The goal for the project was to set the vision for the future of online booking with Eurotunnel, and to produce a strategy both from a user experience standpoint, and technical capability for the organisation to follow for the next 5 years. This project done whilst working at Lightmaker UK.
My primary role on the project was Lead User Experience Architect, liaising with the stakeholder group and acting as producer within the design studio. Although the work was to set the vision for the future of Eurotunnel online, I worked closely with the Head of Technology, the in-house development team in Calais, and the programme managers at Eurotunnel to continually review and assess what constraints we may be able to overcome both short and long-term in order to achieve our vision.
When your website generates an average of £100-£200 million per annum, even a 1% drop off due to a poor sales funnel is costly. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle wanted a new booking engine that would focus on , allow future growth, product offerings and ensure that the revenue stream remains stable. Their primary source of revenue comes from online booking but both the website and booking systems had not been reviewed or developed on since 2005.
Research & Analysis
After interviewing all 20 stakeholders in the project; including the CEO, and board members from both the English and French offices, the first task was to conduct competitor analysis, researching and conducting expert evaluations against the top 5 direct competitors then benchmarking them against organisations outside of the direct market that excel in e-commerce. A report was created highlighting what each competitor did well and poorly with takeaways from each. This helped us set our own metrics for success.
Using heuristic analysis I conducted a usability audit of the existing booking module and mapped the current purchase journeys, logging all the entry points in order to highlight potential areas for optimisation. This was presented to the client in person and a report provided.
Multilingual User Testing
I ran a series of user tests with Morae; user test recording software with both English and French users (with the help of a 3rd party agent to do translation). I wanted to see what cultural differences (if any) there were between bookers in the UK and on the Continent. I created a highlight reel and report based on the findings These were presented to the stakeholders to encourage discussion and understanding of the importance of have user centred design within the system.
Product Management and Planning
With all the research conducted I worked with the Eurotunnel Programme Manager to formalise a product backlog, that would allow us to determine what we thought to be of high importance to the success of the system. This prioritisation was done in a collaborative workshop with the entire stakeholder team so that everyone was agreed on what the focus of our output would be. At this stage we agreed that a prototype which could be put into a pilot programme was our intended goal. This resulted in development a contract for a longer programme of work with the client that would span up to 2 years.
Personas and User Stories
I spent a day with the marketing team in Folkestone to review and extend their pre-existing personas. These were based on nationality as well as travel habits, but were lacking nuances. Using a number of design games, we were able to make our personas more rounded and began constructing user stories that matched their needs as travellers – not how they use the booking engine.
The user stories gave us insight into how the booking engine needed to react based on certain scenarios. For example, it would need to provide immediate bookings for , who whilst on holiday in Belgium needed to return to England at short notice due to family emergency. How could we ensure she would make it to the next train? Would she be able to use her existing return ticket? And so on.
Stories were shared with the stakeholder group to reflect and consider opportunities to meet these user needs before I created user flows through the existing booking engine with the purpose of optimising the funnel, matching the user needs with key steps in the path and removing any barriers.
Finally we reached a wireframing process. I used Axure RP to create heavily annotated interactive wireframes. These wireframes included the logic to be able to run simulations of each of the user story/flows we had created. They contained notes on how this could be achieved today and considerations for things that would need to change within the organisation process for them to work in the future. These were reviewed weekly then daily towards the end of the process going through several iterations with the stakeholder group.
Responsive Design & Digital Strategy
For the purpose of stepping through the journey’s the wireframes were developed with view in mind, but I wanted to emphasise the value of responsive design; that year Eurotunnel launched a m. domain, already a dated concept, however they were already seeing significant increases in traffic and purchases through the domain.
I presented to the board of directions a strategy for moving the entire platform onto a responsive codebase, how this would increase their conversion rate and reduce their development costs. This included a roadmap of how this could be achieved by using the mobile domain as a trojan horse, eventually resulting in a fully responsive site in under a year.
After completing a number of wireframe based prototypes, I worked with the studio and the in-house developers in Calais to design a new API for the booking engine back-end systems that would allow us to create a high-fidelity prototype that could use real-time data for the purpose of testing. This would then become a pilot project managed in-house and resulted in the next iteration of the booking engine being launched in 2014.