Travel ethnography

Research

 

 
travel1
 

Overview

A leading Canadian bank reached out to Usability Matters to conduct an ethnographic research study with travellers in order to discover insights and opportunities for them to further differentiate and improve their products.

 

My Role

This project was conducted by the team of Mel Banyard (UX Designer), myself and with the support of Shannah Segal (Account Director). As there was no solutioning or designing in this project, Mel and I were definitively User Researchers throughout the process.

 

Discovery and alignment phase

To kick things off, we met with stakeholders at the bank to align the goals of the research and validate our approach. This was a crucial starting point, as the research would be distributed to several different working teams within the bank. I strongly believe that a researcher's users are their audience and knowing the various stakeholders' needs was important to create a proper research plan and deliverable. 

 

The approach

Our research plan had 3 steps.

  1. We interviewed 30 participants about their past, current and future travel to better define their definition of the travel journey and identify key moments of delight and frustration that occur throughout it.
     
  2. These 30 participants also engaged in a digital diary study by using an app (dscout) on their mobile phones to submit numerous journal entries related to travel.
     
  3. We then used this data to create 5 detailed journey maps that illustrated the different ways in which our participants travelled.
 

Opportunity for improvement

Community behaviour isn't something that can instantly be fixed. The approach would be to give users features and tools that would promote more positive behaviour.

Personas, journey mapping and insights from research helped identify elements of the service that were contributing towards the undesirable community that users were describing. 

 
 

Reducing anonymity

On Grailed, profiles only consisted of a custom username and country of location to identify users. Less information about other users lead to a less personable experience. This was identified as an important aspect of why users lacked empathy when negotiating purchases and sales. 

 

More human interactions

Grailed users felt an absence of community and connection with other users. Grailed didn't have the same forum experience they were used to, such as having avatars to identify other users by.

 

Better feedback

Grailed's feedback page lacked detail, information and felt unimportant to users. This deterred people from leaving quality feedback as well reducing their trust in the feedback ratings.

 

 

 

Designing the solution

Below are annotated mockups of proposed changes - feel free to click on an image to expand it.

Nearly every change was made for the goal of empowering users to interact positively in the community. Since shifting a culture is a gradual process with no direct solution, it was important to communicate the rationale and supported research on the proposed changes.
 

Profile

 

Listings

 

Feedback


Insights

Balancing fidelity

I approached the project with the intention of delivering a solution that could be implemented using the existing Grailed design. As it turns out, leveraging the existing design allowed me to transition from sketches to high fidelity mockups without sacrificing detail or speed. This was beneficial in user testing as well as presenting to the Grailed team as they could visualize and interact with the prototypes much easier.

Finding the right solution

At one point, I was so focused on how to "fix" the negative Grailed user behaviour instead of designing ways to improve the community. I had to remind myself that human behaviour and interactions can't be instantly changed with a design. The real goal revolved around delivering features and improvements to users for better interactions.