I designed a responsive website and a visual refresh of an iconic airline brand.

Find out how

Role & Duration

UX / UI designer
80 hours

Note

This is a project I completed for Designlab’s UX Academy. This is not a real app but the research is organic and the design is based on real user voices, in combination with mentor and fellow student feedback ✌️

Overview

Pan Am is an internationally iconic airliner with a long history of offering elevated, thoughtful flying experiences to consumers. In the wake of Virgin America’s acquisition by Alaska Airlines, Pan Am sees an opportunity opening up for a flying experience that’s a cut above the usual. They plan on launching a new airline in 12–18 months and are looking for a streamlined, well-thought-out user experience to match.

Goal

The goal of this project is to reintroduce Pan Am to the airline industry with a fresh website focused on customers’ needs and updated branding to reflect the modern era.

Solution

A responsive website focused on flight booking, search, and online check-in, as well as a modern brand refresh that still keeps the essence of Pan Am alive.

Research

Research Goals

The research phase began with forming goals in the form of questions that needed to be answered and challenged such as:

  • What features do users want when booking flights online?

  • What problems do they struggle with when booking flights?

  • Why do they book flights online?

  • How do users prefer to check in to their flights and why?

Research components

  • Competitive analysis

  • User surveys

  • User interviews

I analyzed competitors by comparing website features to better understand what features Pan Am’s own website must have, what would be nice to have, and what could set them apart from their competitors.

After synthesizing the qualitative and quantitative data collected, user needs, pains, and wants were formed:

Needs

  • Filters for price, stops, departure/arrival times

  • Account creation, saved information for easy booking

  • Quick and easy online check-in (with option to print boarding pass)

  • Access to useful info about flights (such as meals and seating charts)

Pains

  • Overwhelming or confusing interface

  • Complexity when searching for flights

  • Hidden fees

  • Ticket price fluctuations over time

Wants

  • An airline with a history of safety/reliability and customer satisfaction, affordable prices, and a rewards program

  • Clean, simple, easy to use interface

Define

Having discovered common wants and pain points among users, a user persona was developed. Exploring the thoughts, goals, frustrations, and influences of the user is crucial to a great user experience. This helps to define who this site is for and is a way to keep design decisions informed by research and aligned with user goals.

During this phase of the design process, a sitemap was created and user flows were determined, again informed by research and in constant reference to the user persona.

Next, it was important to define the interface and information hierarchy at a basic level. This was done first through quick sketches and finally by creating low fidelity wireframes of key pages. This laid the groundwork for the next phase, where the UI design and brand refresh come together.

Early sketches

Initial desktop and mobile wireframes for the homepage and the flight search results page

Design

Informed by the previous phases in the design process, the UI began to take shape. It was also during this phase that the Pan Am brand was given a refresh.

Pan Am has a history of tapping into the cultural zeitgeist and that vision continues into the current era. The brand’s imagery reflects a modern, inclusive, aspirational, and diverse lifestyle. Additionally, images should reflect an “open borders” and wondrous attitude towards the world.

I learned during the Research phase that users are frustrated with typical airline sites due to their complexity and ticket price confusion. Several users expressed their liking of aggregate airfare sites over airliner sites because they can see how ticket prices change over time.

A simplified user interface like this works because the booking flow had a 100% completion rate in a short amount of time during usability tests (see below in the Test phase). Adding options for price tracking directly in the flight search results helps users make better decisions about purchases and brings them back to Pan Am directly rather than through aggregate sites in the future.

These insights, among others implemented in the site design, aligns both user goals and Pan Am’s business goals and sets the brand apart from the competition. We’re on our way to making a big impact on the airline industry.

Test

The next step was to test the designs with actual users. A high fidelity prototype of the desktop and mobile site was created using InVision and remote (using Maze) and in person usability tests were conducted.

Tasks

  • Booking a flight

  • Checking into a flight

  • Locate a "deals" section on the site

Notes

  • The booking flow was successfully completed by 100% of users in a very short amount of time

  • One out of two in-person participants and one out of eight remote participants were confused by the check-in form. The current design makes the form appear already filled in.

Task Error-free Rate

84%

Task Completion Rate

92%

Next Steps

After testing, it’s important to iterate on the previous designs to improve task flows, particularly for problem areas like the check-in process. With new design iterations, more usability tests should be conducted to learn new insights, challenge or confirm assumptions, and validate my previous research.

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