This week, our designers reviewed three apps in a similar category to discuss what worked well and which areas could do with improvement. This is great practice to stay on top of UX and design trends, as well as getting inspiration for our own projects.
This week’s review was on budget airline / travel apps. We wanted to review a complex journey that is carried out by many people. We design a lot of registration forms and a flight booking process is quite similar. It needs to be fun and not a tiresome experience. It should be just as exciting as registering your account, especially as it's booking a trip somewhere. We also use these apps to get ideas that we could apply to converting gaming customers.
EasyJet is one of the leading budget airlines in Europe which operates routes across 30 countries. They have a native app which allows users to book trips (flights and holidays altogether), view bookings, access boarding passes, track flights and book additional services.
- The app’s UI is clean and has vibrant imagery.
- The background imagery adds great contrast to the orange and white sections.
- The app feels true to EasyJet’s brand due to the tone of voice and presence of the orange colour.
- We loved the app launch animation. We feel that this went above and beyond a standard native splash screen.
- The Lucky Trip feature is great as it offers trips suited to your budget and offers inspiration if users aren’t sure where they’d like to go. The interface for selecting your budget, dates and type of trip is clearly laid out and easy to understand. It only asks users for the basic amount of information it needs to find a trip.
- Once a user has selected their dates for arrival and departure, the app provides them with additional dates and prices 7 days on either side of their originally selected date. This is helpful as it provides users with additional information that allows them to pick an alternative date or price faster.
- When selecting a flight, users have the option to display their flight prices in a different currency. This is handy for international travellers who use the app as they can get a better idea of costs.
- The app displays a family of icons for easier scannability and to reflect any airline updates, e.g. ‘no flight’ guy. The empty state when no flights are available on a certain day has a fun animation that reflects the EasyJet brand and attempts to make a disappointing situation a bit more lighthearted.
- Out of the three apps we reviewed, EasyJet offered the quickest way to book a flight. This was due to booking steps being clear and each step didn’t over burden you with information.
- The prices don’t stand out very well from all the orange and white on the screen. This feels like an intentional design choice, so the price doesn’t stand out as much. A way of improving the styling of pricing would be to include some sort of colour indication of low and high pricing, along with iconography to make it accessible for colour blind users.
- Onboarding could be improved by explaining why you should enable notifications (e.g. reminders about flights).
- CTAs don’t look like CTAs. This is due to the flat user interface and padding around certain buttons. If the buttons had a slight drop shadow and centered text it would indicate to users that they can tap on this area for the next step in the process.
- While the app does provide users with the airport gate, it comes through very close to the gate closing time. If this could happen half an hour before gate opening and include reminders it would be super helpful.
Ryanair is another airline that operates budges flights across 35 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It’s probably one of the most controversial in terms of its prices and service, however, it still remains one of the largest and most frequently travelled with operators.
- Ryanair’s design team completely overhauled their previous iOS app in 2015 and have been making small, incremental changes to it since. The app’s interface is clear and easy to navigate, its interface elements feel on brand and the app has custom illustrations and animations that make it feel high end.
- Flight selection is a fluid process - it highlights available dates/flights on calendar
- Good use of colour - it’s on brand and these colours are used well across different elements.
- Offers notifications to check in etc. Users receive notifications a week before Check-In. This is a helpful push to remind users to check in, helping them to not leave it till last minute and/or end up checking in at the airport.
- Seat selection is updated according to what you see on screen. When selecting your seat, the app provides a clear, easy to understand interface that shows you the layout of the seating arrangement. It gives customers a visual cue as to what seats are available.
- Services are split into categories within the app, such as Car Hire or Extra Luggage, so users could easily pick additional services for their trip.
- The travel info is contained in an accordion, which is easy to access when needed.
- Too much cross selling and asking to book extra services. While this is a great way for Ryanair to make money, it does feel overwhelming for the user with more adverts/services being offered than the core app features (e.g. book a flight, access flight info etc). There should be a better balance that doesn’t feel too pushy.
- While the “Choose your Seat” interface is great, it’s not very clear where you can sit if you don’t wish to pay £7.00 - 19.00 for the luxury of knowing where you’ll be placed or having additional leg room.
- Prices should be shown on calendar. This feature on the EasyJet app would make it faster and easier for customers to find the cheapest flights around their selected flight dates.
- It isn’t clear that by tapping on your initials on the right hand side that it will autofill your passenger details. While the feature is good, we’d recommend changing this to a button to indicate that it’s an action that can be carried out.
- It doesn’t tell you how many steps you have in details/customer info. The journey from start to finish feels longer than the EasyJet app. This is partly due to the various cross-selling and micro interactions within each step. The more additional steps included, the slower the action feels as it increases the user’s cognitive load when asked to choose from four different seat types and prices.
- When a flight is delayed, the app isn’t updated accordingly and doesn’t offer further information.
- The app doesn’t provide gate information which would be useful for a lot of customers while waiting in the airport.
Flybe is the largest independent regional airlines in Europe and serves 15 countries.
- The hub is simple, clean and easy to find what you are looking for by breaking it up into five sections.
- The flight summary is clear.
- Animations are great. The user interface animations are smooth and prompts the user with what information to look at next. An example of this is on the flight times listings where the cards animate onto the screen in order of time of day.
- The app’s UI is clear and easy to read. We especially liked the illustrations and flight cards.
- The flight booking journey is great and we like that it shows the number of steps for filling out details.
- While the UI is clear, it looks quite sparse and could do with additional visuals to reflect the different destinations it offers flights to.
- Errors aren’t highlighted while you’re entering personal details and the user is only notified when they go to the next step. This adds extra time for finding and correcting errors and could be done earlier in the process.
- In the destination field, the bigger focus is placed on airport abbreviations rather than the place (e.g. MAN vs Manchester) and it might be confusing for some. The city is shown in smaller font. We think this could be swapped round as most users want to get to a particular city and not the airport.
- Boarding pass - you need to be always connected when using mobile pass but airports are bad for signal. If a user wishes to view their boarding pass, they must be connected to the internet. This is really annoying when boarding a flight as most airports have poor signal. When a user is queueing to board, they have to keep the page active so they don’t have to wait for it to reupload.
- Errors during date selection aren’t clear. This is due to one way flights being the default selection, so users have to tap on the return field to then select a return date. To deselect a return date, the user has to select the departure date, which doesn’t feel intuitive.
- “My Details” displays the basic name, email address, phone number and home address, but doesn’t allow users to edit these details. They have to log into the Flybe website to carry out this action. Considering you can create an account on the app, you would expect to be able to edit account details within it.
- Doesn’t feel there’s any brand personality. While the app does make use of the three main brand colours, it lacks any personality (which can be seen in the EasyJet and Ryanair apps).
These are our quick observations just from briefly using these apps and it’s a great practice for us to keep taking note of the positive and negative elements to improve our own work. If you need help with designing your product, get in touch with us below.