Wanderlust

Lou RuizMa
8 min readJun 22, 2021

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Ironhack UX/UI Bootcamp Prework-Challenge 3: Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign.

Rome Coliseum by Zach Dyson (Unsplash)
Rome Coliseum by Zach Dyson (Unsplash)

Oh bella Italia!! Bella Roma!! Andiamo Ia!!

USER TYPE

This challenge puts us into the shoes of a world traveler. For this case I decided to choose a family with children user type. One of the seven wonders of the new millennium: the Colosseum, it could be a perfect plan for families with kids.

First of all, Italy is a country very close to Spain, with a similar climatology and traditions to ours. It is ideal to travel with kids, the flight lasts approximately two hours, it is a short journey, nobody wants to hear for hours… “Daddy, how much is left?”

Another advantage is that Rome is a city of UE, we don’t need a passport or visa, either currency exchange. Its gastronomy is good and tasty. There isn’t a better menu for kids than pizza, pasta and ice cream!! It seems an excellent plan for everybody.

Let the journey begin!!

Portico d’Ottavia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Gabriella Clare Marino

RESEARCH

Given that the travel is with children, the families should adapt it to their needs. For instance, the date of the trip should be in spring or autumn, avoiding the cold winter or hot summer. On the other hand, is better to book the hotel in center of the city, in this way we will reduce the journeys through the city. Other factors to consider:

  • Travel date: autumn of 2021.
  • Airport: International airport Leonardo Da Vinci, commonly know as International airport of Fiumicino.
  • Flight time: A flight from Barcelona (BCN) to Roma (FCO) 1h 50m.
  • Currency: Euro.
  • Medical needs: PCR or antigen test 48 hours before arrival.
  • Wardrobe recommendations: comfortable footwear.
  • Days needed to visit attraction: the Colosseum can be seen in 45 minutes, but it is recommendable to spend 4 or 5 days to visit other monuments like Palatino, Foro Romano, Fontana di Trevi...

BENCHMARKING

I selected for my user type Kayak, Skyscanner and Trip Advisor to compare them by the Usability Heuristics evaluation developed with Nielsen’s Principles.

Nielsen and Molich’s heuristics have helped me to decide that the better travel app for my users is KAYAK. As a result of evaluation, Kayak is the most complete travel app to reserve flights, restaurants and hotels, with a clear interface and useful advice to prepare the travel. However, let’s focus on the pain points.

Usability Heuristics evaluation with Nielsen’s Principles.

TESTING

To do the interviews I arranged to meet with 3 persons with the same profile. They are going on holiday with their families in a few months. Owing to the pandemia they are thinking of traveling to European city. I recommended them Rome, a charming city with one of seven wonders of the new millennium, the Coliseum!! and they are considering this option. Great for the challenge!! This brings up to the usability tests.

Test 1. Look and feel

The best way to know the usability of an app is testing with the users. I utilised a five second test, which consists of showing the app to the user for five seconds to know the impression that they have had about it. And later, we do the following questions (the answers are that one of the users interviewed):

Screenshot of Kayak

Do you know what app it is?

“No, a travel app but I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t see the logo”

What did you see?

“I saw the username and a destination”

What can this tool do for you?

“Planning a travel”

Where would you search for a flight?

“I wouldn’t know how to search a flight with what I have seen”

Test 2. Tasks

Continuing with the interviews to prove the usability of Kayak, I defined two tasks for one of the collaborating users to do:

  • Search for a flight to Rome.
  • Book an accommodation.

I asked for permission to record their screen when he did it. Let’s see it:

Thank users for their collaboration!!

The subject took 6–7 minutes to do each task. While he was using the app commented that he had some problems when he had to select the flight dates. He was confused and it was hard for him to choose the dates he wanted. He would like it to be easier, he lost too much time with this, he felt very confused.

INSIGHT

After performing the usability heuristics evaluation with Nielsen’s principles by my own experience using Kayak, and testing the app with the users, who had to do some task in situ, I found the next issues:

  • Recognition rather than recall. When you find something that you want to save, like a flight or accommodation, you can put it away in favourites (heart icon), automatically the app creates a folder with the name of the trip, but when you need to recover the search it is little bit confusing, it is hard to find it. This is because it is not located as in most apps, at the top right next to the user icon. The users have to learn how the app works. It is always better to maintain the common structures.
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use. In general, the new user or the user that it isn’t used to surfing by travel apps, they take a bit to find what they are looking for. Sometimes, they get lost.
  • Help users recognise, diagnose and recover from errors.
  • The main page would be missing the icon to search trains, by contrast in the web is available.
  • Observing the users I can see that they were confused when we had to select the dates of flight, if they had selected the day of going and back, and selected 1, 2 days more or less.
  • When you are looking for an accommodation you can order it by recommendation, price, distance… but you can’t press this icon and enter a range, for example, I would like to order the hotels according to a price, from 100 euros to 300 euros. However, we can establish a series of filters, but this button is at the bottom of the screen and it is hard to see.

It seems to me that the main paint points to improve are the following:

➤ Locate quickly the favourite icon.

➤ To have an icon search for trains.

➤ Get better at selecting dates on flights.

➤ Enhance the filter system.

It’s time to ideate solutions!!

REDESIGN WIREFRAMES

Once the results have been analysed and the main pain points detected, it is easier to redesign the app to try to make it better and more useful. Taking the previous issues into account, and focusing on them, I decided to do this changes:

Add the favourite icon next to the user icon. (Sketch 1)

Add the search for trains by an icon.(Sketch 1)

Relocate the filters button up to make it easier spot. (Sketch 2)

Add a movable date when you search for a flight. (Sketch 3)

Add buttons on filters to enter a search range. (Sketch 4)

Sketching (1, 2, 3 and 4)

Let’s see how the app would look with the modifications.

Wireframing

With point 1 and 2 I tried to make the app more useful. Normally, the favourite icon is next to the user icon, thus the user doesn’t have to learn the app, it is like others. Also I thought that it would be a good idea to insert the search train icon, because in the web version it is available.

After observing the users flow, I saw that they had problems when they had to select the date of the flight, with point 3 they can insert the date by calendar, and at the same time, scrolling the date like the option +/- 1 day (point 4).

We can encounter another difficult point while we are booking the accommodation. On the one hand, I would put the filter option just below the order options (point 6), because in the bottom of the screen goes unnoticed, it is hard to see. On the other hand, I would give the choice of inserting a range when you press the order button (point 7), this way, It will open a screen where you can put the range that you want.

Applying these measures, we are making the app more easier and more intuitive because it has icons like others. We will give more control to the user and we avoid possible mistakes.

CONCLUSION

This case study has been a real challenge to me. Firstly, I have chosen and studied the target audience of the case. What they want, what their needs are… I have to understand them perfectly, cause…

“I’m not the user of the product I’m creating and evaluating” (The Ironhack’s mantra).

Next, I researched the information associated with the case and the users, like the most convenient transport, weather of the destination, medical needs…

Once we have the audience, destination and their needs, it starts the most difficult part, compare three apps by usability heuristics evaluation with Nielsen’s principles to find the best app for our users.

When I had picked the app, then, it was time to interview our user type. This part has worked for me more interesting than I thought it would, as interviewing and testing the app with the users I have clearly seen which the pain points are.

Finally, I found and analysed the pain points of the app. The next step is to solve these issues redesigning it to get an app more useful and a better user experience. I like to say that it has been the part that I have enjoyed the most.

That’s my first case study, I hope you like it as much as I have enjoyed doing it. And remember…

“I’m not the user of the product I’m creating and evaluating” (The Ironhack’s mantra).

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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