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Six Ingredients That Make A Great Mobile Travel Experience

Our design approach at Travelport Digital has evolved over the years. At a high level it combines a user-centred design approach with an emphasis on craftsmanship and interaction design. Our goal is simple: world class design for world class airlines and travel companies.

But what is the recipe for great mobile travel app design? Well, like any recipe it is made up of both ingredients and a method. Designing in an agile environment has shaped our method however, the purpose of this article is to share some of the core ingredients involved in our design strategy. The method and how we design in agile is a post for another day.

Every travel app is different but at the same time these constituent ingredients go into making sure it is great.

Travelport Digital Design Approach

Firstly, we need to understand business needs. Understanding the needs of the airlines and travel companies we work with and aligning them with the needs of their end-travellers enables us to build apps that deliver business value, that drive engagement and that are easy and enjoyable to use, ultimately driving increased usage.

At a high level this means we understand an airline or travel company’s motivations and business strategy, while at the same time taking into account things like operational requirements and business rules.

Secondly we have to align these with the needs of the end traveller. This means the design solution is shaped by traveller insight. We strive to understand the motivations of end-travellers and their behaviours before we write a line of code. Whatever we build also needs to be tested with end-travellers, to make sure it is just right.

This leads onto the third ingredient: considering the wider context. We have to take into account the competitive landscape of the airline or travel company, consider ideas from outside the travel industry and reflect the reality of cultural context. For example when designing apps for Saudia we needed to consider the needs of a largely Middle Eastern audience. This meant integration of the Saudi Arabian SADAD online payment system to ensure local travellers could transact easily and the incorporation of the Islamic Hijri Calendar.

We also need to ensure that what we are doing is technically feasible. Technology moves fast in the world of mobile, and travel is a hugely dynamic industry. In spite of this, many of the “back office” GDS systems in use today by major airlines and travel companies have their origins in the last century. It is our job to blend the old with the new.

That said, those “back office” limitations need to be smoothed out. A successful travel app has to be effortless to use and look great in order to drive maximum engagement with travellers. This means they exude the craftsmanship and attention to detail you would expect from your local artisanal baker.

Lastly, we are always creating something unique. Our design needs to reflect and compliment the unique brand of the airlines and travel companies that we work with as we apply it to the mobile solution and also take into account the two key mobile platforms – iOS and Android. This means using platform-appropriate interaction design and using the latest manufacturer guidelines to create a truly native user experience. Adhering to standards and guidelines means we stay true to the brand and the platform.

Travelport Digital UX and UI Design In Progress

These six “ingredients” are the foundation of great design across the apps and digital travel services that we deliver for our clients.

  1. Follow a user-centred design process that aligns business needs
  2. Understand and assess traveller needs and desirability
  3. Factor in technical feasibility
  4. Emphasise well crafted aesthetics and interaction design
  5. Consider the wider context by understanding cultural context and also looking outside the travel industry for inspiration.
  6. Adhere to standards and guidelines.

In our next UX and Design post we will cover the process of how these ingredients are assembled and how we design within an agile environment.

If you have any questions about any of the topics (or ingredients) covered in this post please contact us here. We would be happy to walk you through our design approach and discuss how we create exceptional user experiences for today’s ultra-connected travellers.

Travelport Digital design and development team at work

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