3 minutes read
As part of a multi-million pound IT modernisation programme TUI (Europe’s largest tour operator) wanted to update and improve the IT systems used within its 700+ Thomson and First Choice high street shops and numerous call centres. As the UX lead for this part of the programme I was tasked with establishing the user requirements for the IT system and with creating a concept design in collaboration with both high street and call centre travel agents. During the project I was managing and mentoring a more junior UX designer and working very closely with the product owner, lead business analyst and numerous retail travel agents.
Discovering how travel agents operate
Good UX design is built on good user research insights, and to gather those insights I carried out numerous shop and call centre visits to observe and speak to travel agents as they went about their day to day tasks. I also ran a number of collaborative workshops with travel agents to establish and validate user requirements.
Examining the current process
In order to better understand the current system used by travel agents an expert review was carried out to identified areas for significant improvement. I also carried out a competitor review of similar travel agent systems to establish best practice within the industry.
Creating personas and design principles
An excellent way to distil and communicate user research insights is through personas and design principles. I created personas reflecting the key roles within the shops and call centres, and outlined 8 key design principles to follow. Personas were then validated with the travel agent working group that I’d set-up. This was a mixed group of travel agents who were involved throughout the project. Validating the personas with the group ensured that they accurately reflected the different user groups for the new IT system.
Defining the new user journeys
Before diving into the detail I wanted to map out and evaluate the end to end user journey for key user tasks. I therefore created user journey maps and storyboards to help capture and communicate these journeys. These were evaluated with the travel agent working group and development team to ensure that they were not only technically feasible, but fitted the way that travel agents typically operate.
Designing the design concept
Having mapped out the steps for key user journeys I created a low fidelity prototype (using Axure) to showcase the design concept to stakeholders, and to evaluate the concept with users. The prototype was based on sketches for key pages and UI components.
Testing the design with travel agents
In order to test the design concept with users I visited a number of shops to carry out usability testing with travel agents. I made optimisations to the design in-between tests as insights were collected and analysed. I also used the prototype to run through the design concept with the development team. This allowed the team to assess the technical feasibility of building the new system.
By taking a user-centred design approach, user requirements for the travel agent IT system were captured and used as a basis for the new design. Travel agents were very positive towards the design concept and very enthusiastic about having a new system which truly meets their needs and requirements.