This post was written for the Ironhack bootcamp / Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign Challenge 3.

Everyone around me is currently planning its summer holidays. Most of them will stay in France because of the Covid situation. But some friends that I know are interested in visiting Brazil as soon as possible.

Let’s fly to Rio de Janeiro, the Cidade Maravilhosa (the marvelous city!).

Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro (Photo by Alex Teixeira on Unsplash)

Brief : determine what’s the best travel app and run a usability test with your audience. Choose the main problem you want to solve and make a redesign proposition.

The user type for this challenge is a Family with children — 30–50 y/o.

They’re goal is to visit Rio de Janeiro.

Practical information:

The nearest airport is the Rio de Janeiro International Airport Galeao (GIG).

The currency is the Real (R$). ATMs widely available. Credit cards accepted in most midrange and top-end hotels and restaurants.

High season runs from December to March, when Rio is festive, pricey and hot. It’s also when big events like Reveillon and Carnaval take place. To beat the crowds and higher prices, visit from May to September.

There are plenty of activities to keep kids amused in Rio: sandy fun on the beach; bike rides around Lagoa; aerial cable-car rides; boat trips and rainforest walks; and plenty of great treats — fresh juices, ice creams and pastries — along the way.

Good to know :

  • Admission at most sights, kids under 13 years pay half-price; those under five or six typically get in for free.
  • Brazilians are very family-oriented; you’ll be welcomed with open arms at most restaurants. High chairs are readily available.
  • Accommodations Many hotels let children stay for free, although the age limit varies.
  • Warning : You should take steps to avoid mosquito bites. Risk of Zika virus transmission and chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue are present.

Dress with a casual feel, think jeans, shorts and t-shirts or tunics. And avoid carrying your passport and too much money in your wallet.

The app we are going to use for the usability test is Skyscanner.

I had the choice between, Hopper, Kayak and Skyscanner. At this time, it is still too early to travel as before the pandemic. Precautions and measures are needed on the way there and back. The Hopper app seems to be out of touch with this reality. Their proposal is to help you find a trip and possibly save money by offering discounts and deals. Pricing seems to be the main promise of the app. This application doesn’t seem to be adapted to my target, namely families with children.

I assumed that for the families I will be interviewing, security (health in particular) is an important issue especially with the pandemic and the various types of viruses in circulation.

I did the 5 second-test of the Skyscanner app and its two competitors with 3 users.

The questions I asked were :

  1. What kind of service / product is this app offering ?

2. Can you buy something with this app? If yes, what can you buy?

3. What do you think about the design?

It apperead that the value proposition of Skyscanner is not clear. Users understood that they can book flights on Kayak and Hopper. When looking at the landing page of Skyscanner, 2 users out of 3 understood that it is a informational app for the Covid pandemic. Regarding the Hopper design, they were intrigued by the Hopper carrot.

Navigation on Skyscanner

When interviewing users, I asked them to book a flight from Paris to Rio de Janeiro international airport for a vacation period from July 1st until July 31st.

As the cost of a long-distance flight can be a big issue for families, I asked them to book the chepeast flight they can find within the chosen period. So they assumed that they have flexibility regarding the duration of the time spent in Brazil.

Insights

Users are a little bit desoriented when they get to the home page as the first thing they see is a COVID map.

“Maybe I should check if we can travel to Brazil first” is one of the reactions. Other users keep in mind their main mission “book a flight” and try to get out of the landing page.

I also noticed that they hesitated between the search icon and the suitcase icon, not knowing the difference between the two.

When trying to book the cheapest flight they were happy to see the cost of the flight for each date. But the problem they faced is that you can’t change your dates easily.

My first proposition for this challenge is to review the navigation. The landing page app should be a second level page and the Search page becomes the landing page (see below).

I also added the Covid information in the new landing page. And also added the possibility to add “your next trip”.

Lo-fi wireframing proposition for the landing page

My second proposition is the review the date picking system.

For that, I decided to write a user story. In my opinion the current design can be kept but it is the behavior of the functionality that must be reviewed.

User Story:

“As a user I want to easily change the trip dates before validating them in order to choose the dates and prices that suit me the best”.

Acceptance criteria :

  • When I choose a date in the calendar I can see the prices available for each date.
  • The calendar displays the flight prices with different colors. The cheapest prices are displayed in green. The other prices are displayed in gray.
  • When I click on the go field I can change my date directly in the calendar. In this case, the outbound field is automatically updated with the new date.
  • When I click on the back field, I can also change my date directly in the calendar. In this case, the return field is automatically updated with the new date.”

Conclusion :

During this challenge, I understood better how important it is to question the users in order to test the functionalities that we have imagined. I was happy to discover new methods. There are always surprising and unexpected behaviors that can be very instructive. On the other hand, it takes a lot of time to prepare and set up. Sometimes, in projects, not enough time is spent on the discovery phase. When I had to do it, I went through specialized agencies.

Product Owner and UX/UI designer apprentice.