A new way of booking air travel
Airline travel is a massive industry with multiple airlines vying for user's attention (and fares). However, the vast majority of airline websites and apps are sorely lacking in good user experiences. Startup airline Fly UX aims to use great design and a user centric approach to gain advantage over much larger, bureaucratic airlines.
Startup airline Fly UX requires a website and mobile app. The goal is to gain market share through utiilising a user centric approach and dispensing with the frustrations users frequently experience on larger, more bureaucratic airline sites.
The project focuses primarily on the airline booking procedure and endeavours to identify key weaknesses and frustrations encountered by users in the process and remedy these.
The method by which users search for, find, book and pay for flights will be investigated and documented. Utilising this research and analysis, a working protoype - along with an accompanying set of wireframes - will be designed and developed.
Will future airline travelers have a good user experience?
This project duration is six months with monthly deadlines.
As it is a student project, the limitiations are obviously far less stringent than a real life client project. New sections will be added as the various course stages are completed over the coming months with a projected completion date of March 2019.
My role in this project is that of the lead (and only!) UX Designer. I completed all activites in the UX project cycle in a solo capacity- from research to design to prototyping. This has resulted in the accumulation of a huge amount of knowledge and many new skills such as;
Airline users are a very broad demographic encompassing everyone from old Mrs. Jenkins down the road who is off to visit her little Sally in Australia for Christmas (first time on a plane would you believe, now, what's this deep thrombosis lark all about?) to Frederick "Feddy J" Jones - top DJ extraordinaire who thinks of VIP lounges as his second home and schedules his airport arrival to the latest possible second.
In many ways, this makes the project more challeging as there is no specific target audience. Accessibility and ease of use is clearly of the utmost consideration throughout the project cycle to cater for a wide range of abilities and profiles.
A user survey was devised and dispatched to a wide range of participants. The purpose of the survey was to learn more about the goals of people who use airline websites and apps. 29 responses were received with many offering valuable insights into the mindset of the airline user. A few interesting patterns are noted below;
A recruitment screener was devised to select appropriate users for the usability tests and interviews. Requirements included the booking of a flight in the three months prior to the tests and using the internet on a regular basis.
The usability tests consisted of comparative studies of airline websites and apps. The research objective was to learn about the goals, behaviours and context of airline customers when booking flights.
This (airline) actually recognises that customers are human.
User interviews were also completed with the objective of learning more about the context of use of people that use airline websites and apps.
I check in online, sit wherever there's a seat and take minimal baggage.
In-depth analysis of four well regarded competitor sites and apps revealed a wealth of information about best practices and unearthed some unexpected discrepancies also. This analysis will prove invaluable at the design stage of the process.
The results of this research were intriguing. Every user - even the most tech savvy, well travelled of them - encountered frustrations and obstacles during the booking process.
Booking flights is always a trauma.
Why do they think they are difference from any other e-commerce website? (The process) shouldn't be any different from buying a jumper.
All of the user research was analysed and documented in detail. This material will serve as a constant reference point throughout the remainder of the project and inform all phases of the design stage.
On completion of the initial user research phase, the results were assimilated and used to create an affinity diagram.
Post-its were used to highlight user insights and then organised into categories, detailing particular pain points and user insights. The results are detailed in the "Defining the Problem" section.
Further analysis of the user research results allowed for the development of a user journey map.
User journey map (not shown: detailed points regarding goals, behaviours, context and pain points)
The above diagram highlights the users emotions at various stages of the process. It is clear that sections requiring customer input are unsatisfactory.
It should say whether seat selection is mandatory or not.
The affinity diagram and user journey map led to the identification of clear primary pain points in the user airline booking journey:
Concerned I haven't booked what I think I've booked.
A detailed diagram was created to illustrate the primary user flow (and possible secondary paths) through the desktop booking process - from the moment they enter the website to the end point of the booking process when payment has been confirmed.
"Add Passengers" section of the desktop user flow diagram
The above section shows how how the user's path through the passenger section of the booking process. Multiple decisions were made when constructing the user flow diagram as to how best to direct the user through the booking process. For example, giving the user the choice of which add-ons they are interested in rather than including them all in the process, as shown in the diagram above.
Next Section to be Added: User Flow for Mobile App