Challenge 3: Usability and Site Redesign

Challenge 3 of the Ironhack pre course work was to jump in the shoes of a world traveler, choose a user type to interview and redesign a travel app based on my findings. For this assignment I chose an Elder couple who wants to see The Colosseum in Rome, Italy, one of the New Wonders of the World, now that they are retired. They have flexibility in their travel plans and their budget and don’t want to have to make too may decisions on their own.

My first step was to research the Colosseum and to determine the following:

Nearest airport: Rome Fiumicino which is 23 km away.

Currency exchange: Italy uses the Euro which is currently exchanging at $1.17. Travelers may purchase Euros in advance at their local bank or exchange them while abroad which may incur higher fees.

Medical needs: Currently Americans may travel for 90 days without a visa in Italy as long as they have a valid passport (pre Covid of course!) The CDC recommends having Hepatitis A, B, polio, rabies, meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella, TDAP, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza vaccines before traveling.

Wardrobe recommendations: Italy is a temperate country with 4 seasons similar to California. Depending on the time of year, layers and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Days needed to visit attraction: The Colosseum itself can be seen in a day although the city of Rome has many additional fascinating sites to be explored. As the flight is long and the time change is 6 hours ahead of the East Coast time zone, it is recommended to stay at least 10 days to get acclimated and enjoy what the country has to offer.

Once my research was established I downloaded 4 travel apps to my phone- TripAdivsor, Hopper, Skyscanner and Kayak. I set about creating a list of interview questions targeting an older user keeping in mind Nielsen’s Principles of Usability Heuristics. Essentially I applied a list of values to the apps to determine which one performed better for my user. We tested the apps and determined that TripAdvisor was the app most likely to help them book such an intensive trip. Based on our research, the other 3 apps did not have the capability to design a trip of this magnitude all in one easily defined space.

Since all of the apps had the same functions and capabilities of finding a flight, booking a hotel and renting a car I decided to focus on the “Trips” function of the TripAdvisor app. This tool allows the user to compile all aspects of their trip in one place. In order to access the trip the user had to create a profile (which was daunting to my user) so I created an Ironack mock trip so they could navigate through the various search options. The first issue we came across was that the Colosseum wasn’t a searchable destination popup. I decided to make that my landmark and create a flow from there. Next I created sub searches based on the type of trip we were trying to create. Once the location, date, hotel and flight were selected, I created a Special Services checkbox menu where specific needs could be selected and added to the trip. I also added an option to speak with an agent in case the user became too frustrated and needed to speak with a live person. I found this added a sense of security for the older user as they could always reach for back up if needed.

I wanted to create a clearly defined space where my user could easily see every detail of their trip based on the criteria given. Namely:

  1. Budget
  2. Housing
  3. Transportation
  4. Schedule
  5. Special Services

Next I quickly sketched out what I needed to add to the preexisting app to have it function better for a more mature user. I then created wireframes comparing the existing structure and my new design.

Once the destination is determined, the app shows the user the best hotel and flight options based on the location, which I upgraded from just being a basic, broad search option.
As the user selects their destination, flights, hotel and other desireables they begin to display on the app in an approachable and easy to read manner. I also created a Special Services drop down menu to include additional options for the user.

During this exercise I really honed in on how different users can be. I found that having a more mature traveler really changed the nature of my design. I also found it difficult to dictate all the thoughts I had from my brainstorming sketch to the wireframes and can see how some concepts may have been lost in translation.

Ux/Ui Designer in training