EXPEDIA USABILITY ANALYSIS

A usability analysis of Expedia's web and mobile applications

DATE

Oct - Dec 2015

MY ROLE

Interaction Designer

 

MY KEY CONTRIBUTIONS

Domain Research

Contextual Inquiry

Competitive Analysis

Hi-Fidelity Mockups

User Testing

TOOLS USED

Sketch

InDesign

Illustrator

About the Project

During the course of this project, we explored the usability of Expedia's desktop website compared to that of its smartphone app. With a specific set of common tasks between mobile and desktop, we compared various aspects of the usability concluding with computing the System Usability Scale - SUS Score. 

We evaluated a number of travel booking apps. We chose Expedia because it is one of the more popular services with well developed Web and Mobile apps with the domains we were most interested in - i.e, Flight, Hotel, and Car booking.

 

Stage 1 
Identified basic tasks a user would perform on Expedia (mobile, website).

Stage 2 
Defined scenarios and tasks based on the findings.

Stage 3 
Created Personas.

Stage 3 
Conducted Cognitive Walkthrough & Heuristics on both platforms.

Stage 4 
Drafted a test script that encompasses every scenario and task.

Stage 5 
Conducted a pilot run.Stage 6: Recruit participants to participate in user evaluations.

Stage 6 
Recruited participants to participate in user evaluations.

Stage 7 
Conducted user evaluations.

Stage 8 
Analyzed video recordings and transcribe user quotes for qualitative data.

Stage 9 
Analyzed video recordings to gather quantitative data such as number of clicks, time on task etc.

Stage 10
Created an Expert Usability Evaluation Report with detailed explanation of the issues encountered and recommendations.

Task Selection

Expedia's mobile apps on both iOS and Android have only a subset of features compared to the website. Since we are testing for usability and not other aspects like feature set, we had to make sure the test is fair between them. So we performed a comparative analysis of features between Web, iOS and Android versions, we selected tasks that were commonly available on all of them.

 

 

 

Features Web iOS Android
Flight Booking
Hotel Booking
Car Booking
Things To Do
Bundled Booking    
Cruise Booking    
Vacation Rentals    
Universal Search    

 

Users & Tasks

Based on the comparative analysis above, we narrowed down the tasks to be in the areas common between them. We conducted preliminary research on the most common tasks that users perform within each of these areas, and came up with the following tasks.

A total of 8 users tested out both the website and the app based on a set of 9 tasks identified based on prior evaluation. 

Fig above: Participant demographics

Overview of Major Findings

Usability evaluation revealed several usability issues with varying severity. There were several recurring issues that plagued both the Expedia website and the mobile application. Here are some of the critical issues we discovered.

Excessive Load Times

 

Both the website and mobile app take a long time to load

Uncommon Interactions

 

The mobile app uses uncommon interactions at places. Eg: The user has to tap and drag on the calendar to select start and end dates.

Filter Inconsistencies

 

The website has an overwhelming amount of filters, while the mobile app has too few filters.

Information Architecture

 

The website and the mobile app have issues with content location. Critical text was placed at the bottom of the page which was often overlooked by the users.

Quantitative measures

We asked our participants to fill answer a few survey questions before the testing sessions to guage their knowledge and familiarity about Expedia and similar applications. Additionally, we measured Time on Task, and Task Completion as measures to comapre between the two platforms.

FIG. BELOW: AWARENESS OF EXPEDIA

FIG. BELOW: AWARENESS OF EXPEDIA'S MOBILE APP

FIG. BELOW: USED EXPEDIA BEFORE

FIG. BELOW: USED OTHER SIMILAR WEBSITES

FIG. BELOW: TASK COMPLETION METRICS

FIG BELOW: TIME ON TASK METRICS

NOTE: EMPTY SLOTS IN THE CHART DENOTE THAT NOT ALL PARTICIPANTS COMPLETED THE TASK

System Usability Scale (SUS) Results:

We used the standard post-test questionnaire for calculating SUS. Based on the participants' responses, we were able to get each participants individual SUS scores as shown below.

Mean SUS for Web - Desktop version: 71.56

Mean SUS for Mobile - app version: 74.68

FIG. BELOW: TASK BY TASK SUS FOR MOBILE

FIG. BELOW: TASK BY TASK SUS FOR DESKTOP

Qualitative Issues & Recommendations

Here are some of the most common issues we discovered, and recommendations to these issues. 

NOTE: These screens are extracts from the final report. A link to the full report is included at the end of this page.

Conclusions and Interpretations

It is evident from the SUS results that Expedia's mobile app is easier to use than the website. From our interviews and observations, it seemed like the our participants preferred the website. So the result was surprising. We think this was because of a few reasons:

  • The app is very focused on achieving only a few taks
  • There is less content on the screen to distract the users
  • Most of the participants were familiar with app UI paradigms

 

But for people frequently using both versions of Expedia, they find the non uniformity of UI elements quite inconvenient.

 

VIEW FULL REPORT