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Caleb Kingcott
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Virgin Zeit

Designing a time travel booking website

As a Designlab UX Academy student, I was tasked with designing a travel booking website for a fictitious time travel service provided by Virgin. Through their brand, Zeit, they wanted to offer travel experiences from dinosaur safari trips to historical moments. As time travel doesn't exist (shock horror), this project looked like it was going to be fun but challenging as I couldn't rely on existing research to make insights.

ROLE:

Strategy, Research, UX Design, UI Design, Branding

MENTOR:

Oscar Goossens

PROJECT SCOPE & TOOLS:

80 hours: Pen & paper, Sketch, Optimal sort, Invision


Phase 1: Discover

To begin, I looked to gain insight into the time travel holiday market, the customers and their goals and pain points. As Zeit doesn't have any direct competitors currently, I conducted some preliminary secondary research into the market and completed an indirect competitor analysis. After this, I conducted interviews with 3 potential Zeit customers to gain a better understanding of how we should target customers and present time travel.

Competitive analysis results

  • There is a market for extremely adventurous trips, even at a high cost
  • Customers appreciate transparency
  • Users like an easy to use, simple interface

  • Secondary Research and Competitor Analysis

    User interview findings

  • Adventurous holidays were more suited to a younger audience
  • Users wanted tailored holiday results that were suited to them
  • Users preferred a simple interface for a holiday booking website
  • Users would want to consider many details of a time travel trip including time period, safety, activities and ethicacy
  • "I like to immerse myself in culture and also like to visit iconic and beautiful places"

    Card sorting

    As the Zeit website would be selling a huge variety of different trips, it was important to consider how they should be categorised and labelled. To achieve this, I conducted online card sorting (via Optimal Workshop) sessions with 8 participants. The resulting data once synthesized helped me come to the realisation that potential customers were more interested in the type of trip/event than the time period. This finding was influential in the creation of trip categories and even exploration features.

    Similarity matrix

    Phase 2: Define

    User Personas

    Using the research findings and validated assumptions, I created a persona based on a young professional in London who liked to travel and have an adventure. This persona was referenced throughout the project as a tool to ensure that the user was appropriately designed for.

    Zeit User Persona

    Empathy map

    I designed an empathy map to gain define deeper insights into the user. I originally mapped this out with sticky notes on a wall and then designed the deliverable in Sketch.

    Zeit Empathy Map

    Project goals

    A design project has to take more into account than the user. It was important that I also considered the technical and business goals too.

    User, Business, Technical Goals

    Phase 3: Ideation and Design

    Task flow & User flow

    Before the visual and UI design could be considered, I needed to design the overall structure of the product and how the user would flow through the product when performing specific tasks.

    Zeit User Flow

    Wireframes

    I then began to ideate and Sketch out some low fidelity wireframes with pen and paper. I made sure to be creative with potential design and functionality choices, considering solutions like a quiz to tailor search results. After, I designed the final wireframes with Sketch, shown below:


    Wireframe for Zeit Homepage

    Brand design

    I designed the brand's style with the user and brief in mind. This resulted in both a 'modern and historical' but minimalistic style. I built a style guide which would be used in the development stages of the product which included logo's, colour scheme, type and photography treatment.

    Brand Style Tile

    Visual design

    I then designed the User Interface for the website, targeting the young and adventurous user. The research revealed that the audience would use the website on many different types of device and in different environments, therefore it was important that multiple designs were created for a responsive website.

    Desktop UI
    Desktop website UI

    Tablet UI
    Tablet website UI

    Mobile UI
    Mobile website UI

    Phase 4: Prototyping and testing

    I created a high fidelity prototype in Invision and conducted in-person testing with three participants. This data was used to continue iterating and improving upon the design.

    Live preview

  • In general, participants could complete the tasks with ease and find the appropriate information.
  • Users found the navigation options intuitive and easy to use.
  • Further design would be needed to refine the design.
  • Conclusion

    Reflection

    I discovered there was a market for the high costs Time Travel trips but mainly within the young adult and adventure market. I learnt that the target audience wanted tailored trip suggestions with a focus on trip details and content (trip photography, video) over price. They simply didn't want to be pressure sold and wanted to decide on a perfect trip for themselves. Unsuprisingly, convenience was important to this young but 'very busy' customer so any solution needed to focus on optimised interaction and IA.

    Next Steps

    I believe that there is opportunity to expand on the ideation stages of the project. The current prototype is both usable and functional but further design and ideation will increase innovation which will perfectly suitable for this futuristic service targeted at the young and adventerous.