UX retouche

Photo copyright goes to Banksy.

We’re starting the first post of a series on user experience. As with every craft out there, the most useful advice is seeing actual work, so we decided to show you a short case study about how we adjusted the homepage of one of our startups, tripchief.ro

But first, let’s make sure that we understand what UX is about.

What’s User Experience?

As there’s a lot of confusion around this topic, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. There are (at least?) three “U”-s when speaking about design: UI (User Interface), Usability and User Experience. UX is the sum of a user’s interactions with a product and a company on every level: 
 look & feel, usefulness, packaging, performance, accessibility, functions, ergonomics, advertisements, ease of use, customer support, ordering, services, billing, social responsibility, user guides, navigation.

User experience is about feelings: everything a customer touches, hears or sees. It’s about the big picture.

A good metaphor is a quote from Banksy about artwork and fame:

“Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous will never make you famous. Fame is a byproduct of doing something else. You don’t go to a restaurant and order a meal because you want to go to the toilet.”

As there is a lot to say, we’ll go into details in future posts. For now let’s remember that UX is about the user’s feelings, this is the first step towards creating a user centric design
 Now let’s move on and see a hands-on example.

Tripchief.ro UX improvements

Below is a “before & after” comparison of the homepage, we’ll explain the changes below.

Left: v1.0, Right: v1.1

Every change that we make is based on what we’ve learned from our users, either directly or by analyzing their behaviour. There’s an extensive list of tools to use, but first and foremost you should ALWAYS install Google Analytics.

Changes

Yes, we have a new logo! And yes, it deserves a separate post, so more on this later. We’ll focus on layout changes instead, the most important one being reordering the main banner’s elements.

As we’ve felt that the banner space was not used effectively, we decided to regroup the information and have two boxes. The benefits are:

  • Clear and visible information on who we are and how tripchief works
  • The layout of the reservation form is more compact and has a more natural feel
  • Shorter banner -> “Inspiration” is visible when entering the page. The user knows right away that he can scroll for more content.
  • New background image: as the travel industry is about selling feelings, this picture is more appealing to our customers

More changes:

  • Bottom right corner: feedback button. It’s very important to listen to your users, you’d be surprised how happy they are to give feedback. We used a third-party plugin called uservoice and we highly recommend it.
  • Login section: now the user can see his past trips and view offers! (note: you can see that the e-mail trick was really useful for us)

The list above is obviously a set of basic improvements and user experience is always a work in progress.

Reaching a pleasing UX is a process. It takes several iterations and incremental upgrades based on user feedback to achieve it.

If you come up with any other improvements please let us know in the comments below (or use the feedback button on tripchief.ro), we’d be happy to hear your suggestions.

In the meantime we’ll be watching how our users adapt to the new homepage.

Until next time!


Originally published at blog.hipwerk.com on November 13, 2014.

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