To find out what issues users currently encounter on the site, we conducted a heuristic evaluation to identify areas of focus. Here's what we found:
- Too much information on every page
- Repetitive navigation
- Cluttered layout
To gain insight for our contextual inquiry, we did some market research on the TripAdvisor brand.
To understand the consumer's existing behavior when planning a trip, we sent out a survey to about 100 TripAdvisor users. The following trends emerged from the survey:
Comparative & Competitive Analysis
Once we got a sense of our user's needs, we moved onto competitive analysis with a keen focus on whats working and whats not.
- All competitors were known worldwide but not all of them notified users about friend’s reviews
- Other than Yelp, most sites didn’t allow for users to upload their photos/videos.
After all the research done, we were ready to create a user persona.
- Most users are in the age range of 25-35
- Mostly used the site for international travel versus domestic
- Users usually travel for vacation and like to find all the personal reviews and tips possible before booking a vacation
Once we completed the user persona, we took the next steps to understand the user's feelings when booking a hotel through the website.
We found it interesting that users spend a lot of time researching but don't find that frustrating. They hate that they can't find the information easily; they feel overwhelmed with all the advice on the web.
Our team facilitated a cart-sorting activity with 10 TripAdvisor users from which a site map was created.
Outcome: After the card-sorting exercise, we created a site map that removed a lot of repetitive links that made the site confusing for users.
Scenario: Will is a 29 year old tech professional who loves ethnic food and photography.
He just got some time off from work and wants to plan a trip abroad. He is looking for a quick and efficient way to book a hotel that is within his budget.
Testing our designs through each iteration with random users, we came to the conclusion that visitors like experiencing personal customer service as well as customized travel experiences so we created "Ollie the Owl" to help assist travelers with their bookings through a chat option and preferences page. We knew that the chat feature would be a simple modal that would first appear when logged into the site.
To display the chat functionality we prototyped the final designs and walked users through the flow of selecting a hotel that catered to their preferences. We felt that this design was less distracting and more aesthetically pleasing.
After presenting the prototype to the class, we received compliments on the design and research. Suggestions were made that we could have sticked with our original concept of the on-the-go experience by creating a smartwatch feature but the team and I felt that it was more important to tackle the complexity of the main site.