Our Member Profile redesign started with a single question: What’s the difference between account and profile?
It might seem like the difference is obvious. For starters, there’s a very literal difference in definition. Long before digital products existed, accounts were records (like a bank ledger) and profiles were outlines (like a silhouette portrait). When these words were adopted into the digital lexicon, these definitions still held. Accounts were for storing personal information, like a credit card on an ecommerce site, and profiles were for sharing personal information, like a photo on social media.
But in a world of increasing personalization and sharing, the distinction is becoming muddled. Sites seem to use the words account and profile interchangeably. Many use both—in the travel space, Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and United (to name a few) all use both “account” and “profile” in their member experiences, each in slightly different ways.
So what’s the difference, exactly? What kinds of content fits where? What is vague or in-between? Do users generally share the same mental model of these differences? And most importantly, how can we use that difference to build an intuitive Member Profile page?
This showcase draws upon a year’s worth of explorations conducted by multiple Expedia practitioners and teams, representing the collaboration of content strategy, user research, and design that defines the Expedia UX practice. The showcase will include highlights from user research methods including open and closed card sorts and tree testing and show how one can use mental models to create intuitive navigation.