Redesigning WeTravel's Trip Booking Process
looking for your next unique Travel experiencE?
WeTravel is a web tool that makes it easy to organize, share and manage group trips. Invite friends or colleagues to explore together, or hop onto a trip curated by a completely new face you find in the WeTravel community.
I led the design team around UI challenges, spearheading the 5-week contract's final insights and iterations to deliver a redesigned, responsive experience for WeTravel's booking process as they expand their market. The big question:
How can WeTravel help people feel comfortable booking trips with strangers?
To find a viable solution, we conducted
5 usability tests
with a total of 20 users
within 5 weeks.
Increasing investment and engagement
By developing a thorough understanding of company values and balancing them with user needs, we conducted an intensive user testing and experience redesign process to result in measured increases in:
- Comprehension of trip details.
- Confidence in booking.
- Trust in the site.
- Effectiveness of upselling.
- User engagement.
My Role: Lead UI Designer
I led improvements around the User Interface, working closely with Research and UX to create a cohesive experience that makes users feel comfortable, and expresses WeTravel's core purpose to inspire adventure and community. Much of this involved:
- Rapidly prototyping on insights from usability tests.
- Aligning new components to the existing visual language.
- Guiding overarching Visual Design and Branding.
- Mocking up and integrating final UI decisions for high-fidelity trip details page and booking flow.
Part One: Getting People to Book
Part Two: The Booking Funnel, and Why Friction Can Be a Good Thing
Alright. So how did we get here?
Glad you asked. (Behold, Our process)
Understanding the Problem
HOW DO PEOPLE GENERALLY BOOK TRIPS?
At the beginning, we had three groups of three travelers sort cards in hopes that the exercise would give us an idea of common mental models and task flows for booking a trip. Although we didn't get any conclusive data-driven results, it was an insightful step in our process and was a great way to kickstart our understanding of the way travelers think.
CONDUCTING INITIAL USABILITY TESTS
What kind of traveler books trips on WeTravel? The company's original target market was people who know each other: yoga teachers organizing wellness retreats, or MBA students traveling together to recharge during breaks from their program.
To create an experience that would engage these core customers while also expanding into a tool for travelers around the world, we decided to test the original product on 5 avid travelers with experience participating in group trips- honing in on their unique motivations and aspirations.
Zack, Jane, Alex, Kent and Jonie had much to say about their experience with the site. To find out what direction to take the design, we gathered their comments into common themes.
"Will it immediately book, or do I get to review the booking first?
"I'm not sure if it's actually happening... it's vague."
"Who am I going with?"
Research revealed there was room for improvement in WeTravel's overall clarity, confidence, and flow.
4 OUT OF 5 USERS COULD NOT FIND WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR.
4 OUT OF 5 USERS STRUGGLED WITH THE BOOKING PROCESS.
5 OUT OF 5 USERS DID NOT FEEL TRUST IN THE SITE.
4 out of 5 USers wanted more information about trip organizer and attendees.
Solving the Problem
Selling the Trip
Throughout testing, we iterated mid-fidelity solutions for the Trip Details page, where potential travelers make their decision to start the booking process.
We experimented with a variety of ways to lay out the most important logistical information at the forefront: price, dates of travel, location, inclusions, itinerary, and of course, prominent calls to action ("Join Trip" and "Add to Favorites" buttons). But what if everything was important? How do we decide? We went through a lot of work and testing to build the flow in a way that would increase user investment in the trip, rather than have it feel like just another transaction.
One big challenge included how to display more information on attendees, and especially how to produce clarity on the organizer of the trip. At first glance, however, attending to this need would not directly address the business goal: to quickly guide users through the booking funnel.
But in terms of investing users in the process, they were valid concerns.
HOW DO WE BALANCE THE NEEDS OF THE FUNNEL WITH THE NEEDS OF USERS?
We iterated on a multi-page booking flow, as opposed to the original one-pager. This included a robust confirmation page to promote excitement. The original flow, which optimized for speed, may have been a great solution in the past for accommodating trip-goers who know each other (e.g. students or families in need of a trip organization tool), but is not the best solution for WeTravel now as they expand their market into traveling strangers who need to receive feedback in the design that this is a big, impactful and meaningful transaction.
Grasping an Identity
As I thought ahead to final UI in the midst of our iterations, I noticed that many of the conceptual improvements we brainstormed were related to style, consistency and visual comprehension of WeTravel's value proposition. Yes, WeTravel "makes it easy to organize, share and manage group trips," but there were deeper values and goals we needed to solidify in order to be confident of certain decisions, such as whether building out features to promote user trust could be in both the traveler's and WeTravel's best interests.
These questions prompted us to lead a Brand Workshop in order to establish clear guidelines that would shape not just design decisions for final UI, but also the ongoing UX process and even weekly usability tests.
Success! Validating the Solution
“I don’t like to give information about myself... but I would fill [out the profile]. It won’t be 100%, but I will fill it out. Because I get it. If I’m going on a trip with strangers, I get it.”
"What you're selling is meeting new people and going on a trip together."
"I see everything I need to feel confident to confirm."
Overall, we received a positive response from testers on the final design, validating decisions that could be perceived to create more friction in the funnel— but in a valuable way that clearly communicates trustworthiness and community to the user.
Our solutions proved each of our original hypotheses correct.
IMPROVED INFORMATION DESIGN WILL ALLOW THE TRAVELER TO FIND THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO FEEL CONFIDENT BOOKING.
Improved information design and refined value prop sufficiently addressed user needs and concerns. Normally reluctant users agreed to complete profile information and blurb prompts within the booking process, because they understood the value of the social aspect of trip.
BREAKING DOWN THE BOOKING PROCESS INTO INDIVIDUAL STEPS WILL INCREASE THE USER’S TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN WETRAVEL.
Travelers felt comfortable with the longer, but more comprehensive, booking process. User now felt that they had enough information to make a wise decision for large trip purchases. All users expected to see a review page after entering payment information.
COMPELLING COPY AND INFORMATION ON THE CONFIRMATION PAGE WILL INCREASE USER ENGAGEMENT WITH THE SITE AND WITH CROSS-SELLING OPPORTUNITIES.
Travelers trusted WeTravel and were excited about their trips! Overall, users felt that WeTravel was a thorough and trustworthy site. With trustworthy, compelling copy and UI, users were open and even sought out more cross-selling opportunities.
AS YOU CLICK THROUGH, IMAGINE THE FOLLOWING SCENARIO.
You want to go on a trip to Egypt, and a friend recommend this site. You find a trip you’d like to book. What do you look for when booking a trip, and how would you approach the process of securing your spot?