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UX Fly App

6 month project to design a better experience of the airline booking process.

The aim was to identify intuitive designs and also the barriers (if any) booking a flight via mobile. Collecting data from online surveys, user flows, user tests, contextual inquiry to create wireframes and a tangible prototype using applied findings. All in all, improving the users trust and retention in said brand. Thus, enhancing the customer experience (CX).

Main Goal

Design an aesthetically pleasing and user friendly, airline mobile app

My Role

Sole Researcher & UX Designer

Time Frame

6 months in tandem with structured course modules

The Problem

To reiterate, the goal of the project was to identify the problemata of airline booking apps and better design the solutions to be as friction free as possible.

A majority of users opt to research & book their flights on desktop instead of mobile. There’s a lack of confidence and ease of use in the mobile booking process. Different devices encourage different thinking. Inevitably users fall back to their trusty big screen as it’s believed to have more information than mobile

There needs to be more thought put into mobile apps as it is the simplified version in comparison to desktop websites. We justify this by using information architecture techniques separating use case and edge case scenarios.

We need to encourage less premeditation of what we think might be easier and try what’s firstly more accessible, this being what fits in your pocket. To validate these assumptions one must conduct research based off facts.


How can we optimise the mobile booking process to ensue confidence and perceived ease of use for the customer?

Some questions that will be addressed through the process:

  • What pain points are users encountering while booking flights on mobile?
  • Are there any issues that may deter conversions/revenue?
  • Miscommunication or delay in information resulting in additional fees etc?
  • Over complicated process for adding bags or oversized luggage?
  • How do users go about modifying their flight details?
The Process

 

I followed IDEO’s Human-Centered Design and the
Lean UX Design Thinking process.


I chose the following research methods as I felt this process was the best way to accumulate quantitative & qualitative data on users and competitors in the airline industry. This in turn would inform my design with a research & evidence based solution with no ambiguity.

design_icons

 

Firstly, we must consider the mental models of booking a flight via mobile app:

Browsing mode (window shopping), flight search and selection, possible onboarding styles, registration, payment, privacy and security, microtasks etc.

THE PROCESS
1. Research

For the research phase of the project I used the following methods: Usability Tests, Depth Interviews, Online Survey & Benchmarking.

Usability Tests

I conducted 3 Usability Tests which consisted of an interview and the completion of tasks on 2 Airline apps.

I used Reflector Student & Teacher to mirror the apps onto a laptop screen and then used Zoom to record the session.

Usability testing was the perfect tool to utilise while conducting comparison tests as it allowed me to probe real users on real airline apps. This approach could tell me a lot about how the user flows through the journey, what pain points they hit, what they would like to see improved and also of course, highlight any positive aspects I could take across to my design.

I set 2 tasks to be completed on 2 airline apps for the test itself. This would allow me to make an accurate comparison between the apps.

 

 

 

 

TASKS

  • Book a weekend holiday for 2 adults & an infant, changing the flight day at the end.
  • Measure the customer journey satisfaction throughout.

An overview after testing out both mobile apps.

Snippet from Usability Test 2- Ryanair Mobile App

  • "It looks like something is missing, like a suggestion box"

    Aimee Carron
    Usability Test 2

Too much white space on a mobile app doesn’t comply with the same rules a website does. 

  • "I just assumed these were available because it's greyed out"

    Rachel Griffith
    Usability Test 1

The user misinterpreted the date selection of the past and assumed the change of colour represents the availability of flights. Rachel books flights very frequently pre-covid times but has never used Aer Lingus app before to actually book a flight.

  • "I am part of that immediate culture, if it doesn't work first time I'm onto the next"

    Rachel Griffith
    Usability Test 1
Snippet from Usability Test 3- Ryanair Mobile App

  • "Number of people are not obvious. Symbols don’t mean anything to me"

    Phil Ducie
    Usability Test 3

Confusion with the number of people selected shows the text is too small for this user.

 

It validated my assumptions that there was a preference towards using their computer to make an airline booking as they felt they would be less inclined to make mistakes.

Survey

I sent out 1 Survey that was completed by over 50 people. I used Survey Monkey for the form which consisted of 10 questions. To get the maximum response, it was important to clearly communicate the message that there were just 10 questions and it would only take 3 mins. I used a mixture of open ended and closed questions. I found it very important to give an option at the end to add other comments as I could have easily left something out. By gathering this feedback I was able to easily make sense of the next steps before jumping ahead.

My findings were as follows:

Q1.

When was the last time you visited an airline app or website?”

  • The average last booking date was 6 months ago, covid has impacted the standard results. I think this could have been easily misinterpreted between search vs booking. For instance, a refund request or to check availability.

Q2.

“Which airline app(s) or website(s) did you visit?”

  • I was surprised to see 2 people use google flights. Ryanair was by far the most popular with mainly Irish users surveyed.

Q3.

“What tasks were you trying to complete?”

  • Majority voted, the results are in and it was indeed booking a flight and then secondly with searching (window shopping to check availability). Other options were getting a refund.

Q4.

“What was the most important to you?”

  • In order of results: Price, Destination, Trust. This shows 15% would be willing to sacrifice airport destination in exchange for brand trust. The results also surprised my initial thought.

Q5.

“What device(s) did you use?”

  • Android phone was the most popular device. Mobile devices account for more than 73% of users.

Q6.

“How many times did you visit the website or app to complete the task?”

  • 2-5 times was the most popular customer journey frequency.

Q7.

“How would you rate your experience?”

  • The results surprised me because only 1 vote was very satisfied. It shows UX Designer’s have a promising future ahead!

Q8.

“When booking flights what do you find easier to use/navigate?”

  • It was believed to be easier to navigate with the direct airline rather than aggregator apps. Again this surprised me initially.

Q9.

“Did you achieve your goal?”

  • 17% of participants did not complete their goal.
  • The ways to better communicate would have been price alerts, see extras earlier in the process, suggestions, quicker time to book (avoid mandatory log in).
Competitive Benchmarking

During the Competitive Benchmarking phase I reviewed two mobile airline apps and benchmarked them so that I could emulate them in the right places and avoid the pitfalls I discovered in their booking process.

The main objectives:

  • Learn how best-in-class apps solve the same problem
  • Understand the conventions we should follow
  • Highlight best practices
Starting to make sense now...

Collecting all of my research together, an affinity diagram was born. Due to covid my team remotely connected through a Miro session. The Affinity Diagram was the only part of this project working in a team.

Affinity Diagram
What are the memorable experiences and the painpoints?

It’s important to highlight the positive as well as the negative aspects to a customer journey as each is unique.

NAVIGATION
2. Designing the problem

In solution mode, we solve the problem. Addressing the issues identified in the research and analysis phase. Looking back on the best practises of benchmarking, affinity diagram and customer journey map analysis. In my opinion, this is the most important phase as it reduces the risks of failure later on in the process. Prototyping itself is a preliminary development of a solution, simulating an experience and iterating until finally content with a version.

Interactive Prototype

Annotated Wireframes

Click to see digital mockups, low-fidelity to hi-fi

Want to see more?