Travel Apps for Seniors: A Redesign

For Ironhack’s last challenge of prework, I had to conduct research to redesign a travel app. I had to choose the type of users and the specific app to study usability on, then use my findings to offer solutions.

The persona

The first step was to choose a user type. We had a bunch of user types to choose from and I chose the 60 to 80 year-old couple going on a trip to enjoy their retirement. The scenario was the following:

While designers are constantly trying to innovate and create unique, forward-looking experiences, there is a large user demographic that still has not grasped the basic digital conventions.

For example, in an attempt to create a minimal interface, designers are getting rid of “Home” in navigation bars. They find it redundant and argue that to most of their users (millennials), clicking on the logo to get to the homepage is intuitive, and usability tests confirm this. While this is an established digital convention for younger users, a study conducted by Blink, an American User Experience Design Agency, indicates that 80% of participants aged between 48 and 66 years old are unfamiliar with the practice of clicking on the company logo as a way to return to the homepage.

Plus, I have people around me who match this user type and who don’t understand very well what I’m doing as a UX Designer: including them in my research would help me understand better how they interact or interpret the digital language, sure, but it would help them understand what I’ve been studying through concrete exercises. Because even the best analogies still makes UX Design extremely abstract to them.

5 seconds test

I was able to interview 3 people. The 5 seconds tests were pretty straightforward: I showed a screenshot of the dashboard screen for five seconds and asked the participants the following questions:

  • What could you use this app for ?
  • What elements of the layout do you recall ?
  • If you wanted to book a flight/hotel room/car rental, do you remember where on the screen you would tap ?

Usability tests

Then came the usability tests.

  • The flights are automatically sorted by “Best”, try to show the results that would best suit your own criteria.
  • Find a flight that looks right and add it to your favorites.
  • Now, you want to find this flight again to show it to your partner. Where would you go to do that ?
  • You would like to look at the hotel options. Find a hotel to add to your favorites under the same trip.

Pain points

  • When adding a flight to the favorites, you have to add it to an existing category (called a trip) or you create a new one. The participants had to create a new trip and 2 out of 3 were confused about the sliding card that appears on top to offer to create Alerts. To activate alerts the app forces you to create an account or log in to an existing one. So, deciding to go back and not create an account will show you again the categories you could save your flight to, making the users feel like saving a flight isn’t possible when it’s actually just the Alerts option that requires an account.
  • 2 out of 3 participants did not recognise that when consulting your trips, you could directly add flights or hotel reservations by tapping on the plus icon. The users thought they had to go back to the dashboard and start a search there.

Solutions

  • So, once a search is launched, on this second screen I left the “About your flight search” section but reduced its text to 2 lines as the original section was too long to spark interest in the users. The link to learn more about it is there to offer extensive reading about the subject. This helped bring the results higher on the screen, letting the user know it’s time to scroll down to see more.
  • I also brought the Passenger, Sort and Filter options text from 24pt to 28pt as two users found it difficult to tap on it.
  • Once you tap on the heart icon to save a flight, the card slides up and you can choose with category you want to save it into. This is where I decided to integrate a toggle for alerts. So creating a new trip will automatically be Alerts-free, but if you are logged in or decide to create an account later the toggles are here to allow a quick editing if needed.
  • When you consult a saved flight or hotel booking in your saved trips, I decided to integrate two new buttons. One is for adding a new flight and the other is to add a new hotel booking. During my interviews I have noticed the participants have been very responsive to icons and seemed to find them easily recognisable. The plus sign icon did not resonate because they didn’t know what else or more was on the table. These icons are supposed to clarify the purpose and hopefully promote a more fluid navigation in saved bookings.

What I learned

This challenge was time consuming, that was big project for me. But I had fun going through its different stages.

UX Designer focused on creating meaningful & lasting bonds through technology. I want to design experiences that bring people together for real! she/her