Usability Evaluation & Site Redesign
Ironhack challenge 3- Metasearch travel websites
For this Ironhack’s challenge, We have been asked to jump into the shoes of world travelers. From their point of view, we will analyze the user experience of a travel web app and uncover potential user pain points while trying to plan a trip, then redesign the app based on the insights gathered from conducted usability tests.
You and your partner decide to go to a special place next summer. You realize you have both saved enough for the tickets and are planning to save as much as possible for the next 6 months to do this trip. You want to be efficient and have everything you need organized to enjoy at 100% while there. Even if you’re young, you want to have special moments to celebrate being together
Target User Type
Among the wide range of given user types usually using travel apps, I’ve focused on young couples between 20–40 y/o according to my audience reach.
Selected Target Destination information
I chose colosseum - Ancient gladiator arena, one of the 7 wonders of new Millenium -in Rome/Italy as the destination in this scenario, here are some specifications of this touristic place:
- The nearest airport to the destination is Ciampino Airport (CIA)— 13 Km from the city center depending on the departure location, the availability of flights might be very limited. The second Airport is Fiumicino (FCO) 30 km away from the city center.
- Currency is Euro
- Currently, moderate restrictions apply to some passengers due to Covid -19, but it might be lifted till summer.
- Visa & Medical insurance for a non-EU resident is required.
- It’s gonna be summer, so wardrobe recommendations are to get comfortable clothes. The weather might be very hot, temperatures between 31'C and a minimum of 19'C at night.
- 5–7 Days are needed to visit Rome and its major attractions including Colosseum.
For this purpose, I conducted a Usability Heuristics evaluation with Nielsen’s Principles. Problem severity graded from 0–4 based on how the problem impacts the users.
After the evaluation of these 3 websites I’ve identified Skyscanner can perform better for my selected user type (considering accessibility, value proposition, features, etc.)
I interviewed 3 users matched with the designed scenario and selected user type.
I performed 2 sets of Usability tests; Five-second testing by use of Usabilityhub tool & Guerrilla Testing, using Zoom, to understand how Skyscanner could get even better and help people travel the world!
A) 5-second testing
Why five seconds? Studies have found that visitors only spend a few seconds assessing the website before deciding whether to stay or leave.
In this test, the home screen of Skyscanner was shown to the participant for just five seconds to measure users’ very first impressions. After that, the participant answered the below questions based on their memory and impression of the design.
These questions are important, because if a page quickly and easily communicates all of this information, then it’s more likely to capture the right audience.
As we can see in the result, users recognized that they faced a travel website and can find a flight with this tool at very first sight, thanks to a very neat and minimalistic design. On the other hand, the user couldn't recognize if it is a metasearch website or a direct service provider which was affecting the whole experience.
B) Guerilla testing and Interviews:
The main goal of this test is to understand general attitudes towards using travel metasearch web apps, find out which features users desire the most, and how simple or difficult it is to obtain the information. We aim to get an insight into the user's pain points.
Scenario Communicated to Participant:
“Imagine you’re looking for a good flight & accommodation deals for spending a summer week in Rome with your partner and also visit Colosseum ( ancient gladiator arena) and find this travel metasearch website through a Google search.”
P.S. I had to mention the Metasearch website in the scenario because users didn’t recognize this.
1- Find an economy round trip flight for 2 adults, maximum 300 euro pp for one week in summer
2- Find a hotel 3 Star or more ~150 euro per night- close to the city center
Questions I’ve asked :
- Did you know Skyscanner before? what do you think about this website/ tool?
- How do you feel to use Metasearch websites/apps to find a flight or accommodation?
- Talk me through your approach to find a flight, please think out loud!
- What did you expect to find? what did you want to see (options, information, functions) that could have helped you to have a better experience?
- What distracted you?
After analyzing the results of both usability tests, I figured out some of the problems that need to be improved in future iterations.
During the interviews, I got lots of insights on every page of websites (thanks to active and enthusiastic interview participants) but as the homepage was the first and most important page that users would have interacted with, I focused on this part for the redesign!
Wireframe / Prototype
Now, is time for design! You can access the prototype here.
As you can see above screens, my suggestions are :
a) Heading 1: Clarifying the purpose of the site which is being a Metasearch engine & gathering useful information for users to compare deals from thousands of service providers
b) Add more explanation for flexible tickets- using icon & extra descriptions
c) Destination box: Providing distance from city center & showing that on the map can help users find the right airport and stay on the website
d) Date box: New calendar showing the start and end date on one calendar would save users time and need for recalling. Another added feature is showing the flight fares by date on the calendar to help users compare the fares on a different time span
Overall I found this exercise challenging but at the same time very important to wrap up all the topics I’ve learned during the prework stage.
While conducting user interviews, what the user thought was far from what I imagined. I had to iterate 2–3 times and fine-tune my scenario and my questions to get insights aligned with my usability test objectives and extract their real expectation for having a happy path.