Brussels Airlines - case at Belgian Usability Day 2008


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Case presented at the Belgian Usability day by Audrey Benoit (Brussels airlines) & Raphaël de Robiano (Emakina). More info on

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  • FOR 3 years
  • Audrey introduit le contexte
  • I’m going to present you the mission of experience we have made for the redesign of brussels airlines website.

    A brand is the sum total of all of the interactions between the customer & the products.

  • The perception a user has of Bair is determined by his experience across these touchpoints.

    Web is one of those touchpoints and we had to work on it.
  • What we have to do as a IA, usability expert or interaction designer, is to Understand the global user experience
    What are the different touchpoints?
    When do they interact with the user?
    What is their role in the global process?
    What is the global lifecycle of the relation between the brand and the user?

  • In general people making usability are focused on pages? That’s not bad, but go further.

  • Think to sitemap, interactions between pages, flowmap, labels.

  • But your website is not alone, it is in interaction with others services, websites: the online ecosystem (extranet, intranet, blogs, mobile, search engines, etc)

  • But this kis not the end, what you can add is the offline worl (the reral world) that is also in interaction with the online one.

    This is global experience. The main idea is to work on the site in its environement.
  • One of our objectives with Brussels Airlines website’s redesign was to improve the full experience of a customer though its travel journey.

  • OK, now you know what we have done.

    Lets tell you how we have done it and what we learned.
  • Here is the methodology we decided to follow…
  • At Emakina, we don’t just build websites.

    We are also thinking it and optimizing it.

    In the first one we gather the information

    In the second one we conceive the pages, the sitemap etc

    And in the last we test and fix the issues

    For the Bair v02, we had the chance to use a lot of methodologies.

    Experience mission was part of this methodology.
  • Of course we are the users defenders and we just want to take care of them.

    But we have a client who has its own objectives and who is the person who knows the best his business.

    That’s why, for example, we have met the Reward Programm responsibles of Brussels Airlines.

     AUDREY: contexte interne

  • We have worked on 5 personas.

    This can help to identify the needs of every target group and take them into account during the conception with scenarios based on these different users’ needs.

  • We completely forgot all we knew about taking a plane, booking, etc.

    We were simply travellers of Brussels Airlines.

    For this most exciting mission what we have done is to live the Brussels Airlines Experience as a client, customer.

    We were there just to do it and observe.


    We had 2 scenario’s:

    The first one was:
    We have seen promotions in the street and we are looking for a low cost flight.
    We want to make a week end city trip at Prague at the end of the month.
    We will book online & use the web checkin. We had a luggage and flight in Blight, the (Audrey?) bair ticket.

    The second was:
  • We just made an invetory of the existing content.

    And defined what you will to remove, change of keep.

  • We also made a benchmark.

    The goal was to extract the best practices of the major competitors.
  • Call center issues
  • We have the content we want to put, we need a struture:

    We had to
    - Enummerate
    - Categorize
    - Structure it

    To get the sitemap

  • One of the most important User Interface component is the menu:

    You have to display tise sitemap in a relevant navigation system.

  • Have to design the grid in which you will put compenents.

    This will add more consistency in all the pages of the website.

    The new Bair website will follow this grid.
  • This is wireframing fase
    the blue items are clicable
    the orange ones are highlights.

    We worked on the homepage, the subhomepages, the booking engine, the promo finder, etc

    During workshops: iterative work with the client.
  • Functional x Estethic level

    A designer is going to design it and to challenge it.

    You can see this is not exactly the same. Audrey do you know why?

  • Now we are going to evaluate what we have conceived …
  • Users tests: this is the final check, the final confirmation.

    We used an eyetracker (a tool to track where people are looking at) and some scenarios (could you tell me if you can fly to Brazil with Bair?, Where would you manage your reservation?, You need to book a seat to Lisbon, where will you go to do that?)

    Thanks to the eytracker you can track where people looked the most (heatmap) and where they looked firstly (gaze plots).

    Based on results we made some recommendations
  • Now some illustrations …
  • Taking a flight is not always nice and easy!

  • You arrive at the airport.

    Where is my desk?
  • In 5 minutes, this is the rush !!!
  • You’re controlled but you’re late !!!!
  • Lot of queues, but you don’t have time.

    You run run and run again.

    And a very long time to wait the boarding gate to open
  • You need your boarding pass because this is a codeshare flight and you have made a drop off …


    Ok, that great because I have my passenger ticket and the information must be on it!!!
  • Heu I don’t understand everything of this ticket gave by the website…
  • These steps can b

    For this kind of mission, you need to forget everything you know! Be a kid for some hours.
    e a real nightmare!
  • Discover the world again.

    forget everything you know!
  • For this kind of missions, take a dummy guy
  • and a very smart girl!!!

    More seriously …

    Be at least 2:
    Different profile people
    taking picture of the other
  • Because this is a new exprerience for you, take lot of
  • The time

    Just thinking « at this step, what is happening? »
  • The touchpoints

    What are the opportunities for the website in this travel show?

    Is it consitent?
  • The topics

    Which products names did we meet during the experience?

    In this tag cloud, the bigger are the most seen of course.
  •  Be honest

  • During the whole experience we meet what we call « moments of truth ».

    The first thing to do is to identify these moments of truth during experience.
  • arriving at the border,

    you realize that you can’t have bottles… but you have a new perfume bottle in your bag…

    but this is too late.

    That’s a moment of truth.
  • After having identified all of them, you have to find solutions to avoid these moments in the experience.

    Our solution for this issue was to provide to people a reminder of all the prohibited item WHEN THEY ARE DOING THEIR BAGGAGES.

    In fact we will provide a travel guide with all the information the user will need from the end of the booking to the return: He will get a document with all the information he will need: VISA, VACCINS, BAGGAGES, AIRPORT, currency, etc

     AUDREY 1, 2 et 3
  • Let’s take an example to illustrate the impact of our travel experience mission.

  • Let’s take an example to illustrate the impact of our travel experience mission.

  • Let’s take an example to illustrate the impact of our travel experience mission.

  • Another example is the « practial information section ».

    This is with the destination section, the part with the most content in the website.

    Lot of information about baggages, chekin, onboard services, etc

  • To structure this content we just use this timeline again.

  • Because you know in which state will be the user visiting a certain page, you can adapt this page.

    For example, the booking engine will not be present on every pages of the website because he is not always there to buy.
  • People don’t use the interface your building as you think. Let’s illustrate this.

    What’s in the users’ mind?

    SOLUTION: user tests!
  • On the project & with users

    During definition of the products, names, etc

  • (users, business, designers, developer, marketers, PM, etc)
  • AUDREY  25%
  • Some examples

    ADSL installation
    - Furniture remover
    Energy installation
  • Some examples

    ADSL installation
    - Furniture remover
    Energy installation
  • Brussels Airlines - case at Belgian Usability Day 2008

    1. 1. 1 Travel experience Brussels airlines case
    2. 2. Audrey Head of e-business at Brussels airlines 2
    3. 3. Raphaël Communication / design / usability Information Architect at Emakina Blogger - BUD ‘07 & 08 3
    4. 4. Introduction 4
    5. 5. 5
    6. 6. The experience is the brand ! 6
    7. 7. 7
    8. 8. Understand this global user experience. 8
    9. 9. 9
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. 11
    12. 12. 12
    13. 13. Redesign of Brussels Airlines’ website in improving the full experience of a customer through his/her travel journey. 13
    14. 14. Agenda Methodology Some key findings Conclusions 14
    15. 15. Part 1. Methodology 15
    16. 16. Think > Build > Run 16 Experience mission Content analysis Benchmark Business interviews Personas Research & insight Sitemap Zoning Navigation Wireframing Design <HTML/> User test Eyetracking
    17. 17. Think 17
    18. 18. Think > Business interviews 18 Users needs Business objectives Value
    19. 19. Think > Personas 19 Business traveller 35-50 years old Product: Bflex & Business Frequent flyer Travel early in the morning Time is money > save time Like to work during travelling (space to work, information on Wifis, Internet spots, plug computer during flight) Mobile usage (mobile checkin) Price doesn’t matter/Time table is key Fast booking – online booking – online checkin
    20. 20. Think > Experience mission 20 Scenario 1 « We have seen promotions. We need a lowcost flight for a weekend in Prague » Scenario 2 « We have a business meeting in Lisbon on 02/11. »
    21. 21. Think > Content analysis 21
    22. 22. Think > Benchmark 22
    23. 23. Think > Reseach & insight 23 Google survey 2007
    24. 24. Build 24
    25. 25. Build > Sitemap definition 25 1. Enumeration 2. Categorization 3. Structuring
    26. 26. Build > Navigation definition 26
    27. 27. Build > Zoning 27 Homepage & subhomepages zoning Content pages zoning
    28. 28. Build > Wireframing 28 First proposition Validated version
    29. 29. Build > Design 29 wireframe Design
    30. 30. Run 30
    31. 31. Run > User tests 31 Heatmaps Gaze plots
    32. 32. Part 2 some key findings 32
    33. 33. About the Experience Mission 33
    34. 34. Where should I go ? 34
    35. 35. What time is it and when should I leave? 35
    36. 36. Security rules 36 Controls, warning & prohibition
    37. 37. Waiting and queuing 37
    38. 38. 38  Boarding pass  Check-in  E-ticket  Security check point  Flight number  Reservation number  B.Light  Miles  Drop off  Express check-in  Code share Are we all familiar with these notions ?
    39. 39. Passenger ticket Ok. And where is it? What does it mean? Is it a key information for my next steps? I don’t understand everything…
    40. 40. Step by step … 40 Airport arrival Check in Drop off Tax freeBorder control Security check point Boarding gate Flight Airport depature Luggages VIP lounge Boarding
    41. 41. 41 Discover the world again
    42. 42. 42 Be at least two people
    43. 43. 43 To share, analyze, look differently…
    44. 44. 44 Take pics, screenshots, leaflets & notes
    45. 45. Analyse insights throughout 3 axes: 45
    46. 46. I’m booking my travel 46 « I’m booking my travel » « I’m travellingTICKET - Where is my ticket and which email should I bring to the Airport - What are the next steps? •The check-in: which will give me my true ticket: the boarding pass •The weight limitation of my luggage and what I’m allowed to bring •When should I arrive to the airport? - What should I know at this step ?
    47. 47. 47 When and how will I be in contact with Brussels Airlines? Brussels Airlines has a big stand. Brussels Airlines speaks about Brussels Airlines.  I only receive corporate information about the company  It doesn’t answer to my questions: Where to go ? How much ? When ? At the Brussels Travel show 2008
    48. 48. 48 More than 17 different product names B light Blight Economy B.light economy economy Blight economy – B flex Business class Economy Class Bflex Economy + B flex Economy B.flex or Business Business B Economy Economy B Business BFlex Business BFlex Privilege gold B Flex Privilege platinium
    49. 49. 49 Your mission  to identify - Divergences - Unconsistencies - Weaknesses - Moment of truth and all the opportunities the website could help to improve the experience.
    50. 50. Moments of truth 50 Airport arrival Check in Drop off Tax freeBorder control Security check point Boarding gate Flight Airport depature Luggages VIP lounge Boarding
    51. 51. Moments of truth 51 Airport arrival Check in Drop off Tax freeBorder control Security check point Boarding gate Flight Airport depature Luggages VIP lounge Boarding I have a perfume bottle, but this is too late…
    52. 52. Moments of truth 52
    53. 53. From the experience to the website … 53
    54. 54. Experience timeline 54 I want to travel I’m booking my travel I’m travelling I’m back from my travel BEFORE DURING AFTER Find a price a destination a timetable a company D-1 ! Ticket passenger , checkin & boarding pass D+1! Miles Feedback …
    55. 55. Experience timeline to navigation 55 I want to travel I’m booking my travel I’m travelling I’m back from my travel
    56. 56. From Timeline to Information Architecture 56
    57. 57. From Timeline to Information Architecture 57 I want to travel I’m booking my travel I’m travelling I’m back from my travel
    58. 58. From Timeline to contextualization 58 I want to travel I’m booking my travel I’m travelling I’m back from my travel
    59. 59. About user tests … 59
    60. 60. User tests > People & geography 60
    61. 61. User tests  datepicker 61
    62. 62. Conclusions 62
    63. 63. Start the earlier the better 63
    64. 64. Forget everything you know! 64
    65. 65. Collaborate with the most people as possible 65
    66. 66. Test 66
    67. 67. Keep track of results 67
    68. 68. An experience mission is possible for any service company 68
    69. 69. Don’t only think the experience, live it! 69
    70. 70. Thanks Questions? Remarks? Insults? 70