Usability Evaluation and Site Redesign: Ironhack Challenge #3
Imagine the world reopens again and you can finally go see one of the Seven Wonders… Where would you go?
In this project, we have been asked to dream of a destination and start planning a trip. Our purpose here is to evaluate and redesign a traveling website or app, through Heuristic Evaluation and Usability testing.
Fasten your seat belts. Off we go to Machu Picchu!
In the variety of its charms and the power of its seduction, I know of no other place in the world that compares with it.
This was the comment of Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who rediscovered the citadel of Machu Picchu in 1911. And now, this Wonder of the Modern World is one of the most visited destinations in America.
Located on a mountaintop in the middle of a tropical forest, it is considered the tourist attraction par excellence in Peru. Declared a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site in 1983, it is probably the most incredible architectural construction of the Inca Empire. This citadel is made up of temples, palaces, terraces, monuments, complexes and walls; as well as water channels, built with large blocks of stone, without any amalgamation, proof of the great wisdom of the Inca civilization.
There are over 1.5 million Machu Picchu visitors per year! It means an average of around 2,500 per day.
Who is our User Type?
Our persona in this project will be a Worldtrotter, Backpacker (18–38 y/o)
who is already looking forward to their upcoming trip and for the opportunity to meet people, make acquaintances and enjoy the wonder together. They are looking for an adventurous, genuine experience.
Specifics of the destination
- Nearest airport: Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport is the nearest Airport, however most of the people travel from Lima to Cusco by train or bus. This way they can better acclimatize to altitude.
- Currency: Sol (Exchange rate: 1 EUR = 4,50 Sol).
- Medical needs/Visa: Recommended Travel Vaccinations for Peru are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Citizens of the European Union do not need a visa to enter Peru for tourism purposes.
- Wardrobe recommendations: The best advice for how to dress in Peru is to dress in layers. The mornings and evenings can be very cold, but it can get very hot in the afternoons so you need to be able to shed a layer or two as the day heats up. And a rain coat should never be missing!
- Days needed to visit attraction: 1 day for the regular tour or 2–5 days if you want to hike the Inca Trail.
Benchmarking & Testing
We were given a choice of different apps such as Kayak, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor and Hopper. Keeping in mind my audience and their goal, I have decided to work with Tripadvisor. My persona is looking forward to having great experiences and creating connections, therefore is this product the best choice.
I have then selected 3 users, who corresponded to the Persona’s profile, to conduct the usability test through an interview that would help me answering the following questions:
- Does the product do what users need? → UTILITY
- Does it work how users expect? → USABILITY
First, I showed them the Tripadvisor’s Homepage for 5 seconds, then I asked them those questions:
- What did you see?
All of them answered “Tripadvisor”.
- What can this tool do for you?
User 1: “Help me find good recommended locations to visit”.
User 2: “Planning a trip”.
User 3: “Give travel experience tips and general idea/information on destinations”.
- Where would you search for a tour?
All of them answered “Search bar”.
After this initial test, I gave them a task to complete, so that I could observe their behavior and their flow. Our user is price-cautious and prefers experiences where they have a chance to meet people and make acquaintances to enjoy the wonder together. They are not picky and they are looking for an adventurous, genuine experience.
I asked them to start looking for 2/3 tours to Machu Picchu (such as Inca Trail) to have an idea and get inspired for their big adventure.
The users started by typing “Machu Picchu” in the Search bar, even though there is a specific field with “Things to do” where I thought they would type something like “Inca trail tour”. But… as all UX Designers know well… “I’m not the user of the product. I’m creating and evaluating”.
They needed too many clicks to get to the landing page where all the offers are listed vertically. Too much information but no consistency, and all the 3 users were overall confused by the reason why, what looked like the same offer was shown in many different ways. The only thing that changed was the diverse layout and how the various tours were presented. The use of Group category was also not helpful as Architecture Tours and Historical Tours are showing basically the same things.
In the end, they were able to save some options in their trips, but a lot of time was wasted in understanding the website architecture before getting inspired.
I started designing a clearer Homepage. Considering that no users clicked on the top navigation, I have reduced it to the 3 essentials things a user might look for on Tripadvisor:
(Note: I don’t know Tripadvisor strategy and I am using my fantasy in this exercise! For this reason I also removed Google ads).
I have condensed the information on the second page “Explore Machu Picchu”, so that the user doesn’t get too confused and can get to see the offers at an earlier stage.
If the user will click on one of the options, for example“Experience”, they will be redirected to the landing page with all the offers, where they would be able to filter by price, dates and so on.
As users mentioned, they prefer the vertical view of all the offers. This gives them a better overview of all the options they might have.
You can also check the prototype here.
PS. I haven’t learned how to make the page scroll down. So you’ll have to click on it, sorry!
This project has been really challenging!
Note: Tripadvisor is running some A/B Testing at the moment, so the pages are changing all the time and it was hard to retrace the user flow. This proves that the website really needs some improvements.
The usability evaluation and the site redesign require a lot of time, iterations and testing. I would have liked to work also on the “Offer Page”, but all of them are different and, at this stage, I didn’t have the time to go through that as well.
Overall, Tripadvisor has a lot to offer, but this can become overwhelming and confuse the users. I think there is a lot to be improved and I wish I had more time to focus on each pain point and analyze them in depth.
I was only able to redesign the first pages until the listing. For this reason, I am not completely satisfied with the job I did, but it was really complicated and I tried my best!
Looking forward to learning more 🤩
Thank you for reading,