Guernsey's airline website
Oi, the largest creative and digital marketing agency in the Channel Islands, has been Aurigny’s retained agency for the past two years. In that time the agency pitched for, and won, the project to completely redesign and rebuild the airline’s online flight booking website - Aurigny.com. Arguably the most high-profile job for one of the most high-profile clients in Guernsey, this task was always going to be challenging at the very least.
It was paramount that the team understood what the general public wanted and expected from a new website, so we undertook extensive focus groups led by our research partner 4insight. From behind one-way glass the team and the client were able to hear, first-hand, what the users expected, and we learnt very quickly that this website was Guernsey’s life-line to the rest of the world and its importance couldn’t be understated.
The research was clear and unanimous, the public simply wanted a website that was easy to use.
The design team set about creating mock-ups and testing them on users using eye-tracking and one-to-one interviews to uncover real insight into what worked and what didn’t. This process proved invaluable, the team was able to iterate on designs quickly, giving almost instant feedback.
We used Marvel (marvelapp.com) as our platform for prototyping websites. This doesn’t mean wireframing though. We found wireframing had very little use when there were tools like Marvel at our disposal to help us bring flat visuals to life. Think of it as a sort of halfway-house between the flat visuals and a full final website build.
How a website looks is one thing, but how it feels to use is where the real value lies.
The first of the user-interface design tasks was to establish a visual language. This was important since a clear and simple visual language will successfully get users from A to B (literally!), but one created from arbitrary choices on colour and form only served to confuse users, causing massive booking delays.
After positive feedback from our second tranche of user eye-tracking and one-to-one interviews we moved into the development phase. The initial build was a year in the making and took 4,260 man hours. The build was particularly challenging as we were heavily restricted on functionality due to the underlying flight booking system we had to plug into.
This required a considerable amount of ‘thinking-outside-the-box’ and a bucket load of ‘can-do-attitudes’ to get many of the features off the ground.
We usually like to spend a lot of time testing and this project was no different. We call this the evaluation stage. No matter how smooth the process had been so far, we could never totally account for the human condition, and that generally, people are strange!
This stage kicked off with beta testing the site ready for launch. This involved mass user participation to iron out any usability edge cases derived from analytics and bug issues, which means that by the time we went live, we were all confident that the website was the best it could possibly be.
The final stage of this project was not actually part of this project! Confusing? Yes, but important. Throughout the development cycle of this project, there were features and ideas we all had which we’d liked to have implemented. But keeping the project in line with the original feature document was the primary goal, and this focus got the website over the line. So, this final stage was where we collated a ‘bucket list’ of extra features, costed them and gave them timings to complete. The client then rationally decided which features made it into a series of budgeted updates post-launch.
The results, comparing date ranges from the old website to the new website, proved it was an exercise worth undertaking.