The Problem

Eyewitness Travel, a division within DK publishing, created an itinerary based tool called Trip Planner that enabled users to plan a trip in a number of cities. The concept was driven by stakeholders, implemented via a waterfall process and lacked UX thinking and UI expertise. The result was a product that was unsuccessful both in terms of the user and business needs.

The challenge was to create a completely new digital offering, from the ground up, that displayed content from Trip Planner in a more engaging way for the user and a more profitable way for the business.

The goals were to increase traffic, build brand awareness and to establish Eyewitness Travel as a leading online travel authority.

The Process

Starting from scratch we utilised the small amount of data we had available, completed detailed competitor research, liaised with the content, dev and SEO teams and created new personas and journeys to give us a strong foundation for the initial concept phase.

Based on our findings we sketched and wireframed a number of approaches and after meeting with the stakeholders we settled on a responsive model that focussed on destinations, articles, galleries and sights, presenting them in a visual way to reflect the nature of DK and it’s illustrative approach.

The features page required a filter for the user to find content. In order to ensure this worked smoothly and to iron out any issues I created a prototype in InVision and animations in Keynote. This also helped ensure clear communication of functionality to the devs.

With all wireframes and prototyping complete I began work on the UI and adopted a flat, tiled design to bring the site up to date whilst maintaining a traditional layout to appeal to our target demographic. Detailed notes and assets for all breakpoints were then provided to the devs for build.

The Result

After a number of rounds of testing with we saw that all users understood the value proposition of the site, they trusted the brand whether they had prior knowledge of it or not and they found the site engaging and easy to navigate. Unique page views doubled and we saw consistent growth in organic traffic, month on month.

Quality content is being regularly produced by the content team and we are being careful to add features only where testing suggests we need to, whilst ensuring that existing parts of the site are improved and strengthened to provide a strong platform for future development.

Lessons Learned

Whilst creating a subtle and elegant design might appeal aesthetically it can have a negative effect on usability. If CTA’s aren’t clear and don’t stand out enough users will miss them. The breadcrumbs on the site need work for this reason.

Good design, however, can influence people to trust a brand whether they recognise it or not. Less than half of users recognised DK but all said they trusted the site based on the standard of design.

Users are attracted more and more to visual content, with less desire to read and an increasing desire to view and watch. As a result we have shortened the amount of text shown, particularly on mobile, and have increased the image count where possible.

I created a visual representation of testing results for stakeholders.