My third Ironhack challenge: Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign for Skyscanner
I’m an Ironhack student and in this post I will share my experience on one of the challenges presented by the academy. The challenge consisted in a Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign (you can find my first challenge on Design thinking here and my second one on Wireframing here).
The task was to analyzed a travel booking app and test it with a specific user type. This user type will have to follow a series of steps to book a hotel and flight having as destination one of the new 7 wonders. From the testing result we needed to present a site redesign for the issues that were encountered when using the app.
Getting to know our user
For my user type I choose an elderly couple (between 60 and 80 years old). I wanted to select a user type that was very different from mine so that I could work on my empathy.
The basic goal of our elder couple is to visit one of the wonders now that they are retired. They are people that want a flexible package that allows them to relax and not having to do much planning on their own.
In my analysis, I established that this retired couple would live in the same city as I live (Barcelona).
Getting to know our users destination
I chose the Coliseum as the destination. Since my user type will be an elderly couple, I wanted to pick a destination that was not far away, so that the trip wouldn’t represent a hassle.
At this point, I did a little bit of research in order to know more about the necesites of our selected user type:
- Nearest airport and most convenient airport to destination: There are two airports near Rome, Rome’s Ciampino Airport and Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. The first one is closer to the city center (cheaper taxi drive if the couple wanted to get a taxi), but the second one has more amenities and is better connected in terms of transportation (you can get a bus or a train to the city center and save some money). I figure the Rome’s Fiumicino Airport will be better for our traveling. Although they are an elderly couple I could see that they would like to save money where they can and also thought that it could be easier for them to get help in an airport as Fiumicino if they needed it.
- Currency: euro, so no exchange needed.
- Medical needs (vaccination, visa, etc): no medical needs since they are traveling inside the EU.
- Passport validity: Must have at least six months validity remaining beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. The users can also travel with their national ID card. Also there are no Visa requirements.
- Wardrobe recommendations: same recommendations as for the city they live in.
- Days needed to visit attraction: 1 day is more than enough to visit the wonder destination
Getting to know the travel booking app
For this challenge we made a usability heuristics evaluation to compare the travel booking apps of Kayak, Hooper, Skyscanner and Tripadvisor. The four apps perform well on the evaluation, but considering my user type, I ended up choosing Skyscanner to perform the usability test. My personal favorite from the four of them was Tripadvisor but I felt that it is loaded with a lot of information that can make it confusing to use for our user type.
Getting to test Skyscanner
Having chosen Skyscanner as my test app, I select 4 people from the user type group. I performed the test with my parents and in-laws.
My in laws live in Barcelona so it was easier for me to explain the tasks that they have to perform. With my parents, it was a different story, I talked to them through a Whatsapp call and the process took me twice as much time, at the end they got it but it was quite an experience.
For the case of my in-laws I open the app on my phone and explain to them the tasks to be performed (all along I did not tell them the app name).
In the case of my parents, I asked them to download the app and then to perform the tasks.
The tasks to follow were:
- With the app open, book a for days trip to Rome to visit the Coliseum
- After booking a flight, book a hotel in the city center so that mobility is not an issue.
- Keep in mind that there is a limited budget but that flexibility and comfort are the main goals.
After following this tasks, I presented my users the following questions:
- Have you booked travels using an app before?
- What was the name of the app used?
- Did you enjoy the experience of using a travel booking app?
- What did you find difficult when using the app?
After the interview I found that the main problems they encounter were the following:
- In the case of my in-laws, they could not remember the name of the app.
- Both couples claimed to having use travel booking apps before and they usually rely on their children for this type of things. Although all of them share the same feeling of wanting to learn to do it by themselves.
- The experience went ok for all of them. The only paint points I detected was the difficulty of sometimes not knowing where to press. It was difficult for them to detect all the buttons.
Getting to define what need to be improved
First of all, let me say that I really enjoy this app. I think it has a beautiful design and that is simple to use, which is one of the reasons I thought it will be suitable for my selected user type. This made it tougher for me to find what to improve. At the end I went for improvements that mainly focused on making it easier for our user type to select the app and to better promote offers and discount packages.
For this redesign exercise I tried to focus on improving three things:
- Make the brand name more visible, although you know the name of the app when you open it, after that there is nowhere to remind you of the app’s name.
- Improve some of the buttons to make they look more like buttons.
- Since our user type is interested in finding a flexible plan with a good price, I figure it would be good to highlight hotel and flight packages, and also giving the user the opportunity to save their trips if they are not ready to pay for them yet and want to compare more options. I also wanted to include the option to lock the price of your trip, a few apps do this, and I think its a great way of giving your users a chance to maintain an offer for a few days when they really want it but are not ready to make the payment.
Getting to redesign our improvements
I divided my flows in two: flight booking flow and hotel booking flow. Went view by view on both flows and made the redesign changes . I first focus on highlighting the brand and then make little changes to the buttons and used colors to exalt were users should click.
You can compare both designs below. For the original Skyscanner I present one of the usability tests that I recorded, and you can give a look to my paper redesign prototype and my invision hi-fi prototype:
Click here to view the project Skyscanner redesign
This prototype brought to you by InVisionApp
Overall I really enjoy performing this challenge, my pain points were the interview process when users are in remote and having to come with redesign ideas for an app that is so well thought out.