User Research, Usability Testing,
My overall objective for the project is to create a flight booking application that’s capable letting users figure out what's the best deal for them in the quickest time-frame in regards to booking a flight to a destination.
What problem(s) are you solving?
Airlines are full of costs, hidden fees, multi-optional – all of which can change dynamically for many different reasons. There's a level of control and stability that comes with more information and even more so when it’s aggregated into a single source.
What user goals are you making possible?
Complete Financial Transparency,
People need a way to compare trip prices quickly and fairly because getting a great deal adds to the value of a trip. I believe that by being more transparent about airline prices, issues, and policies users achieve a better flight booking experience.
I was trying to learn the following from my research;
- Attitudinal data about the flight travel booking
- Learn where pain-points happen during that process
- How users interact with current flight booking processes
The analysis yielded some good findings. There's a line graph on Kayak.com that was more effective at communicating ‘a good deal’ but was ambiguous about why. A different website used a calendar view for price viewing and was more visually direct than a line graph, but it wasn’t prioritized as it should in terms of a tool for a user. I also saw this nifty feature on Booking.com called “check flight status” which was great, but it’s so small of a CTA on the page that it's something that a user can easily overlook. Lastly, with the exception of AirBnb and Kayak, most of these websites are visually too crowded. They try to cram in as much information as possible (ads, walls of text, and deals) which in could overload and confuse a user.
I conducted some user interviews to get a better sense of the climate of how the average person uses current methods to travel. I kept the interview centered around these topics;
- If the process yields them the necessary information needed to walk into an airport. (time of flight, documents, etc.)
- Comfortability with ending financial purchase.
- Efficiency of information input.
- Speed of which the whole interaction was done.
- Would they re-use this process, or would they use something else?
Sticking to redesigning a single flight booking experience is probably the best way to limit the scope of the project instead of generalizing the experience to all airlines. The justifications are; it puts a finite limit on what the project should be and it allows an effective run-through of the project with a user for analysis.
The biggest thing I found was that the terms price and good deal are connected, but not equal. Everyone’s threshold for what is or isn’t is different, but the item that unified all the pain-points was an uninformed expectation.
Target Audience - Single Adults (2) to Small Families (3-7)
MVP - A mobile app that has at least the Flight Price Itemization Meter and the Airline Reliability Meter.
Prioritized List of Features:
- Airline Reliability Meter - Knowing the reliability of an airline helps the user avoid potential time-pitfalls and re-bookings of a trip.
- Automated Deal Finder - Though a “good deal” is subjective per user, having some sort of algorithm to find outlier prices is a universal appeal to all users who look for deals.
- Airline Specific Price Itemization Meter - Most airlines have charges for bags and misc. Items that can add up. Sometimes a low costing air-fare can be the same price as an alternative airline when all of the hidden costs are added in.
- Digital Boarding Pass Integration - Having boarding pass information in the same location adds a level of sophistication and trust to the application. Major airlines would have to trust this 3rd party application to issue a digital boarding pass, so this might be a lofty ideal.
Time is really the biggest adversary, trying to do all of this in a quick UX sprint might not be the best, but I think that I'll learn a ton in the process.
Tests with the prototype confirmed that there are issues with the "Watch this Trip for later" functionality. The wireframe didn't stick to conventional design patterns so most participants missed the button entirely. Participants experienced very little difficulty in navigating to the path of an informed purchase. Participants had moments of delight in the displaying of all information that impacts overall price. All other feedback was mostly UI changes which, along with prior notations, can be easily overcome by following standard UI design best practices.
I learned a ton from this project. The importance of usability testing can't be stressed enough. Getting a deep dive of understanding the people that you're designing for helps to inform your product on an entirely different level. Not only does this inform design, but it gives you the missing puzzle pieces that you need to make the entire process smooth and efficient.
I realized that there are sequences of interactivity that would help clarify user interactions with options, additional flows for mini-engagements that would really make this sing. With more time, additional best practices with UI needs some work as well. The "oooh this is really helpful" remarks from user testing sessions were the biggest satisfaction because I had addressed user goals.