The new platform replaces the entire existing mobile journey, with significant new features to create a more mobile-friendly experience. It also will enable lastminute.com, Travelocity and Zuji.com to tap into the fast-growing mobile-web channel for travel search and purchase, expected to grow at a double-digit rate and likely become the dominant revenue channel for the industry within the next three years.
Mobile First design
Mobile is increasingly becoming the primary way of accessing the internet, so it makes sense that mobile use should increasingly weigh into UX design. Upon consultation from ThoughtWorks, lastminute.com elected to build the new platform using Mobile First design. Mobile First is the idea that web sites should first be designed for mobile devices, with just the features that mobile website visitors use most. Then as screen real estate increases, functionality is progressively enhanced for optimisation on the device it is rendered on.
Informed by Lean principles, the process is democratic, and focused on delivering business value as fast as possible. Anyone in the business unit can contribute new product feature ideas; it’s as transparent a process as writing up the concept and sticking it on a wall in the product team room.
The best ideas are given to analytics to evaluate by looking at current traffic, customer behaviour, and other business data.
UX designers begin sketching, creating HTML prototypes, or working with developers using sketch-to-code prototyping. A prototype is very quickly available for user testing, guerrilla testing, and fast and frequent feedback.
On the delivery side, Continuous Delivery adds a level of testing, deployment automation and confidence that mitigates risk, and takes advantage of all the feedback from the discovery process.
Revving the Innovation Engine
One of the first new ideas submitted was a “Hotels near me tonight” feature for mobile users of lastminute.com. The idea was supported by analytics showing that a large segment of lastminute.com customers booked hotels “just in time” – for the very night they were performing their searches. The product team approved moving to prototyping and market testing.
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