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Attention dog owners!

Fly Fido is a booking website where you can conveniently add Fido to your flight!

 

Most airlines' current steps involve initially booking your own flight online, then calling separately into Reservations to reserve a spot for your dog(s).

If the maximum number of pets on that flight has already been filled, the customer has to start the process all over again.

I suspect that dog owners flying with their dog for the first time are unclear of the process on how to go about adding their dog to their airline flight; along with finding helpful information.

I believe dog owners have a need for a website where they can conveniently book their dog(s) all online; plus, they have easy access to valuable information on how to prepare their dog for flight. This will help users save time and feel confident that they adequately secured a spot for both themself and their dog.

competitive feature analysis

Looking at pet-related websites and direct competitors reveals how the non-booking websites contain essential information, and booking sites may not have all the necessary information.

Pros

They are all great sources of information for airline policies, preparing a dog before & during a flight, what one needs to do at the airport and/or sell items one may need to fly their dog.

Cons

Not all their information is up-to-date, and there is no flight booking feature.

Dog jaunt

Pets Pyjamas

USDA

comparative analysis - indirect

bring fido

Pet travel

comparative analysis - direct

OVERALL—

Pros

In general, most airlines allow some sort of pet travel, whether in-cabin and/or down below in cargo.

Cons

They have different restrictions and processes.

major airlines

(Alaska, American, Delta & Southwest)

Pros

They allow traveling with a dog both in-cabin and cargo, plus essential information is provided.

Cons

It is mandatory to call in advance to Reservations to first check if there is any available space to add your dog onto the flight.

Flight Aggregators

(Booking.com, Kayak, Travelocity)

Pros

The ability to search and compare across multiple airlines for flights at within one place.

Cons

There is no information or a feature to add a dog onto a flight in-cabin or by cargo.

United Airlines

Pros

They have the option online to add one small pet per adult (in-cabin only) using their Advance Search feature.

Cons

The Advance Search description states it being for multi-city booking and upgrades. Trying to find where to add your dog onto a flight is unclear.

User Interviews

Participants

I found 6 different dog owners, all of whom have at least flown once with their dog(s). Each participant came from different backgrounds, occupations, and varied in age.

3 of the interviews were done over video chat; the other 3 in person.

Interview goals

  Learn about their process of adding their dog to their flight

  Learn if they had any likes and/or dislikes in general

  Learn about any ideas & experiences they want to share

  Learn about what type of information they looked for

  Learn about how they felt before, during & after booking

  Learn about where else they did research

As much as I wanted confirmation from those that I interviewed to share the same confusion other friends and I experienced, it was best to ask general questions about flying and their process. This way, if there were other pain points the dog owners faced, this would bring up other areas to research and pivot ideas as needed.

Synthesizing research

Key Findings

5 out of 6 Participants found the process of adding their dog to an airline flight stressful, inconvenient, time-consuming, and/or unclear.

4 out of 6 felt that they had to look elsewhere for more information on how to prepare their dog for the entire travel experience. (before, at the airport, during flight, airport pet relief areas)

 

5 out of 6 wished the process did not include calling into Reservations to add their dog to their booking.

Persona

From all the insights I gathered from the interviews, it lead me to create this persona. Of course, she is a dog owner and is someone who enjoys spending time with their little fido. When possible, they travel together, whether it's by car, train or air. This persona would want the convenience of booking their flight and their dog all on-line with the feeling of security and confidence.

Age 34 | Divorced; Single | Project Manager | Tucson, Arizona 

I recently moved to Tucson for a new job position. I really do love this city because it is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States! I have my 3 year old Norwich Terrier that I absolutely adore to bits! I enjoy taking Jesse to whenever and wherever possible to places that allows dogs. I love that she can fly with me!

Behaviors

•  Likes most things organized

•  I tend to like things planned

•  I don’t like wasting time

•  I take Jesse to the park 

   every weekend possible

•  I enjoy walks with Jesse 

   every morning and evening

Frustrations

•  Not feeling prepared due to not being

   well-informed

•  Airline inconsistencies on flying with a dog

•  Entire process of adding Fido can be very     

   time-consuming

•  Calling the airline to find out if her Jesse 

   can be booked on her already booked flight

Goals

•  Have Jesse booked well in advance

•  Be well-informed on all to do

   before and during the flights

•  Be well prepared to avoid stress

   onto herself and to Jesse

•  Make sure her Jesse is happy!

Feature Prioritization

Ultimately the MVP is being able to book a flight for your dog all on-line. What is shown in blue are other possible features; the darker they are, the more likely they will be tested and/or implemented into the next version.

FF_Feature Prioritization.png

User storyboard

Below sketch is the initial scenario concept on how users would go about booking a flight with their fido. The end-user is familiar with generally booking flights for themselves and knowing how to navigate an airline or aggregator website. Fly Fido's website would include common UI patterns.

User Flow

Two User Flows are shown: One represents the possible paths that a new end-user may take, while the other is the most linear approach (most likely for a returning customer).

Card Sorting

Based on other airline competitors, I used common navigation menu titles. The card sorting process provided some clarity and helped to better understand the end-users approach on how the information should be grouped, in what order, what their patterns were, and the struggle or ease of use when displaying the cards.

3 of 6 participants initially felt overwhelmed or overthought the process. I reduced the number of cards, which made it more manageable for the rest of the participants. A couple of participants realized the familiar titles, and once it clicked, they were able to place the cards almost identically.

Sitemap

Based on the participants who understood the card sorting process, this sitemap I created will be the basis of my initial wireframes.

Wireframes

Low Fidelity

Initial concept sketches that were jotted down not considering any patterns yet.

Low Fidelity

Sketches soon updated using familiar patterns for user familiarity.

Medium Fidelity
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User Testing

The Goal

To have participants, in this case, I had seven, test the medium-fidelity prototype.

To observe the end user navigate through the prototype by following the task information that was provided. Each participant was given the same task.

User Scenario

Summer break with Fido! Time to book a roundtrip United Airline flight to San Francisco, leaving on the earliest scheduled flight that will allow your dog in-cabin on Saturday, July 13th. After a fun-filled week, plan on going back home to Tucson on the latest flight possible that has pet space for Fido on Sunday, the 21st. Don’t forget to print out your tickets!

Iterations

(before)

(after)

It is quite common when a user navigates a website for the first time; they do not always sign up right off the bat. In this scenario, the Sign In page appears right before the checkout process.

The initial Sign Up/Sign In page was a bit confusing since it announced "Welcome to Fly Fido." It gave the testers an impression that they somehow started over. The information was simplified and made clear it was a Sign In page to continue.

I added a seat selection feature to show the user where the other pets were situated within the cabin. However, after three Participants got stuck in that particular section, I realized that I should not have added that feature yet since it was not part of the MVP. That is a feature to add in the next steps.

I removed the seat selection and decided to keep it for future research and as a possible next step to add onto the website.

(before)

(after)

(before)

(after)

I realized that the participants understood the availability section, but I could tell there was some hesitation. Even though they were able to figure it out, their actions were slow. I decided to simplify the Pet Space Availability feature to an option within the Filter section on the left sidebar. This way, I could avoid the apparent usage of the green checkmarks and red Xs.

Hi-fidelity prototype

Key Learnings

•  I am not the primary end-user and to not make it personal.

•  Be able to let go of ideas and prioritize.

•  Pivot if and when necessary.

•  Learn from feedback, and don't take it personally.

Next Steps

Research and add features that will add value to the website where the user will be able to complete all that is necessary online.

•  Upload vaccination papers

•  Seating feature to see where the other pets are in cabin

•  Airport pet relief areas

©  TASHA H. KIM  2020
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