Improving Flight Booking Experience: UX case study

Priyanka Goyal
Jun 23, 2019 · 13 min read

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Introduction:

The project is done to improve flight booking experience of MMT. I have divided the project into 2 parts. Part 1 majorly comprises of research and part 2 includes product design.

In part 1 of this project,

  1. The quantitative research that was done by sending a questionnaire to 20+ users.
  2. Created and test a scenario with 5 users.
  3. How the studies were conducted and recordings.
  4. Summary of major issues found
  5. Storyboard of user journey.
  6. Personas of 3 type of users.

In part 2 of this project,

  1. Analysis of features and functionality provided by competitors i.e Cleartrip, Yatra, goibibo and Paytm with MMT.
  2. Use cases for an improved experience.
  3. Sketches of low fidelity wireframes.
  4. Final design for flight booking experience for MMT and recommendations.

Brief:

To review the current flight booking experience of MMT and solutioning of how to further improve the experience.

Goal:

Before anyone engages in the product it is necessary to understand the end goal from users and business perspective. This involves being empathic towards users needs and also being sensitive towards generating revenue. Thus, the most important question to be answered it what is the goal for the product.

This is phrased in 2 main ways

  1. What is the goal of business in making this product?
  2. What is the goal of end-user of using this product?

Firstly, about the MMT goal, in my assumption, MMT wants to get as many users as possible to use their application to book tickets of different airlines in terms of generating revenue from the 3rd party (booking providers).

Lastly, about the end user goal, want to feel motivated and trusted while booking the tickets.

The user can feel motivated for downloading the MMT app for various reason but the main crux of his intent is.

  1. Figure out flight option
  2. Get price estimate
  3. Purchase the most convenient ticket available
  4. Enjoy the process as much as possible

PART 1: quantitative research

Objective:

To understand the user and their perspective towards planning travel for holiday or work.

Process:

  1. Created a questionnaire on google forms
  2. Collected information from 24 users
  3. Selected users for testing the scenarios of MMT app (explained in next step)

Questions and analysis:

  • The question where asked from 24 users. Out of which 47.6% were males and 52.4% were females. They are mainly from 28 years to 30 years. 33.3% is from 28 years to 30 years and 33.6% is from 32 years to 36 years. They are from a different professional but most of them are IT consultant and software engineers which are 19%.
  • Most of the people travel for work once in a year i.e 45.8% but good portion of them travel once in a month and even a week. It is understood through data that many of them travel often and are flexible about time (month or week). People are more likely to travel for a vacation once in a year but many of them also said that they make plans at least 2–3 times in a year.
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  • It is always useful to understand with whom people travel before giving them a suggestion. After questioning them about how many times they travel with family and children, partner, solo and friends. A good number of people travel with their partners (41.7%) and with children (33.3%). They plan a trip with friends and solo sometimes.
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  • 58.3% of the user prefer to book tickets at least 30 days prior and 45.8% users are flexible to shift their dates if they are getting cheaper flights. 50% of users don’t have flight preference thus choosing the option which is at the best price. 95% of the user compare price on other apps before finally booking a flight.
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  • Users have a seat preference mostly and only 8.3% of them actually want to pay for it .
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  • I was curious to know how many users will actually take add on services provided by airlines and most preferred add on services. Around 16 of 24 users are willing to pay for the meal, 8 of 24 users don’t mind paying for extra baggage if needed, 4 of 24 users agreed to pay for class conversion and insurance.
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  • On asking their fav site for booking a flight. 58.3% users said they prefer MMT and 13 of 24 users said that attractive offers will motivate them to book ticket rather than a good design.
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Key Findings:

  • 18 of 24 users are between the age group of 28 years till 36 years are the ones who prefer traveling and are the main decision maker while planning a trip.
  • 20 of 24 users travel for work either single to multiple times in a year.
  • 20 of 24 users plan vacation either once in a year or 2–3 times in a year.
  • More than 90% of the users prefer traveling with family and children or partner.
  • 14 of 24 users prefer planning a trip 30 days before their final traveling dates.
  • 95.5% of the user prefer comparing prices online for flights.
  • 95% of the users purchase add on service to ease their journey.

PART 1: Created and tested scenarios with 4 users

Objective:

Identify the main pain point of making my trip app from launch to flight booking, that interfere with the user experience, trust and enjoyment. Then recommended ways to address these issues.

Process:

  • Understood users in research
  • User testing on current MMT flight booking functionality
  • Evaluation of gathered information and data (elaborated in part 2)
  • Recommendations (elaborated in part 2)

Basic criteria for selecting users:

Made an assumption about who will fit the broad persona thus selected

  • The user between the age group of 25 years till 36 years.
  • Have a smartphone
  • Have at least booked flight ticket from MMT once

My goal was to find 4 users who will meet the above criteria to give with enough data set which could help me to draw a reasonable conclusion.

While carrying out this gorilla UX test. I have requested users to use their own phones. So, they would be comfortable using the device. I did not want them to deal with the physical aspect of their user device. As a result, the user has types of phone that range from Iphone 6s, Oppo real me and Samsung galaxy a50

Test parameters:

  • 💡 What: Latest version of MMT app
  • 💡 Who: 5 users who have booked a flight before on MMT app
  • 💡 Where: Ad hoc UX lab setup at user house or office.
  • 💡 When: 22nd April 2019
  • 💡 How: User interview and app walk through

Usability test scenarios:

I have created this test scenario because even if the user has bought a flight ticket before might not be willing to buy the ticket presently. This has helped the user to adopt the scenario and booked the flight ticket with certain criteria.

Scenario: You want to go for a vacation with family, partner or solo in India. You are planning a trip for 3 nights 4 days in India in April. You want to include 22 April, Monday which is a national holiday. You prefer leaving in the morning from Delhi and return by night on the last day of your vacation.

  • You have to book a ticket from Delhi to a place where you want to go to.
  • You have to book a ticket from Delhi to a place
  • You have to book a ticket considering 22 April, Monday is a national holiday.
  • You have to book a return flight as well
  • You can choose from services provided by the airline

Question:

  • Where you want to go?
  • With whom you want to go?
  • When do you want to go?

Task:

  • Download the app on your phone
  • Choose a destination (in case he is not able to decide, he is asked to book it for Goa)
  • Find a suitable flight and make booking
  • He has to call out about his experience good, bad or confusing as he is making a booking.

How the research was conducted:

  • At user’s home
  • By creating a portable setting for recording the videos
  • Video and audio was recorded on oneplus 5
  • All of them are my neighbors
  • They have at least booked flight once
  • Have there own smartphone

Users were given:

  • Rough sheet to note down there thought (if needed)
  • Ink Pen
  • Expatiation sheet about the test scenario
  • Task direction sheet
  • Feedback sheet

The following were the selected users and their interview videos:

  • User 1: Prateek Singhal, IT consultant, 30 years
  • User 2: Aashish Nagar, Lawyer and Agile coach, 39 Years
  • User 3: Santosh Sharma, Travel consultant, 35 Years
  • User 4: Anuj Nasa, IT consultant, 30 Years

PART 1: Summary of major issues found

In all, I conducted 4 users test and gathered data about travelling from 24 users. I have also spoken to 3 users on phone with open ended questions about how they travel.

From usability test with 4 users. I have made video of 42 minutes. From these videos 6 user experience issues were discovered. 1 of them was actual bug. 2 were faced by all most of the user

  • 2 of 4 users already had the app on their phones
  • 2 of 4 users got stuck on calendar while selecting the return date
  • Users were not enjoying the process of choosing the flight though it was simple I felt there should be motivation and encouragement to book the tickets.
  • All 4 users used the morning departure filter
  • 1 of 4 users felt that baggage and meal information on listing page will help them to make the decision better.
  • All 4 users feel that seat feature is good but they would prefer non chargeable seats
  • 2 of 4 users could not make out if they have taken the paid seat or unpaid seats
  • 1 of 4 users feels that there should be some lowest fare suggestions
  • 2 of 4 users feels that they don’t mind booking the meal while booking the flight
  • 2 of 4 users missed add user detail button
  • 3 of 4 users did not check the cancellation policy
  • 3 of 4 user are not willing to pay extra for refund
  • 1 of 4 user took insurance
  • 1 of 4 users got error while booking a flight but could not make out the reason for the error and spend enough time to struggle with it.
  • 3 of 4 users mostly like to have free features
  • 2 of 4 user felt that there seats are already selected on seat selection page

All the user said that flight booking experience through MMT is smooth but there are few things where they felt stuck. Most of them agreed that there should be more clarity in information for add on services and there should be clear distinction between paid and unpaid services.

PART 1: Storyboard of the user journey

  • He decides the destination considering the climate, co travelers, expenses and no. of holidays he has.
  • After deciding the destination, he wants to check the prices of flight ticket. He is flexible to postpone his trip by few days in case he is getting better offers.
  • He applies the filter to check the flight options and to choose the best option which suits him in terms of time, price and services.
  • He chooses the flight and then compares the price on other apps.
  • He selects the booking option, he adds his information, selects from add ons like seats, meal, baggage and insurance.
  • He takes note of the refund and cancellation policy if he has some doubt about changes in his travel plans.
  • He pays for the ticket from his preferred payment option.
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PART 1: User Persona

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PART 2: Functionality comparison between competitors

Analysed MMT, Cleartrip, Goibio, Yatra and Paytm’s flight booking flow and have made the list of features and capabilities that each app provide. I have gone through each app deeply and had made assumptions about the likability of their each feature. I had made assumptions on the basis of ease of use, clarity of information and time required to use a particular feature.

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During the online survey I asked user which app they like to book and flight and why. I was surprised to see that most of them said MMT because of its design and offers.

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PART 2: Usecases (of improved experience)

  • User should be able to view lowest fare trip suggestions while search for a flight.
  • User should be able to use voice to search flight.
  • User should be able to view no. of seats left in flight listing page.
  • User should be able to view information related to free meal, paid meal and baggage with flight details.
  • User should be able to add on services like meal, extra baggage and seat before reviewing the itinerary.
  • User should be able to view the final itinerary.
  • User should be able to add details.
  • User should be able to make payment.

PART 2: Sketches (low fidelity wireframes)

These are very low fidelity sketches just to draw my learning from the research and how I would want to improve the experience of MMT app visually. The skectches include

  • Flight search page
  • Flight listing page
  • Add on page(i.e meal, baggage and seat)
  • Review itinerary page
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PART 2: Redesigning Experience

Since, it was a re-design project. I wanted to reuse the design guidelines and color scheme of make my trip. The focus was to improve the user experience while booking a flight. I have reused few of the elements as during my research I found out that it is usable and helping users to find the desire results easily.

Flight search page

The new flight booking experience will give you suggestions about where the lowest flight fares.

With support of my research, 2 out 4 users said that the option to few options of cheaper flights will be helpful and all 4 users said they are flexible when it comes to deciding the dates and destination for the vacation.

The context, you want to plan vacation with your family or friend but have no clue where to go. At the same time, you want to make it a pocket friendly vacation. Make My Trip could recommend you with the destination and lowest fare dates. This could be helpful for the user to pick the place.

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Voice search for flight

These days apps are designed keeping in mind that people use thier phone alot while going to the office or driving. Thus, there is a scope to simplify this problem with the voice search feature.

Based on products like spotify and instagram which are quite easy to use on the go. I thought that it be exciting for the users who want to look for fligt options without spending much time on the screen.

In this case, one can simply use the voice search and answer three simple questions to get the desired results.

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Discoverability

The first step towards opting for the most perfect match is to get the clarity of information. The information should be designed well and should help users to take decision faster.

Even during the research 2 of 4 users felt that the information about the flight is not sufficient. Therefore, they either refer another website or have to make assumptions.

In most of the scenarios, users try to search for baggage inclusion but in the older design the clarity in missing. Hence, by highlighting those pointer has helped the users to take the decision faster.

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Add on services page

In the older design, there was lack of information about the add on services, and also, the funnel for booking a flight is a bit confusing. Therefore, in newer design I have made sure that the add on services are given equal importance, with that, user should be aware of his decision taken while booking a flight.

Based on the data 3 of 4 users are willing to take meal as a paid add on. Paid extra baggage depends on the requirement. The data clearly says that a lot of people are inclined towards paying extra for the services.

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Confirming The Booking

The older design has made this information too complex which has made it less readable. Thus, I have decided divide it into two departure and return. This small change has made the information more consumable, and also, I have changed the layout to make the improve the readability.

The improved design was shown to the users who got confused and felt little lost with excessive information. According to them it has improved the readability and gives the sense of safety.

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Conclusion:

I have taken this project to brush up my skills related to design thinking process. During the process apart from gaining experience about various techniques used for testing and iterating a product I have experienced that my learning graph had a steep growth.

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