Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign — Skyscanner

Clara Solozábal
5 min readJan 2, 2021

Ironhack’s Prework — Challenge 3

Today I present you a challenge where I’ll be performing usability testing and redesigning a travel app to understand how it could get even better and help people travel the world.

Ironhack reminds us too keep in mind and repeat the following mantra:

“I’m not the user of the product I’m creating and evaluating”

First of all, I have to choose the type of user to work with. I have based on the people around me — family and friends — to choose it so I would be easy conducting interviews and testing with them. They are all young couples and do most of their traveling together.

So…

Type user: Young couple — 20-40 y/o

A couple decides to save enough money for the next 6 months to do a trip to Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel located in Peru next summer. They want to be efficient and have everything they need to be organized to enjoy at 100% while there. Even if you’re young, you want to have special moments to celebrate being together.

Research about the destination

  • The most convenient airport is the one located in the city of Cusco, the international airport Alejandro Velasco Astete (IATA: CUZ). There are flights from Barcelona’s El Prat airport, with stops in Amsterdam and Lima.
  • The currency of Peru is El Sol, also called Nuevo Sol — sign S/; code PEN — Our travelers will have to change from euros to soles.
  • For medical needs when traveling to Peru, Yellow fever vaccination is required. Hepatitis A, typhoid, and rabies vaccinations are recommended (Travel State Gov and World Health Organization). To enter the country the traveler must have a six months validity passport, a Visa is not required (it will be issued at the port of entry)
  • According to several travel blogs, the best time to visit Peru is during the dry season between May and October, so you should pack — especially for when you go hiking — a daypack to carry your daily essentials, a pair of hiking boots, a waterproof jacket, comfortable pants and leggings, tank tops or tees, fleece or hoodie, bathing suit, some dresses… (information collected from www.travelfashiongirl.com)
  • Some expert travelers recommend visiting Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley in 4 days, but the more the merrier. Also, they recommend staying up to two weeks to visit other parts of Peru.

Now I have to define the app I will work on using Heuristic Evaluation.

The applications selected to carry out the benchmark are Kayak, Skyscanner, Trip Advisor. Many times I have used Trip Advisor and I liked it but I have decided to work with Skyscanner since is the most known of my target audience.

Time to test…

After the benchmark, the time of testing arrived. I decided to interview 4 persons — 23 y/o, 28 y/o, 35 y/o, 36 y/o — and after talking to them I did the ‘’5 seconds test’’. This test gives the user 5 seconds to take a look at the home screen of Skyscanner, at the beginning they didn’t know the metasearch app was Skyscanner.

After that, they have to cover the screen and they are asked some questions:

What did you see?

What can this tool do for you?

Where would you search for a flight?

On the main screen there are 3 icons: flight search, hotel and car rental.

So everyone immediately recognized what kind of application it was and how to start using it. This shows that the design of this screen is obvious.

The next step was to design a task for them in Skyscanner: look for a flight from Barcelona to Cusco in summer 2022 and choose the one that best fits the estimated budget.

When they finished the task I had to summarize the findings and results of the test.

I listened carefully to every person interviewed so they could tell me details about the main pain points and issues in the app:

  • Lack of information. At no time did they know which application they were using as the name of Skyscanner does not appear on any of the screens they used.
  • Unnoticed elements. On the main screen, apart from the search icons mentioned above, there is an information section on the situation of Covid-19, they offer a live map where you can navigate and check travel entry restrictions and quarantine requirements. This really is very valuable and useful but it takes up practically the whole main screen and the rest of the elements are unnoticed.
  • No “Flight + hotel” option. There is no flight + hotel function, everybody knows this utility and 3 of 5 of the interviewees have asked about it
  • The explore screen. Skyscanner gives a lot of protagonism to this function and it really doesn’t seem to be very useful. The interviewees have not needed to use it at any time.

Main problems I chose to solve

The most important issue I see is the necessity to redesign the main screen:

Then, I have redesign the Explore screen:

And the last, the trips screen:

Now, you can see an interactive prototype:

This challenge has been rough and extensive. And at some point, I have felt lost. I had to read the information and instructions provided several times to know how to continue, despite this it has been very satisfactory, above all I have learned that redesigning an application is not just something visual!

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