Redesigning Allegiant’s Website: a UX Experiment

allegiant experiment ft image

Today I’ll be discussing a group project I did on User Experience (UX) where we redesigned Allegiant Airlines’ website.

Background~

In the field of Informatics, there are quite a few jobs we can do. One of them cares specifically about UX. UX is a bunch of rules and principles backed by science that makes a product or design more intuitive to use. The field is interesting because while there are universal principles of design, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and design is subjective. Don’t worry, that’s why we use testing and statistics to prove what actually works best.

For this final project, the goal was to use the topics we discussed in class to redesign a website of our choosing, utilize our friends and family to do user testing, and see if we truly made a good design.

1st Step: Choosing a website to study

Initial List:

  • Netflix 
  • Disney+
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Spotify
  • iTunes
  • Mathematica
  • Town of salem
  • Club penguin
  • Youtube
  • Linkedin
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Steam
  • Epic games store
  • Yoyo games
  • Unity
  • Adobe
  • ASU 
  • Canvas
  • Google classroom
  • Khan academy
  • Twitch
  • Target
  • The documentation for Microsoft XNA Framework is awful I can’t find anything I’m looking for
  • Mighty networks
  • Airline 

When picking a website, we wanted to pick something that had design flaws but might not be entirely bad. Many of the above websites have good qualities, but there’s something about each of these websites that my teammates and I wanted to change.

But then…

One day in class my professor brought up Allegiant Airlines as an example of bad design and my team and I were trying to decide on our project. We checked it out and I think we all unanimously agreed this had to be the focus for our project. (Allegiant, I have nothing against you, promise.) Please note that the current web design may not reflect what it was like from January 2021-May 2021.

2nd Step: Who is the target audience?

At my university, they emphasize the importance of designing with others in mind. So we had to make a list of target audiences and user profiles of who would be using the Allegiant Airs website.

Demographic for Allegiant:

  • Families going on vacation 
  • Old people
  • Travelers with business intentions

Personna

We all made one but I don’t know if I have permission to share my teammates’ so I will just share mine:

Jollie Doe-travel influencer(avid traveler)

Age: 24

Family: No

Home: a small, easy-to-leave apartment so she can come and go with ease

Location: Biloxi, Mississippi

Occupation: Travel Influencer

Behavior: Jollie is an avid traveler, always off to new and exciting places. She spreads and shares her travels to millions of followers on Instagram, Tik Tok, and all other kinds of social media. The most important thing is to have comfortable, affordable flights. She needs luggage options for her clothes, gear, etc., flexibility in case her camera crew comes with her, or to update her fans last minute on where she’s off to next, and pet accommodations for her BFF Loxi the mini pup.

Concerns: uncomfortable seats, not a lot of options, not great bandwidth, untimely flights, safety, unable to acquire a hotel/car.

Goals: safely arrive in her many destinations with a car and hotel so she may document her adventures to her followers. 

Life quote: “Do not dare, not to dare” -CS Lewis.

How she finds us: internet search? Recommendations from friends/family?

What she wants to know: Do you have a partnership program (so she can get cheaper flights)? Are you pet-friendly? What luggage options do you have? What hotels and car rental companies are you partnered with? Reviews?  

She doesn’t want: to leave her best friend behind, to waste time in layover, be delayed in getting to her destination, and rude people. 

Why she buys from Allegiant: best deal.

There were 4 people on this team, and all the personas were pretty detailed.

3rd: Step: Analyzing what went wrong

This is what my team and I categorized the problems with Allegiant’s website at the time. I don’t know if they’ve fixed it since.

  •  Excessive extraneous cognitive load
    • Pop up ads
    • Bundles and extras are two separate pages that throw a lot at you 
    • Homepage is distracting, one of our members read it 10 times without actually reading a word
    • Too many options for seats, bundles/extras, bags
  • Confusing process to do the simplest tasks
    •  Multiple links that all book a flight, hotel, or car
    • Buttons are small, not easy to find, and not in convenient places
    • Why can’t I upload my family and I’s information as a logged-in user,  why do I have to fill out this information every single time?
    • Why are the error messages so vague? 
  • If you select a different tab, progress is not saved and you must restart
  • Specific accessibilities, like wheelchair assistance, can be hard to find
  • Frustration due to getting asked to buy multiple add ons

Extraneous Cognitive Load?

Cognitive Load is about working memory resources to learn new things. There are three kinds: intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. Intrinsic is the amount of effort you put in to learn something. Extraneous is about how it’s presented. Germane is about transferring what you learn from working memory to long-term memory. So when we want to minimize extraneous cognitive load, it means we want to limit the distractions and make it as simple as possible to learn.

4th Step: Fixing Allegiant’s website

Tasks:

  • Book a roundtrip flight
    • Choose a flight
    • Select a bundle
    • Choose luggage 
    • Add specifications for passengers
  • Compare flights in the desired travel month

Brainstorm

Control of the Allegiant Website

This is what Allegiant’s site looked like at the time of testing, we recreated in Axure the parts we were designing

Redesign of the Allegiant Website

This is our redesign of Allegiant’s website

5th Step: User Testing the new Allegiant website

Now that we have our mockups, it’s time to get some willing participants and have half of them go through the control and have the other half go through the redesign. Each team member tested two people so to keep things consistent (and save our internal validity) we wrote a script. Then we recorded each participant’s screen, encouraging them to think aloud and go through the process.

Part of our testing came from surveys. We had 3 surveys. One was a basic background questionnaire that asked demographic questions and tried to see how familiar they already were with booking a flight. Then we had a post-task questionnaire that asked usability questions for each task. Finally, we had a post-session that asks about their overall experience.

6th Step: Did we make a difference?

How are we measuring success for the Allegiant website?

  • Expedite the general process of booking a flight (decrease time on task)
  • We want our users to make errors less frequently.  (decrease errors: miss-clicks, backtracking, etc. )
  • We expect to increase satisfaction with our redesign.(After-Scenario Questionnaire)

In the first task, we were able to positively impact the time on task. The same cannot be said for the rest of the tasks. For errors, tasks one, two, three, five, and six were no good. However, task four saw a positive impact on the number of errors. So yes, we were able to make a difference, for Allegiant albeit not a big one.

Design is Iterative

One of the fun things about user experience is design is iterative. A design can always be better and with every test, you can learn and do things differently which is a lot like life. If I were to redesign Allegiant’s website over again tomorrow, there are things I’d do differently.

Final Thoughts on the Allegiant Website:

Thank you for reading about redesigning Allegiant’s website, I appreciate it. Comment below your favorite how you would have designed it. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want something similar, click here.

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