Photo by Ken Yam on Unsplash

Case Study: Pearson Airport Website Redesign

I was tasked with analyzing the current website and determine what works and what can be improved. Utilizing these findings, I was to produce wireframes that would address any current concerns, deliver a seamless user experience, and increase revenue opportunities for Pearson Airport. The turnaround for this project was 3 weeks.

The Approach

  1. Persona Creation
  2. User Journeys
  3. Look For Studies
  4. Best-In-Class Audit
  5. Pearson Website Audit
  6. Wireframes

1. Persona Creation

After doing research into airport visitors, surveying 26 peers, and interviewing 5 friends, I concluded that there are 4 types of airport goers: people leaving, people arriving, people passing through, and people picking up/dropping off travelers. There are, of course, many types of people that fall into each category so I also diversified the persona types to reveal a wide range of needs to be addressed.

2. User Journeys

Next I took my personas through user journeys that they may go through when visiting Pearson Airport, from their first notion of going on a trip all the way to leaving the airport and reflecting on their experience. This uncovered key insights that are crucial to designing a great user experience.

Takeaways

The one thing the four personas all have in common is the desire to easily find the information that is important to them amidst an overwhelming amount of options. A Journey Planner, therefore would be an invaluable tool for any airport website. The personas’ needs also created a list of other useful features and now presentation of these features needs to be determined.

3. Look For Studies

Before looking into existing airport website designs, I took the time to see if anyone had already done my work for me;) I found several reports and studies as well as a very insightful article from Carter Hales Design Lab, a Vancouver-based design agency that has designed several airport websites, that shared ideas on best practices.

4. Best-In-Class Audit

To understand how to best organize Pearson’s website features (and to discover more), I conducted an investigation into 21 of the world’s top rated airport websites.

Takeaways

The airports that stand above the rest are the ones that combine an engaging aesthetic with a user-first experience. They are able to captivate users, give them the information they need, and even drive extra revenue streams.

5. Pearson Website Audit

After having completed my investigation I was able to approach Pearson’s website more critically. Through the lens of my personas, I analyzed the site to determine how user friendly the current experience is, what is missing, and what can be improved.

Takeaways

Toronto Pearson does some things very well such as Flight Search, Interactive Maps, and a Shopping/Dining guide but there are many areas for improvement:

  1. SMS Flight Tracking
  2. Responsive Design
  3. Engaging Premium Extras With Enticing Photography
  4. Widgets
  5. More Language Options
  6. Clear Parking Page
  7. Clear Ground Transportation Page

6. Wireframes

Fully armed with persona-driven features backed up by research, I laid out wireframes for a new responsive website proposal that will bring Pearson up to the standard set by the best airport sites in the world.

Takeaways

An enjoyable airport website experience can be achieved by:

  • Ensuring truly useful information is organized in a way that is natural for users to find
  • Presenting contents in a digestible format that doesn’t overwhelm but guides users
  • Beautiful photography and fun interactions to engage users and keep them exploring
  • Customized experiences through journey planning

When this is done effectively, revenue drivers can be incorporated into the experience and the user won’t mind at all. These drivers are presented as another valuable step in the user’s airport journey.

Designing For The Future

Photo by Artur Łuczka on Unsplash

Wearables are the latest trend and Toronto Pearson would be smart to lay the groundwork now. Card format web design can translate easily to smart watches and the airport itself should communicate with users’ devices as people traverse Pearson’s terminals. This is valuable for navigation as well as targeted advertising possibilities

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Augmented Reality technology is making great strides and they sky’s the limit (pun intended) with its practical potential. Some airports and airlines are already using the tech for wayfinding and revenue enhancements.

Conclusion

While the proposed wireframes only scratch the surface of a proper redesign, my presentation was well-received and praised for its thoroughness. This was an independent project and bringing in designers and developers for the next phases will ensure mockups, prototypes, and user testing are the best they can be for a proper pitch to Pearson.

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Chris Henderson

Chris Henderson

A lifelong creative who starts with understanding people.