The travel and hospitality industry has always been a very profitable market for businesses and a competitive one too. With the rise of brands such as Travel republic, Agoda and many others. Each one fighting for their own chunk of the market share. So in order to stay competitive, Expedia group had to revisit certain areas where its brand were struggling. Hotel.com, is one of its biggests, but had a dated ecommerce solution which was based on adaptive websites rather than responsive. With more users booking using mobiles than desktops it became a top priority for the business to address new challenges faced on the mobile platform and to produce a solution that ensured optimum user experience and sales performance.
As mentioned earlier, we worked hand-in-hand with the research and analysis team and had a lot of data to pull information from. This was based on earlier user and stakeholder interviews, web analytics, competitor reviews, field studies and usability tests performed. Over a period of time, this gave us invaluable insight and a good understand our user base and the common problems faced with the older system.
We were able to select specific user types based on demographics and produce personas with which to focus our study, We listed out user pain points and gains from the landing page to the checkout. We had brainstorming sessions where we produced JTBD drafts and explored the journey paths and steps to completing bookings. Also the journeys for our affiliates registering a vacation property. We looked at how best to optimize the layout of our search results page and hoel details page for mobile. We also looked at organic traffic and bounce rates. We worked with internal stakeholders from business strategists to sales, to ensure business requirements as well as compliance were met.
In order to confirm specific hypothesis (when we could not agree on something) we often had to arrange for quick usability tests using the old site.
We produce process maps and task analysis diagrams. in addition, we produced user journey flows which helped to break down and understand where users came from onto our landing pages what influenced them in the shopping pages from the product details page and onto the checkout and where and how we can drive ensure continuity to checkout and the booking form.
Upon testing and establishing a structure that potentially will ensured a more user friendly solution, We progressed to put it to paper. In design workshops where we produced numerous ideas. This was closely followed by low fidelity wireframes. Our designs were heavily influenced by the hotels.com brand and tried-and-tested ideaologies from within the travel industry. We had an approach focused on simplicity. Upon gaining a general concensus from the team and senior stakeholders who were kept in the loop through-out, as we had presentations and shared our sketch designs using sketch cloud and recieved comments.
We often had to take a few steps back and scrap some ideas examples are hotel image gallery design. While needing to comply with standards and regulation, we also needed to ensure user obectives were simple to complete. We had dilemmas like enabling users to slide through images within the search results page - SRP (which lists the various hotels results from a search) or simp,y placing an image in the SRP and providing the gallery withing the product details page (which the user gets to when they click a search result). Such situations had us returning to the usability labs to perform further tests. We eventually progressed to High fidelity prototypes and unto clickable prototypes with which more indept usability tests were performed. This phase was just before we acquired final design sign-off, after which the development team commenced there work.