Challenge 3: Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign

This challenge is about a usability evaluation of three travel apps and to propose changes in form of a redesign in order to achieve a better user experience.

The case study starts with choosing one of the seven wonders of the new millennium. I choose the Colosseum in Rome as the city is even in times of COVID-19 usually reachable and actually because of COVID- 19 deserted and relaxed as never before (well, at least since the appearance of low-cost airlines).

Methodology

  1. User type

Young couple in their 30’s. They love traveling and decide to go to Rome to see the ancient city and especially the Colosseum. They want to make the most out of this trip, planning and organizing beforehand. Even if they’re young, they want to have special moments to celebrate being together.

2. Research

The closest airport to Colosseum is Rome Ciampino in only 15km distance. Rome has a second airport, Fuimicino, which is 30km far away. Both airports are reached in 30 minutes by car.

There is no money exchange, vaccination or visa requierred when traveling from another european country to Italy.

People visit the Colosseum for 1,5 hours in average (source: google) but as it is located in an exciting city full of history and excitement, why not make a weekend or even week long trip out of it?

3. Benchmark

Tasks: Conduct Usability Heuristics evaluation with Nielsen’s Principles. Compare the three travel apps for your user type/scenario.

Hopper:

You can book your whole trip (flight, hotel, Airbnb, car) directly with Hopper.

Gives a lot of information, e.g. how prices will develop till departure.

Extra services like freezing the price, free price drop guarantee, “Watch this trip”, travel insurance (lost flight connection, flexible traveling).

Skyscanner

It is easy and intuitive to compare flights or hotels in Skyscanner. You make your booking directly with the provider (e.g. airline, booking.com).

Kayak

Similar to Skyscanner the app compares flights, hotels, cars and holiday packages and then transfers you to the provider. Good COVID- 19 info and travel inspiration.

Result: I will choose Hopper as my user type is a frequent traveler which also has a full time job. It can be quiet time consuming to book your trip with different companies and then, in case of a cancellation due to COVID-19 (or other reasons) to request your refunds. Hopper offers everything in one app plus various optional services.

4. Testing

I started all three tests with the 5 second test. During this test the user gets to see the first screen of the app for 5 seconds. Afterwards they get asked: What can this app do for you?

One testee understood that it is a platform to book rooms and cars. Another one understood it was an app to book flights. Only one understood it was to book flights and rooms. Overall I think all of them got a good first impression of the app.

I asked my testees to book a flight to Rome and a hotel close to the Colosseum.

Results:

  1. My testees found it a bit distracting to click through all the additional services (such as insurrances and options to freeze or watch the price) before finalizing the flight booking. On the other hand they did not find the offers useless.
  2. To book a hotel close to the Colosseum is very easy as you can already insert the sight, place or street in the search console. Not all of my testees used that short cut but instead tipped in Rome and looked for the Colosseum on the map.
  3. One of my testees was asking if it is possible to travel to Rome at the moment. The answer was not given by the app.

5. Redesign

All my testees (including myself) found the app very intuitive. But let’s see if there is still room for improvement.

I wanted to redesign the flight booking process with less distraction but figured that these “distractions” are the business model of Hopper :) and to be honest, I find it very clear how to navigate through them.

Nearby Suggestions

So instead I concentrated on improving the Hotel Search. After the user tipped in the destination the map appears with suggestions of places where to look nearby (left screen original, right screen modification).

The COVID-Radar

I wanted to integrate a COVID -19 world map displayed on the first screen to inform about restrictions before starting booking process (left screen original, right screen modification).

Conclusion

It took me a while to finish this challenge. It started with difficulties in understanding what I have to do and there was this little resistance you feel when doing something you never did before and what does not naturally feels appealing to you (interviewing people e.g.). Also the way of presenting results is absolutely new to me (needed some time to get into the flow of writing).

But as I scrolled through my ironhack classmates’ and other ironhackers’ articles I got the idea and started the work.

Now I think I could have made more out of this challenge by immersing myself more into it. I understood that the interviews/tests are super important and actually very satisfying to take as they deliver the data you build your work/concept/(re-)design on.

UX / UI Designer