IRONHACK’S PREWORK: CHALLENGE 3. USABILITY EVALUATION AND SITE REDESIGN
For this new challenge proposed in Ironhack’s prework, I have to choose a specific type of user and scenario to appraise different travel Apps and conduct Usability Heuristics evaluation with Nielsen’s Principles comparing three of these apps for my selected user type/scenario.
Once I’ve identified the one that performs better for your selected user type I’ll be performing usability testing to understand how it could get even better and alleviate pain points that a user may experience while traveling.
Young group (20–40 years old)
You and your friends have decided to invest and spend some quality time together. You are planning your trip one year in advance to really make it happen and accommodate everybody’s schedules and needs. You’d like to share as much time together and plan for a lot of fun. You’re interested in a mix of culture and leisure. You have all saved for the last year for the trip, so, while you’re still price-conscious this is the opportunity to spoil yourselves.
Destination. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
I have appointed Rio de Janeiro as I think it is one of the most beautiful and worth visiting places in the world. It has everything that a tourist can wish for: breathtaking views, interesting background, iconic beaches, rich culture, and fine cuisine.
The best time to visit Rio is between December and March, when the weather is warm and sunny enough to hit the beaches, but arrive in February to experience the Carnival.
- Nearest airport / most convenient airport to destination.
There are 2 airports that serve Rio; Rio de Janeiro–Galeao Airport(GIG) and Santos Dumont Airport(SDU). The airport closest to the city center is Santos Dumont Airport just 1.24 miles from the city. It is served by budget airlines, the airport is connected by a direct train service and the fastest journey time to the city center is 5 minutes.
- Currency exchange
The currency of Brazil is the Real (R$). Each real can be broken down into 100 centavos. The real comes in coin denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, and 1 real. Banknotes are available in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 50, and 100 Reals. 1 GBP = 7.7213 BRL
- Medical needs
A yellow fever vaccination is not required to enter Brazil but is highly recommended.
Malaria, Dengue, and Zika are present in Brazil. Be sure to take proper precautions to avoid these mosquito-borne diseases. Bring repellents netting and antimalarials, if needed.
Not required for tourist purposes in Brazil. Other types of visas are required. Passports must be valid for at least six months. Proof of yellow fever vaccination may be required if you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is present.
Immigration authorities may request proof of sufficient funds, return travel, or similar items upon entry.
- Days needed to visit attractions.
There’s enough to keep you entertained in Rio for as long as you care to stay. But if you’re lining up a whistle-stop tour, It’s possible to see Rio de Janeiro’s major attractions in just a couple of days.
Resources are abundant on Travel Apps and sorting through them can be a cumbersome task. To do so, I conducted a Heuristics Usability evaluation with Nielsen’s Principles and chose TripAdvisor from Sky Scanner or Hooper. Also, I took into account the nature of this case study, where you can find the most added value that TripAdvisor brings: Users can find and book hotels, flights, restaurants, and attractions, making it useful in planning multiple aspects of a vacation.
Moreover, now, users can create and share trips, which is very useful for group travel. Users who like accommodation or attraction, just need to tap the heart button on the right side then they can add it to their trips folder. The motion effect of this interaction is pretty nice; after users’ tapping, the heart will drop to the Trips icon at the bottom, which gives them the hint where they can find it.
Let’s take a look at the most curious TripAdvisor stats:
- 72% of consumers frequently or always consult reviews before deciding where to visit, eat or stay.
- TripAdvisor has over 702 million reviews of the world’s leading hotels.
- TripAdvisor lists over 7 million locations — restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions.
- As the biggest travel advisor online, TripAdvisor has 490 million monthly active users.
- 7,000 new contributions appear on TripAdvisor every hour.
To get a good idea of the pain points experienced by a variety of users in this app, I conducted a 5-second test and interviews with five users adjusted to the selected user type. This research method also helped me to eliminate bias and get an accurate picture of how users interact with this app.
Framing the objectives with a story, I asked users to find some of the top-rated activities around Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and include them in a trip previously created and shared with them.
Based on the user interviews, I can say that 5/5 were familiar with TripAdvisor, however only plays a small part of a travel planner’s usual research. That’s because most travel planners go to google and friends for their first stop for information.
Most of them also trust their friend’s recommendations much more than anything they read online, and they have a general distrust of online reviews.
Since the COVID-19 has influenced our everyday life and the way of traveling around the world, reports have also mentioned a proposal for the button that offers information regarding the matter, which seems useless and should offer updated information related to the destination we are planning for.
Although they all conceive that the app is brilliant and the feature to pick up and share places of interest for a certain trip is useful and easy to use, they mention that the interface is a bit confusing at first and it is not known if it is a web browser, a social network or everything at once. And it has been highlighted that the filter tool sometimes gets lost and could include an “age range” function and a map feature where easily locate the attractions.
The biggest pain points I found through my testing were usability issues in the filter tool and lack of essence when searching for COVID-19 information related, so taking the user needs into account, I settled on 3 major issues to resolve in my redesign.
- Continuous visibility of a new filter/map tab.
- Improving the usability of filters: Age range.
- Adding value to the “TRAVEL NOTICE: Learn more about COVID-19.
The filter tab is not visible when you open at first “Things to do” as we can see on the first screen, only showing the filter tab when clicking on “see all”. When logically, at that point, a filter with a map function will be useful. The map option will allow us to quickly locate each activity and filter them by distance. So the user can start an approach with the desired product. See the third screen with the filter/map tool already attached.
Also, it is noticeable as you can see on the first two screenshots that depending on if we have clicked on “see all” for “All shops and tickets” or if we click on “see all” for “Top attractions” filter options are different and this can confuse the user. Why only one of them includes a filter by budget? So let’s just simplify this by unifying them.
Finally, I have designed a more visual and functional screen than the original since it would customize the information related to the pandemic only for our trip both in origin and destination as well as an updated map that shows the most conflictive areas due to COVID-19.
Through this case study, I learned the value of the user experience design process and gained a comprehensive understanding of how user research plays a role in the decisions that designers make.
Indeed, designing a new feature into an existing site is not easy! It takes a lot of research to guide the prototypes, and sometimes even with a great idea it is difficult to apply without spoiling what already works.