming your booking
  • We now hide parent tickets (assuming a parent/guardian will attend with a child)
  • If the event has set up tickets for parents it will book one automatically (in the future depending on feedback we might remove parent tickets from events completely to reduce confusion)
  • Bookings are now grouped together so we can better deal with group bookings
  • We rebuilt the login page as well to better direct people when they are a returning booker
  • We can also better analyse booking patterns to see what is most effective in encouraging attendees to keep returning to a Dojo

These improvements, along with the enhanced search forms for Dojos & Events, should mean parents now have a completely smooth experience from hearing about CoderDojo to actually booking and confirming into an event.


What do we expect from releasing this?

We first of all hope that new parents experiences are far better. We are tracking the data and conversion for bookings to make sure there are no bugs or issues with it (if you see anything please contact me [email protected]). We also hope this new process gives us the user experience and technology base from which to tackle bigger and more ambitious pieces of work to help you and your Dojos grow.

What did we learn and what comes next for the web team?

This was a long, important and at times difficult piece of work. There was a few reasons for this including a lot of different people doing small parts of it, the work being interrupted by other work we had to do and having different goals for this work by the end than we had at the start. Going forward we hope to do our work in smaller releasable chunks so it doesn’t take so long but we’ve also committed to cleaning up our backend work much more regularly. This means some smaller tasks take us longer but overall we’re getting a lot more efficient.

In the next few months we hope to develop a new CoderDojo homepage and wordpress site, a new exciting Zen dashboard which I’ll talk about soon in another blogpost and (finally) the ability to actually leave a Dojo on the platform!

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