Microsoft Bookings

Microsoft Bookings is a scheduling and appointment management tool originally designed for small businesses. Overtime, its user base evolved and the existing experience couldn't handle the emerging use-cases and scale across widely different industry verticals. In 2020, we set out to redesign the product to make it a delightful, modern app that works equally well for everyone.
Research, analysis, product design, design systems, user-testing.
2 designers, 1 product manager, 20+ engineers.
June 2019 — Feb 2020
Bookings grew over 12X in the last year, helping hospitals, schools, colleges, government bodies, justice courts, businesses and various organisations meet their end users.
Bookings was originally designed for small businesses. Hence the experience started breaking when scaled to handle large volumes and complex workflows across different industries like healthcare, education and the government. How might we empower our diverse users to use Bookings in the way they want, while making it simple, delightful and uncomplicated to use.
🐳 Breaks when scaled up to handle large volumes
⛓ Disjointed experiences
🤔 Complicated workflows with almost no IA in place
🖥 Dated user interface
Bookings in the current state couldn't handle workflows with large volumes which is common for enterprises and large institutions.
Most experiences over time became a kitchen sink of complex controls, with abstruse jargon in its copywriting.
Information is siloed and doesn’t work together to give meaning & insight.
Bookings followed dated UI paradigms from an old tech stack, with critical usability issues.
Bookings is used by different personas across varying roles in businesses, healthcare, education, and the government. In addition to our direct customers, even our customers' customers (end-users) fall under our user pool.
Our users include business owners, administrators, schedulers (who manage the calendar), service providers, business auditors and finally the customers of the business. However since Bookings is used widely across healthcare, education and government bodies our personas have to be flexible and inclusive of teachers, students, doctors, patients etc as well.
We kicked off the process with a comprehensive experience review of the current experience with the product triad.
Several workflows and experiences in the existing product scored very low as per our benchmarking.
We took a strategic decision to intentionally position Bookings for enterprises to amplify growth.
Very high drop-off rates (specially at setup) indicated poor onboarding and overwhelming product complexity that we needed to address.
We planned for an end-to-end visual and usability refresh to address dated UI paradigms and make Bookings modern and delightful.
Design Goals
The experience review also helped us define our focus areas for the redesign.
Bookings should seamlessly adapt to variable levels of information density across industry verticals.
Clean out the clutter, and help users easily complete their tasks.
Focusing on user jobs and workflows rather than silos of information.
Identifying and prioritising user jobs.
A comprehensive list of user jobs across personas were framed and stack ranked. This exercise laid the foundation for our MVP.
Enrolling our triad into our design workshops worked out wonderfully as our engineers and program managers came with deep product knowledge about the legacy and history of Bookings and the product's backend infra. This gave us diverse & comprehensive perspectives as we charted out a plan for MVP.
Bucketing user jobs into the stages of the user journey
User jobs from the Jobs-To-Done exercises helped us see patterns and map out the user journey into seven broad buckets. For the MVP we ideated concepts under each of these buckets.
Final Outcome: Highlights
Each highlight captures an aspect of the new Bookings experience. It calls out which design goal it adheres to, what user scenario or problem its solving and what the solution is.
A customisable calendar with staff & service as filters
With staff and service as filters (instead of flat lists) and the ability to pin entities, schedulers can quickly customise to the exact view of the calendar they need.
Schedulers who manage and triage the bookings calendar everyday, have to scan across large volumes of appointments, staff and services. Finding what you need can take a lot of time and effort.
Mailbox switcher in primary navigation
A quick mailbox switcher invoked directly from the profile entity in the primary left navigation allows admins and schedulers to quickly switch between calendars.
Administrators and schedulers sometimes have to handle multiple bookings calendars across several branches and departments.
Contextual primary navigation options
The new primary navigation has three options: calendar, customers and settings. Calendar and Settings have contextual options when you land on it. All the configuration pages were clubbed under 'Settings' and a search helps quickly locate niche controls.
The old primary navigation had seven pages, out of which calendar is used daily and most of the rest are single time setups which occasional edits.
Simpler, clearer settings across the app
We introduced better IA, logical grouping of similar & dependent controls, clearer copy and easier ways to configure across the app for better edit experiences.
Bookings consists of powerful controls to configure your business. But due to high number of controls, no organisation and confusing copy users struggle to find what they're looking for.
Rich, consistent profile cards for staff, service and customers that can be invoked from anywhere in the app where the entity appears. These give a live, informative 360° glimpse of the entity's schedule, contact details, engagements and more. We've also made it possible to travel from one profile to another so that interconnections are understood.
A consistent view of staff, services & customer profiles
The new onboarding flow addresses our critical issue of high drop-off rates during setup. With a step by step guided flow, users are familiarised with the Bookings fabric, is guided through setting up their team and the first service and setting important configurations. This helps avoid a cold start when users land on the product for the first time.
Helping users easily setup Bookings
Actionable & informative staff & service lists
We redesigned the lists to show key information upfront. Search with filters and inline actions help users find and take action from the list itself.
While managing a large number of staff and services, it's important for the admin to be able to take quick actions and perform bulk operations at the list itself.
Bookings grew 1200% over the last year, from 640K bookings/month in March 2020 to over 7 million in March 2021. It helped thousands of doctors reach their patients and families, teachers reach their students, government bodies orchestrate large scale operations and ensured business as usual for organisations across the world.
Several organisations used Bookings to ensure social distancing and crowd control, as they slowly opened up during the pandemic.
Healthcare, finance, HR, hiring and government bodies have been using Bookings to take ops online and offer virtual consultations.
Schools and colleges have been using Bookings to give classes online and organise large scale events or drives.(eg: COVID vaccinations).