Kulula.com native mobile app prototype

Kulula app

Kulula app for tracking flights

I love travelling on Kulula (an airline company) and rate their online booking service very highly. Actually keeps me coming back because they have worked out a great experience for buying an airline ticket. The mobile version is not that different and taps into the existing functionality available on the desktop version. There were particular user experience scenarios I felt the mobile version did not effectively cater for and decide to create my own native app version. This is a glance into the User experience (UX) design process so far.

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UX strategy is about aligning the purpose of a product with the user’s requirements at any given time or in any given situation – Therasa Neil.

Let’s look at the creative thinking that I went through to create my mobile version of the airline company.

First part is to identify the actual users of my app and their needs.

I did research on Kulula’s current service offering, news articles, Hello Peter complaints from users, support queries and even asking my friends to zero in on the simple traveller’s tasks that would be suitable for a mobile device. Another thing I would have done would have been to go to the airport and do some contextual inquiry on waiting passengers. Big word for observing people in their natural setting. The point is to gain empathy and clarity on what airport passengers go through and then identify areas that could be improved upon.

The two groups, the native app is meant to target is
Group 1: Users who are traveling
Group 2: Users who want to pick-up or drop off a passenger from the airport
Let’s look at their needs.
Airport madness

Airport madness

Part of the user’s travel cycle is something like below.
Go to Kulula.com -> Book a flight -> Get transport to airport -> Check-in -> Board flight -> Get transport from the airport
Group 1 needs
The first group’s primary need is to book a flight from a mobile device. Their second most critical need is to get transport to the airport. A traveller might need a mobile location based service which identifies closest transport hubs, taxis or even shuttle bus. When the user arrives at the airport they need to check in and then board their plane at the right time. Our app could also remove the hassle of queueing up for check-in and help direct our user to the correct gate for boarding.
Group 2 needs

The second group arrive at the airport looking to pick-up or drop-off passengers. If you like me, I sometimes get lost in the airport. A map would be useful. Secondly and probably most frustrating is waiting for a delayed flight whilst my parking fee goes up. Solution, have functionality to track flights. That way I know when the flight comes in and I can coordinate my commute to the airport accordingly. No waiting or delay hassles.
Paper Prototyping

Paper prototyping of the screens and ideas. Iterative redesigning of ideas on paper makes it easy to change and adjust to users feedback.

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High level site map of the mobile app

High level site map of the mobile app

Visual designs

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Tracking Flights
Listing of departing flights and arrivals for a specific airport. Airport can be changed by swiping to the right or left. Flights displayed according to the present time and scrollable. Selection of one row brings up the screen below which offers the user the ability to track the flight based on its status.
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Visible status change
Once Track flight slider ON, a red notification for the tracked flight is displayed on the task bar.
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Lessons learnt:

Software products will continue to evolve especially when the user is at the fore of development. Companies should not be primarily concerned about getting a product out as early as possible and neglect how usable the product is in the customers’ hands. If they do so there will always a gap for a competitor to take advantage.

 

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