Annemijn Pikaar

Ironhack Pre-course Work, challenge 3 | Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign | Skyscanner app

Time for the 3rd challenge of Ironhack’s pre-work! This time, we had to do an evaluation and potential redesign for a travel app. In order to decide on which app to evaluate, I did a quick comparison — based on the 10 Nielsen Usability Heuristics — between Skyscanner, Kayak and Hopper. From there on, I decided to continue with the Skyscanner app.

User Type and Destination

Not unimportant, I had to decide what type of user and I’m designing for. The type of user I’ll do a usability and redesign check for, is as follows:

Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design

Young couple — 20–40 y/o (2 people)
You and your partner decide to go to a special place next summer. You realize you have both saved enough for the tickets and are planning to save as much as possible for the next 6 months to do this trip. You want to be efficient and have everything you need organized to enjoy at 100% while there. Even if you’re young, you want to have special moments to celebrate being together.

Trip destination
The destination I chose, is Lisbon. One of my personal favorite cities, and a really good location for a couple city trip. It’s really beautiful, there’s enough to see and to do and the vibe is amazing. It can get quite hot during the summer, though it’s always a good idea to pack in a jacket for when the sun goes down. Bonus points: it’s only a 3 hour flight, everything’s cheaper in Portugal ánd the currency is — just like in the Netherlands — the Euro.

Asking the users: what’s your experience?

I must keep in mind that even though I could be a potential user in this group, I’m not designing for myself. This is why I conducted 3 interviews with potential users of the Skyscanner app, all couples between 25–35 years old.

  1. At first, to go in blank: I asked them to just download the app and click around. A few of the comments I got:

“Why is there a start homescreen, you can’t do anything with it” / “There are so many options” / “I don’t know the difference between all the menu options” / “It feels too much and too less at the same time”

2. Then, I asked them to open the app again and book a return flight from Amsterdam to Lisbon in August. A few of the comments I got:

“I already have to know the exact dates” / “Why can’t I directly book it in the app?” / “You have to go back and forth and check for different dates if you want to compare prices” / “I can’t find a button to say I just want to select and buy this flight” / “Where can I add luggage?”

The main encountered problems

Although I got a lot of feedback during the interviews, I decided to continue with the main 3 problems — in different stages of the customer journey.

Stage 1 — Problem #1: The home page is too unclear. The users didn’t completely understand why all the options where there, and which one they actually needed in order to perform a certain action.

Stage 2 — Problem #2: It is not clear whether the app is loading or whether there are no results.

Stage 2 — Problem #3: There is no option in the app for easy comparison, which the users wanted to use to compare flight prices within a specific month.

Stage 3 — Problem #4: You cannot add luggage to your search request, so you don’t know the extra costs. This way, there’s no option to see your final price including luggage in the Skyscanner app.

Solving the problems!

Now, it was time to solve these issues. I started off with thinking about potential solutions to the problems, and with sketching some wireframes.

Writing random ideas by hand
Initial wireframing

Time for the real solutions. I decided on one main solution per problem, and tried to work them out in Sketch.

Problem #1: The home page is too unclear — where can I use this app for?

Solution to problem #1: Instead of having the 3 main goals of the app all under “Search”, I changed the home menu into the 3 main goals: book a flight, book a hotel, rent a car.

Problem and solution #2

Problem #2: It is not clear whether the app is loading or whether there are no results.

Solution to problem #2: Instead of just using skeletons, add a loading circle or bar to show that the page is being loaded, and how far it is in that process.

Problem and solution #3

Stage 2 — Problem #3: There is no option in the app for easy comparison, which the users wanted to use to compare flight prices within a specific month.

Solution to problem #3: The feedback was on the fact that you could not compare flights and therefore, could not see the final prices of those flights. I skipped the compare option, and directly went on the prices issue. When you add the feature to directly see the prices for your departure and corresponding return flight, there’s also the option to directly see the total price. If you click on a different date, the total price will also change. This way, you can already see the prices in the selection process.

Problem and solution #4

Problem #4: You cannot add luggage to your search request, so you don’t know the extra costs. This way, there’s no option to see your final price including luggage in the Skyscanner app.

Solution to problem #4: I added a “luggage” feature in the filters. This way, you can easily select whether you have hand luggage only or a 20 kg suitcase. You also directly see the prices for each flight.

Conclusion and learnings

This was the most challenging challenge (pun intended) so far! The combination of the user interviews, comparison of multiple apps in the beginning, seeing the problems and thinking of actual helpful solutions for those problems was quite hard sometimes.

And, I’ve read it already multiple times in all the learning documents of Ironhack, I think I’m almost ready to tattoo this quote to just keep reminding myself. Even though I am a potential user, I’m not designing for myself. Feel free to remind me anytime ;-)

Creative digital marketeer, in the running towards becoming an UX/UI professional.