During the month of July, Travelogic ran a User Research project, the very first of its kind in the company’s history. We visited 10 clients’ offices, with sessions we originally expected to be at most 2 hours, lasting closer to 5 in most cases – we sat, we listened, we began to empathise.
I am Jared, Travelogic’s very own User Experience Designer. I was brought on to help the team better understand our clients and their needs, wants and goals. To do this it was determined important that we start at the core of where business takes place, in their offices! Together with MD and Product Management expert Terri Boshoff, we kicked off User Research Project 1 – The Consultants Flow.
Through an observation study, we would watch and learn while immersed in the natural environment in which consultants and their teams make magic happen daily. Using screen recording technology, we set out to observe and report on their interactions with Travelogic, to better understand their current flow vs their desired flow.
Then, in individual interview-like sessions, again with consultants, we hoped to uncover more about their feelings – likes, dislikes and motivations for using Travelogic.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED
1) What we did not expect to find out so early-in was that so much happens before consultants even touch or think of using Travelogic.
- There is a lot of to and fro via email between consultants and their agents/clients when trying to get adequate info about a trip in order to create a request;
- Pen & paper is still the first point of call for most consultants when planning itineraries;
- Not every request is added directly onto Travelogic – 3rd party integrations are in play;
2) Not everyone uses Travelogic in the same way either. Experiences differ from consultant to consultant, even in the same company – “Add services vs Find services”
3) Not everyone feels the same about the system – “Its my baby!”, “Arrrrrrggggghhhhh”, “These vouchers are now something else!”
5) And sadly, not everyone feels the same about Travelogic as a service provider – “We felt very much alone”
6) Oh, and no one uses “Messages”. No one. #sadface
“Our biggest competitor is Excel” – Terri Boshoff
This 16-year old tour operating software product of ours, purpose-built to operate your travel business, is solving only a sliver of what it was intended to.
One thing that we were even more stoked about, was the resilience of TL users (finance, accounts, admin staff included) and more specifically the consultants. It seems ingrained in them to be problem solvers, and even through times when they feel alone, neglected by TL or left to their own devices in a storm of “Object Reference” hell – they make it out to the other side.
For the warm greetings, smiles, eagerness to chat to us and hundreds of glasses of water – we thank you!
The above, along with the hundreds of bullet points that filled our notebooks pages and sticky notes (all of them), is why it’s of utmost importance to get user feedback. Only through a research project like this can you get first hand experience of how different individual tour operating businesses (or any business for that matter) function, and we believe that in those nuances lie the key to build better, more user-centric products.
We have learned so much, and none of it would have been possible without you.
There’s only one way we could actually truly thank you – watch this space…