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Ski Deal Comparison

A website enabling users to compare ski packages from a range of ski holiday providers.

The problem

Booking a skiing holiday is a complex process, there are many things to consider,  from accommodation to resort and skiing equipment to transportation. The whole process can be an overwhelming and costly experience. My client seeks to alleviate this problem by acting as the first aggregator of skiing holiday packages in the market.

 

 

They came to my team at General Assembly, to research the core requirements for users when booking ski holidays, in order to improve the overall usability of their site.

The toughest challenge

The main complexity was striking a balance between the diverse and complex demands of the users, with the limited data available to us.  We wanted to offer the best user experience based on our research, but in a technically feasible way for our client to implement. 

We eventually designed realistically implementable filters, based on resort ratings given to us and additional research into the provider's sites.  

Client 

Ski Deal Comparison​

UXDI Course (General Assembly)

Timeline

2.5  week sprint 

My Role & Tasks

UX Designer & Researcher,

Team Facilitator,

Stakeholder management,

6 User Interviews,

4 Competitive analyses,

Designed low to mid-fi

wireframes, 

14 Usability tests,

Workshop facilitation,

Client Presentation

Team

Zena Zerai

Ross Tucker

Maria Ware

Adeel Dar

The solution

My team redesigned the website,  enabling users to identify the best ski holiday packages for their needs. We created a seamless experience offering users just the right amount of information to be able to make an informed decision, without being overwhelmed. We included a unique comparison feature enabling users to compare packages side by side. 

"

Connor Miller  (Founder, Ski Deal Comparison)

Ski Deal Comparison presented Zena with a unique challenge. We provided a blank slate and asked Zena and her team to re-define the user experience for booking a ski holiday from scratch. They worked tirelessly over the 2 1/2 week project and delivered high quality work with enjoyable interactions from a client end. Workshops were inclusive, intense and direct. The output was professional and we intend on having her and the team's product developed.

"

Read the in-depth case study below

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Discover

Stakeholder Interviews

Competitor Analysis

Website Audit

Screener Survey

User Interviews

Define

Affinity Mapping

Personas

Scenarios

How Might We

User Experience Map

User Flows

Develop

Design Studio (with client)

Feature Prioritisation

Paper Prototypes

Mid-fidelity Wireframes

Clickable Prototypes

Usability Tests

Deliver

High Fidelity Prototype

Client Presentation

Deliverables handover

The current landscape

We researched the client's direct  competitors (Ski World, Ski Solutions, Iglu Ski, Inghams, Crystal Ski) and indirect competitors (AirBnb, Skyscanner, British Airways, Tripadvisor, Expedia).

 

This enabled us to learn more about the skiing holiday landscape and the holiday booking process in general.  In addition we conducted usability tests on the current site. 

Opportunities

  • Comparison | None offered this function.

  • Ski level | Few allowed users to filter by this.

  • Price | None allowed to search by this. 

Common features

  • Search by date, guest number and location.

Ski Deal Comparison 

  • The comparison concept was welcomed.

  • There was confusion when users were taken to an external site. 

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Original Ski Deal Comparison homepage

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Spotting trends

We compiled all of our user research into an affinity map, where we identified patterns and common pain points.

  • Price  | This was the biggest factor for users when booking trips.

  • Inflexible packages  |  People wanted to alter specific package features.

  • Après Ski  | Beginner and intermediate skiers were interested in the socialising aspect.

  • Challenging slopes  |  Intermediate and advanced skiers were more interested in this.

 

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Sophia

Defining our users

Based on our research, we created three personas. The purpose was to ensure we were designing accurately for the correct audiences. These personas had some diverse as well as overlapping needs.

Jurgen 

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Defining the problem

Scenario

David is a busy father who is money-conscious. 

 

He is keen to find a ski deal that offers him the best value for money.

How Might We 

How might we help David compare ski packages, in order for him to find the best deal for his group?

Who are we designing for?

We sent out a screener survey and conducted user interviews to learn more about our client's potential user base.  We also investigated users' motivations and frustrations when booking skiing holidays. 

Our research showed that most of our users found booking skiing holidays time-consuming, confusing and frustrating. However, users loved skiing holidays once there.

40 screener participants 

76.5 %

Go skiing with friends

20 user interviews

58.8 %

Go skiing with family

The MVP challenge 

As a group we conducted a second design studio to build on our ideas, while focusing on the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). At this stage we had difficulty in deciding how to realistically meet our user's needs with the limited data we had been given.

After analysing the resort rating data given to us, we realised some of it matched our user's requirements (ski level, family-friendly, après-ski). This became our starting point for filtering options.

 

We then researched the information available on the providers' sites. From here we were able to include additional content needed for user's to make informed booking decisions.

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Sample of the resort rating data

Designing solutions

We invited the client to a design studio, where we sketched out as many design solutions as possible to two scenarios. The purpose was to bounce ideas off of each other, without being restricted by feasibility. 

 

Initial paper wireframes

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Homepage

Summary card

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Added to comparison bar

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Comparison Feature

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Testing the designs

We designed wireframes, starting with paper and eventually moving into higher fidelity on Sketch following usability tests.

 

When testing we wanted to ensure the site's purpose was clear to users, in addition to enjoying a streamlined  experience throughout. 

5 rounds of usability tests

25 users tested

Final design

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Price slider  |  After testing, we included this on the homepage and search results page, allowing users to adjust their budget throughout.

Location |  After testing, we included specific regions, enabling users to easily filter areas where they had booked flights.

Provider Information | We included their logos for more transparency. After testing user's understood they would be taken to an external site.

Summary Card | We added a bullet point checklist, instead of lengthy text for scannable reading.

Search results page (top)

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Compare button | We added a text description and an 'added' state, to notify users when a package had been added to the compare list.

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Filters  | We included additional filters such as accommodation type, family friendly and ski-ski-ski out based on our research and testing.

Comparison bar |  We included a bar at the bottom which would fill up with packages after user's clicked  the compare button. Users felt the benefit of this feature.

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Search results page (bottom)

Conclusion

"That's really good I've not seen other sites do this!"

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Surprise and positivity, was the overwhelming reaction from users to the comparison feature. They could really see the value in being able to compare ski packages side by side.

We presented our designs to the client who was extremely happy with the results. They will now be looking to use the designs to pitch for further funding.

Final comparison feature

What I learned

  • The importance of in-depth and multiple user interviews to understand the product and market, particularly if it is an unfamiliar area.

  • The importance of getting client buy-in early on, including holding stakeholder interviews and a collaborative design studio. This created a sense of shared contribution and understanding of the designs.

Next Steps

  • Customisable Comparison Page  |  An option to customise the comparison page based on user preferences. Thus reducing the cognitive load.

  • Flights  | Time again, users asked if it was possible to book flights. The option to review packages including flights would be helpful. This could include the API from Skyscanner.

  • Profile Page  |  Enabling users to save favourites and receive notifications of packages matching their profile.

Thanks for reading!

If you'd like to learn more about the project or just have a chat, please feel free to send me an email.