• By combining participant surveys and user reviews, I grounded my recommendations in user data, enabling a more user centric decision making process for app improvements.
• Aligning my evaluation with key user goals revealed critical performance aspects affecting user satisfaction and engagement.
• My findings report not only highlights issues but also offers actionable insights, potentially providing the TripAdvisor team with a clear roadmap for optimizing the app's usability and overall appeal.
For a class project, I embarked on a mission to meticulously explore and find means to enhance the usability of the TripAdvisor Android App.
TripAdvisor significantly influences global travel experiences. With millions relying on it to plan their travel, understanding user behaviors, pain points and proposing improvements to elevate the overall experience becomes essential.
User Experience Researcher
Gathered insights through contextual Inquiry.
Led the Heuristic Evaluation and uncovered usability issues.
August 2021 - December 2021
MEET THE USERS
Who are the users?
TripAdvisor's user base consists primarily of travel enthusiasts who rely on the mobile app or website to access travel guides, seek inspiration, and plan their future adventures
Assumptions: Our beliefs about user behavior
1. Trip Planning: Users turn to TripAdvisor to plan and book their dream vacations, but this journey can be a mix of excitement, apprehension, and frustration.
2. Booking Relief: Once they successfully book a hotel, users feel a sense of relief. They often seek nearby attractions and restaurants to maximize their trip experience.
3. Worries About Deals: Users might worry about finding the best deals and availability, leading to anxiety and apprehension during the planning phase.
4. Hungry and Irritable: During their trips, after a day of exploring, users frequently search for restaurant recommendations to satisfy their hunger and cravings.
5. Navigational Challenges: In unfamiliar cities, users can feel lost and anxious as they try to find a safe haven or navigate their way around.
6. Mental Models: Users might compare TripAdvisor's interface with other apps they've used in the past, which can sometimes lead to confusion and adjustment challenges.
7. Last-Minute Stress: Making last-minute bookings can be stressful, leaving users feeling helpless and unable to control their options.
8. Cancellations Frustration: When a booking is unexpectedly canceled, users feel frustrated, knowing they have to go through the entire booking process again.
I conducted contextual inquiry to gain a deep understanding of how users interact with the Tripadvisor mobile app in their natural context. The insights were valuable for understanding user needs, pain points, and preferences.
To empathize with users, I immersed myself by using the app extensively to plan a trip to Los Angeles. This process revealed user assumptions and set the stage for insightful contextual inquiries.
Seven participants responded to the survey divided into 5 parts, covering demographics, travel behaviors, challenges, needs, motivations, experience using app features, and use contexts.
I prioritized the Google Play and Apple App store as the main sources for selecting reviews posted by experienced users. This user-centric perspective was invaluable for understanding how real people interact with the app.
Users had trouble editing and finding past reviews on the app.
Users faced issues with location, maps and navigation
Home screen recommendations were not dynamic which hurt user trust
Applying filters to searches is challenging and filters don't carry forward to the next search
The app lacks translation options for reviews
Past and upcoming trips are hard to find
The findings made several assumptions about user behavior and use contexts clear; which ultimately guided future analysis.
Users mainly use the app for planning vacations, both business and leisure, typically 2-4 times a year, weeks in advance. They rely on TripAdvisor for planning, discovering unique destinations, booking vacations, and exploring restaurants. While no features are entirely avoided, some less accessible ones are underutilized. Main user goals include hotel reservations and reading/posting reviews with a focus on speed and efficiency, particularly among millennials.
The evaluation process was conducted in two parts and this approach ensured a more holistic and user-centric assessment of the product:
A. Evidence based principles: Identify general design issues
B. User Goals: How well the app aligned with the specific needs and preferences of its target audience.
First, I defined a severity rubric to establish a structured framework for evaluating and categorizing issues identified during the evaluation process. If the insights are taken into account, this will help the business prioritize their resource allocation to tackle the most severe issues that hinder user satisfaction or app performance first.
Finding past reviews and trips on TripAdvisor easily is crucial to user satisfaction and retention. Prioritizing intuitive design preserves engagement and prevents frustration.
Improve user experience by organizing forum posts and reviews under relevant tabs with clickable indicators, ensuring easy access.
Lack of cross-pollination such as this example disrupts user flow and causes confusion about saved changes in the application.
Maintain filter settings consistently across different search locations, allowing users to adjust them when they want for a tailored search experience
Allow users to rectify errors and provide undo/redo options to prevent confusion or frustration. Without these features, users may feel scared and abandon the app, impacting goal-based design principles
Users should also be able to amend reviews, as allowing them to delete reviews outright can discourage them from writing again. So, if they have permission to edit, they can make minor changes while the post remains on the
Clear structure and navigation is required to save users' time and instill confidence. Maintaining consistency and alignment with user goals enhances conversion rates while reducing bounce rates.
Different call to actions require distinct levels of significance.
Empower users with language choice for inclusivity, as language can bridge understanding or lead to exclusion. Neglecting accessibility considerations can limit app usage and understanding
The app should offer language translation for diverse user populations
Lastly, I defined key user goals to assess the application's ease of use in terms of accomplishing these goals and tasks.
Search on the App
Select and Apply Filters
Plan a Trip
Read and Write Reviews
Access Forum Posts
Evaluation of each goal yielded multiple findings. For a comprehensive overview, you can read the goal based evaluation section under the complete report
The User interface Evaluation found numerous flaws that will impact the application negatively. Users will fail to perform tasks as a significant amount of time, energy and effort is needed to find basic features, search and apply filters according to their liking.If the features are difficult to find, some users might believe that they don't exist altogether which will lead to underutilization. Not only will this frustrate the users but also poses a risk of app abandonment; since the travel market is so competitive, users might end up going to competitors. Therefore it is worth noting that while this is an issue for users and their user experience it also carries business impact.
Firstly, I dove deep into understanding various usability principles and how they were applied in this evaluation process; such as considering user needs, assumptions, expectations and aligning the interface with those requirements.
During this project, I also had to employ meticulous attention to detail in identifying and documenting usability issues, with clear and concise descriptions, screenshots or examples, and potential impacts on user experience. Thus, improving my documentation skills.
For the next steps, I would like to leverage the findings from this heuristic evaluation to redesign the screens of the application.
Using a user-centered approach, I will address the identified usability issues and implement improvements that align with recognized usability heuristics and best practices.
Through iterative design and testing, I aim to create an interface that provides a seamless and intuitive user experience, while considering user needs, business goals, and technical constraints.