Mobile app for Frequent Flyers
UX design & Testing . Research & Strategy
Shachi Kaul (UX)
Daryl Lee (UI)
With growing connectivity and falling return fares, the demand for frequent air travel has grown exponentially.
This is the story about my in-depth research on Frequent Flyers which helped me identify a business opportunity and how I came up with a UX solution to address it.
I lead the UX work from project management to client interactions and producing all the major deliverables for Voyager. I was responsible for the experience strategy of the design solutions. I partnered with Daryl to uncover insights and translate them into features that address customer needs and motivations. I created frameworks and prototypes to share the vision of the design concepts.
DESIGN SOLUTION IN 2 WEEKS
In a limited period of time, our team was required to undertake research on Frequent Flyers, understand their motivations, behaviour patterns and frustrations they face while travelling. We were also required to identify a business opportunity and come up with a solution to address it in the form of a mobile app.
While doing our research and usability testing we realised that getting across frequent flyers to interview them or take surveys would be a task as they are hard to identify and usually short on time.
Since the project was more research focused, for design and development, I opted for a lean approach which emphasised rapid sketching, prototyping, user feedback and design mockups.
Flying is a very individualistic, hence I decided to straight away focus on understanding our user’s behaviour and attitude towards flying frequently. While deep-rooted in research, I realised that flying as an experience is very service focused, hence I decided to not limit our selves by a digital solution, but see it with respect to the whole experience.
The discovery phase was a high‐intensity effort that allowed me to define our project plan, understand our client's vision, look into our competitors, and begin research into frequent flyers needs, behaviours and pain‐points.
Flying and travelling being very individualistic, it was imperative that we dive deep into understanding our users ‘Why’. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the easiest for us to get through frequent flyers as they are usually short on time. Yet, I managed to conduct 18 interviews with people around the world. It was evident from my first few interviews that there is a clear difference in the way old and young frequent flyers travel.
Clear difference in the way old and young frequent flyers travel
"It is painful to stand in long queues at the airport"
"It is frustrating to not get
timely info about flight delays"
"I like to stick to airlines with
good customer service"
"As a CEO I can't afford to waste unnecessary time travelling"
At the right time, my partner, Daryl decided to go to Sydney airport and observe travellers' behaviour patterns.
Following observations were made at the airport :
- Flyers have long waiting times in between activities involved in the checking & boarding processes.
- Flyers mostly use mobile phones to kill/optimise time while waiting in queues.
- Flyers like to browse shops and use entertainment services after crossing security.
To back our research with numbers I looked at surveys undertaken by Forbes and SITA in 2015 to gauge what people were saying. This also helped me get concrete results with respect to users' motivations and pains towards flying.
Forbes Survey-2015 by Oliver Wynman- 460 global travellers
Air travel irritants for global frequent travellers
Sita Survey 2015 -1140 travellers across USA
Passenger profiles in USA
Passenger demand for new services at
Airport in USA
These varied research techniques helped to quickly gain insights into the needs of our users and gave me a concrete understanding of the environment and workflows. The research revealed the following key insights:
KEY INSIGHTS FROM USER RESEARCH
Flyers aim for
Use of tech
for travel efficiency
long waiting times
Lack of info
during flight delays
Once I was confident about our collected data and insights, Darly and I wanted to understand the competitor landscape and the current market approach towards frequent flyers. We looked at 3 major competitors:
Focus on booking & planning
Gives you the best rates
Doesn't give status info
Doesn't suggest alternate plans
Focus on planning trips
Gives status information
Organises trips well
No focus on airport facility
Doesn't suggest alternate plans
Focus on managing holidays
Well designed interface
No alternate suggestions
Doesn't give status info
After clear understanding of our users, I was able to prioritise who we would be focusing on as our primary and secondary persona. Our persona hypothesis consisted of 2 different archetypes, Tom who is business flyer and George who travels for leisure. We used these personas throughout our project to guide design decisions and facilitate discussions about our users varying contexts of use. Key variables differentiating the personas were their age and motivations. Knowing who exactly we were designing for made me think how the app fits into the lives of the users. Building scenarios for our user allowed me to form the basis of our requirements for the app as well as form tasks for the usability tests further on.
We used journey maps to visualise and communicate the users end‐to‐end experience across various touch‐points with the scheme. This allowed us to represent user pain‐points and see where we needed to focus our attention.
Our client, Gadrags Academy, has a problem with frequent flyers facing a large amount of time wastage during their travel due to unforeseen delays, long waiting times, and lack of timely information.
Our idea to address this problem is to provide a mobile and service design experience to help frequent flyers prevent wastage of time during their travel by helping them reach their destination quickly and enabling them with maximum time optimisation. The purpose is to create a solution that is intuitive enough to prepare or warn flyers in advance, or give alternate solutions to complete their travel smoothly.
The main groups of people who will benefit from our solution are frequent flyers who travel for business for leisure.
The primary business goal our solution addresses is to increase satisfaction of those who fly frequently and to establish Voyage (by GA) as a partner through the entire flying experience.
The primary user goal our solution supports is efficient travelling with less time wastage.
Once I was clear about our business and user goals, I drafted the features we wanted to have in the hybrid mobile app. These were used to make design decisions and articulate core values that the app and service experience should uphold for both the users and the business.
Provide current status information
Provide visual cues for alerts
Educate users on how the product works
Do price comparisons
Enable max time
It won't be a holiday guide
WIRE-FRAMING AND USABILITY TESTING
After identifying the main 'plot‐points' in our scenarios, I started sketching and designing the primary pathways our personas would explore through the app. I did a quick prototype using Invison and conducted the first Usability Testing with 5 participants. I gave our users a scenario and asked them to complete the task of booking an alternate flight.
SETTING THE DESIGN DIRECTION
It was important that the content and functionality is positioned correctly based on user needs, hence I took the following steps to set the design direction:
Make sure that the app is extremely intuitive and is able to provide timely information to the users.
Use real time data to guide and warn users beforehand
Provide alternatives at every step of the journey to help the user avoid wastage of time
Ensure that the distressed users find the app extremely simple to use
Guide the users before, during and post the journey.
Early sketches exploring our primary persona's scenario during which he faces a flight delay and has no information about it from the airline staff.
1. Global Navigation is confusing and consists of mystery meats
In our design iteration-2, I reduced the booking of alternate flight to two steps and removed the connectivity feature. I added more details to the app for an efficient experience after our first round of user testing.
I wanted our solutions to help flyers prevent time wastage as well help them with time optimisation during their travel. Giving flyers timely updates, predictive information and providing ways to cut-short their time at the airport proved useful. Iteration 3 was the refined and final version of our wireframe.
Scenario - Tom before leaving for the airport
Timely information &
Info to avoid long
Timely information &
VIEW THE PROTOTYPE
I did our final prototyping with Invision. The prototype focuses on Tom Abbot's (primary persona) scenario.
Tom is flying from Sydney to Delhi to conduct a very important meeting which he cannot afford to miss. While at the airport gate, he gets to know that his flight is delayed by several hours. Upon asking, he gets vague answers from the airline staff about his flight’s schedule. He opens Voyager to track his delayed flight and get alternate options to fly out asap.
NOTE : This is a wireframe prototype. UI has not been implemented in this version.