Wynn Las Vegas

An academic case study exploring how modernizing this resort's mobile app creates a digital extension of this iconic Las Vegas brand



Ideation, Research, Interface Design, Interaction Design


Sketch, Principle, Marvel, Miro, InVision, Optimal Workshop, Adobe CC


January - March 2019

In an industry which thrives on guest satisfaction, the current Wynn app does not meet today’s user experience standards.

The Wynn Las Vegas app is frustrating, confusing, and fails to function for the user. The navigation is unintuitive, and the limited features serve little purpose or value for the consumer. For a resort recognized as the number one luxury destination in Las Vegas, and the winner of the most Forbes Five star awards in the world, this mobile companion is a clear setback for the Wynn brand.

The following case study explores how the iOS app was re-designed to create a desirable experience for guests before, during, and after their stay at the resort. The goal is to enhance the guest experience, grow brand loyalty, and create a sustainable product to increase revenue for the business.


Tackling Problems With a Solution-Based Approach



How might the Wynn Las Vegas app be re-designed to generate new business, improve brand sentiment, and enhance the user experience?


Understanding How the Current Product Functions for the Consumer

Having used the Wynn app prior to taking on this project, I was aware of certain challenges user's might encounter as they engage with the product. To establish a starting point and to begin building a foundation to work from, I performed a quick heuristic evaluation of the app using Nielsen’s 10 general principles for interaction design. I approached the evaluation using a few key tasks that I might normally use the app for, and from there these pain points were gathered and became the starting point in identifying how the product could be improved.



Using Consumer Insights That Help Work Towards a Desirable Solution

I collected user feedback provided in reviews posted to the US and Canadian App Stores, as well as information available through App Annie. While the general consensus of this information indicates that the current product delivers more friction than function , several reviews included suggestions for features they would like to see. These insights helped to establish the initial product requirements.



Asking Travelers to Understand the Consumers' Habits & Expectations

An online questionnaire was created to discover how likely Las Vegas residents and travellers are to use a resort app, what their booking habits are, what features they feel would be useful, what competitor products they use, and what challenges they've encountered with resort apps in the past. The questionnaire was distrbuted using SurveyTandem.com and Reddit via the r/LasVegas and r/SampleSize groups. More than half of the respondents had made reservations using resort apps, and their responses showed that most of these apps have little purpose for the user once their trip is over.


of travelers cited reservations (i.e., room, dining, and/or entertainment) as the primary reason they use resort apps followed by access to rewards and promotions


of travelers booked their trip using a hotel website compared to 50% who used an online booking platform such as Expedia


of travelers who downloaded the Wynn app deleted it after their trip due to lack of utility


of travelers used the Wynn app before or during their trip compared to 55% who used the MGM app and 15.7% who used the Caesar's Rewards app


Conducting Comparative Analysis of Other Resort Apps to Identify its Place in the Current Market and Opportunities for Advantage Gains

A competitive analysis provided deeper insight into how the Wynn app currently stands in comparison to competitor products offered by resorts in a similar space. This analysis considered the visual treatment, interactions, and overall user experience to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each product. This not only showed what that competition is doing well and what features could be integrated to enhance the product experience, but also highlighted common trends with regards to features which the user may anticipate as being standard today.



Converging Features to Anticipate and Meet Rising Business and Consumer Expectations

An audit was conducted to gather the features offered by the current app and website, the features competitive products offer, and features suggested in the reviews and online questionnaire. This helped establish the foundation for deciding which features to include or omit, as well as to recognize any redundant information, missed revenue opportunities and new opportunities for innovation. 



Identifying the Features and Experience of a Successful Product from the Consumer's Perspective

To help process the large amount of data collected, an affinity map was created to systematically organize these ideas, problems, and solutions into logical cohesive groups. This helped to make sense of the information and draw connections between individual elements to develop new and deeper insights used to define the problem(s) and develop ideas for solutions. 



Leaning on Consumer Feedback to Guide Feature Organization

Using OptimalSort, a remote card sorting study was created and distributed using SurveyCircle to attract participants aged 21+ from around the world. This approach was used to understand how people might associate and organize different features with various categories. In other words, where they would instinctively go to find a specific feature or information. This helped guide the design of the menu structure and information architecture to ensure key information is easy to find and intuitively meets the users' expectations.



Designing A Better User Experience by Humanizing the Problem Space

Using the primary and analytical research, personas were created to represent the users this product is being designed for. This helped to understand and empathize with those who might engage with the product, benefit from using it, and to ensure that multiple user groups were taken into consideration. The personas created represent three core segments which include: The Business Traveler, The Family Traveler, and The Luxury Traveler. 


Frictionless and Intuitive Navigation for the Mobile Experience

At this stage in the process, I began to organize the pieces of the puzzle to create a site structure that supports the user's goals in as few keystrokes as possible. I began thinking about how this product could be designed to improve the discoverability of key features, how the customer's interaction with the product could work, and how they might accomplish the various "jobs" without friction.



Testing the User Flow, Functionality, and Error Detection

With the site structure in place, I began to sketch out different screens and user flows for each job story to create an interactive prototype using Marvel's POP app. This phase allowed ample room to annotate and work through the logic of how the content and navigation should flow. Preliminary user testing with the paper prototype provided quick insights into the users’ interactions and reactions to the product, their responses to various features integrated into the design, and whether or not they could complete key tasks quickly and with ease. The outcome of this early testing phase showed where changes needed to be made, such as a more personalized dinner reservation process and which the tools should be placed in the tab bar along the bottom. Comments were also made about the position of the guest check-in option which initially I felt was a great tool implemented by other resorts, but people who tested the app felt it could be placed under a guest account option instead.



Designing a Cohesive Brand Experience

The goal of the interface design was to ensure the app felt like a companion product to The Wynn's newly re-designed website. To maintain consistency and ensure design components could be handed over seamlessly to a development team, a modular design system based on reusable components was created. Every component can be rearranged and combined with others while maintaining brand and design consistency and recognizable UI patterns for the user.



A Newly Designed Product to Enhance the Wynn's Digital Footprint

This re-designed product strategically considers how guests navigate through their phones and in what context to best suit the needs of the consumer. This current iteration of the product helps guests to seamlessly check-in / check-out of the resort, feel a personal connection to the Wynn's core services, and utilize technology to enhance their experience. It also acts as a utilitarian product for non-guests, allowing local residents to easily purchase show tickets and make dinner reservations with ease. 

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Customers are no longer redirected to the website or prompted to call the resort to make a room reservation. The new design provides customers with detailed amenity information, multiple accommodation photos, as well as an interactive room features floor plan.

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Digital Key is a convenient option for resort guests to access their room within minutes upon arrival. Guests now have the option to use their mobile device to conveniently unlock any door that would typically be opened with a key card, from their room or suite to the fitness center and more. 

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In a resort as large as The Wynn and Encore, deciding where to eat can be a tedious task, especially with more than twenty different options to choose from. To help guide the guest's dining needs, this newly designed product offers suggestions based on mood, time, experience, and more.

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Designed with the needs of busy guests in mind, this personalized concierge service allows the customer to message specific areas of the Wynn's concierge service within the app. From housekeeping to wake-up calls, or even special requests, guests are now able to converse with the right representative from anywhere: waiting for their luggage at the airport, in a meeting, or while getting in an extra hand at Blackjack at the casino.


Re-Designing A Pre-Existing Product Requires A Different Approach, One More Aligned To Solving A Complex Puzzle

The process of redesigning a pre-existing product requires a different approach than when you are creating an original product. Rather than a blank canvas, you must fit together existing assets to satisfy user expectations. When people are familiar with a brand and have an idea of what to expect (in this case a five-star experience), meeting and exceeding expectations, and ensuring the users' mental model are aligned with the product architecture is equally challenging.

As a long-time fan of Las Vegas and the Wynn brand I wonder what the outcome of a redesign like this could potentially do for the company? Would deeper engagement with the app on the consumer side align with company goals? What other opportunities might exist that could be turned into a viable revenue stream? On the development side, what are the technical constraints? What newly added features could realistically be implemented? Taking a large amount of content and ideas and distilling it into a simple solution that users find intuitive and pleasant is a challenging undertaking. In many ways, perhaps because of this elevated level of complexity, this has been my most gratifying endeavor to date.


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