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Multi-day tour packages

Intro

Pangea Trails is a German youth and student travel company operating throughout Southern Africa, its main market being German and Brazilian students. Although primarily focused on multi-day adventure tours, they had recently merged with Rock the Route CC which has both one day and multi-day trips.
I was approached to redesign their old and outdated website and include their new product range from their merger. The website needed to be multilingual with emphasis on the multi-day tour pages.

Role & Tasks

Role

Working in a freelance capacity, I was responsible for the entire product development lifecycle. I lead the project management, UX & UI design and development.
Although not ideal, I got to manage tradeoffs and empathize through the eyes of various stakeholders in the product lifecycle.

Tasks

  • User interviews
  • Persona creation
  • Card sorting
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Usability testing
  • Guerilla testing
  • Project management
  • Development
  • Brief

    The problem

    Design a mobile-first experience that allows users to easily navigate between sections and find out information on multi-day tours.

    Illustration of Mr Shibumi

    Strategy

    In order to fully understand the scope of the project and business objectives, I conducted interviews with the founders to extract requirements and prioritize objectives.

    I like to get assumptions and preferences upfront so we ran a workshop to discuss mood boards, competitors and their vision for the product.

    Discovery

    At the time of the project I was managing a backpackers in Cape Town and so I fortunate enough to have access to Pangea’s target audience. Their main market was youth group travelers and so I took the opportunity to run several rounds of informal, unstructured user interviews to better understand them and their customer journey.

    In order to properly understand the market, I also did a competitor analysis. I discovered a common design pattern used for categorizing tour information however I also found a telling usability issue with this pattern due to the large amounts of information in each section. These sections were difficult to navigate, especially on mobile devices due to large amounts of scrolling.

    Analysis

    From the qualitative data and additional data provided by the co-founder, I created three archetypes.

    In the clients’ initial brief, they wanted all travel-related offerings to be sub-items of a main tour page however due to differences in offerings I advised against this. I proposed a card sorting exercise to eliminate any doubt and discover the best information architecture possible. During these tests, I discovered that none of the travel offerings were similar enough to group together under a main tour category and would be better off as standalone items in order to avoid confusion.

    Once the information architecture was complete, I created flow diagrams of the various scenarios users would take to find tour information and book then these tours.

    Design

    After initially sketching out several ideas for the multi-day tour pages, I had a good sense of how I wanted to structure the pages, they would be separated by seven defined sections. I was still struggling with a solution for the navigation between content so I translated my sketches into a wireframe so I could concentrate on the navigation and interaction. After several attempts, I came up with two viable solutions using a sticky top nav, one would separate the sections using tabs and the other used anchor points to scroll between the sections.

    Test

    During the first iteration of ideation and build I came up with two viable designs using a sticky top menu, the one was to use tabs for each section and the other was to use anchor points to scroll to sections. To test these designs against each other I created low-fidelity prototypes and ran a round of moderated & unmoderated usability tests. The clear “winner” was the scroll to anchor points as the tabbed sections on mobile often confused users into thinking they had changed pages and so they would try use the browser back button.
    After development and as a final success metric, I ran a round of moderated usability tests to measure task completion times in comparison to competitors’ sites.

    The outcome

    I was able to lower the average task completion times of navigating to sections by 2.5s in comparison to competitors’ sites.

    This was my first multi-lingual design challenge which taught me how to plan and design an interface with unknown and variable content length parameters. It required a shift in mindset of how I would generally approach a problem.

    If I had more time and resources, I would have liked to do have done more ethnographic research into the Brazillian and German markets to identify conflicting preferences.