Ironhack’s Pre-work: Challenge Three

Skyscanner’s App

Victor (B) Athayde
5 min readOct 16, 2020

Author’s note: The case study presented below is the result of a pre-work, a UX /UI Ironhack’s Bootcamp warm-up.

Skyscanner is a metasearch engine and travel agency based in Edinburgh, Scotland and owned by Group, the largest online travel agency in China.

If you research their website’s branding section, you may find paragraphs demystifying their new logo, color palette, typography, appealing photographies, friendly illustrations and aesthetic iconography.

However, even with all miscellaneous design assets found on their website, Skyscanner still can serve as a case study for usability improvements.

Why Skyscanner

Three apps were considered for this case study: Kayak, Skyscanner and Trip Advisor.

Using Jakob Nielsen’s 10 general principles for interaction design, a Usability Heuristics Evaluation was conducted to identify which one performed better.

Usability Heuristics Evaluation Table comparing the three apps mentioned
Usability Heuristics Evaluation Table

Once Trip Advisor’s app seems to be following another path — as a tourist guide instead of a travel planner — and the Kayak was missing something out, the Skyscanner’s has been the chosen one to be worked out.

For Young Tourists

In order to test Skyscanner app out, a target audience was chosen.

Friends dancing outdoors
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Young group — 20–40 y/o
You and your friends have decided to invest and spend some quality time together. You are planning your trip one year in advance to really make it happen and accommodate everybody’s schedules and needs. You’d like to share as much time together and plan for a lot of fun. You’re interested in a mix of culture and leisure. You have all saved for the last year for the trip so, while you’re still price-conscious this is the opportunity to spoil yourselves.


Captivating newbie Skyscanner users in uncertain times to travel can be such a challenge, however, it was easy once the cherry-picked destination was among the seven wonders of the modern world.

Photo by David Köhler on Unsplash

Visiting Colosseum from Brazil can take a few steps:

  • An up to date passport (no visa required)
  • Currency exchange from R$ to € = € 1,00 = R$ 6,55
  • A flight to Rome: GRU Airport, São Paulo, to Fiumicino International Airport “Leonardo da Vinci” — Rome
  • A Hotel Room
  • A rental car (or check for public transportation)
  • At least two days to visit the whole attraction; the Colosseum (the Arena, the Palatine Forum area and SUPER sites)

Five-second and Usability Tests

Using UsabilityHub — a remote user research platform — six targeted users were given 5 seconds to take a look at the app home screen and answer three questions:

What did you see?

What can this tool do for you?

Where would you search for a flight?

A day after the five-second test, three remote task-based interviews were carried out, where the participants were asked to download Skyscanner’s app and had to work a sentence out:

You and three friends are going to visit the Coliseum; plan a 7-day trip to Rome: search for flights, hotels and transportation using the app.


While performing their tasks, they were asked to narrate their acts and conflicts out loud — you know, Covid times.

As a result, some notes were written down and pondered — as seen bellow.

Skyscanner homepage
Skyscanner Homepage

Notes: After creating their first trip, two-thirds of the participants missed a note taking feature while building their travel itinerary.

Skyscanner’s Trips add feature is limited by three options: Flight, Hotel and Trip — meaning that users need leave the app in order to create a to-do or check list, for exemple.

Patterns: When using the application, all three respondents were lost in saving their faves and returning to the home page at least once.

Flight, Hotels and Car Hire serach pages
Skyscanner's Lack of Pattern

Analyzing a few key-screens, it is possible to conclude that each category’s search page have a different pattern: while the Flights’ page has a small Favorite button in each result, the Hotels’ allows you to save a result to your trip only if you select one of the list first; and the Car Hire’s redirects you to a car rental company without a saving option.

In addition, the sorting and filtering features are diverse for each of the pages.

Once these two insights summarize the main pain points, we better use them for our first iteration’s focus.


Design Thinking with a Paper Prototype
Defining a Pattern
Creating Customizable Options for your Trip
Maps Integration

As you can check from the images above, Skyscanner current color palette is not an issue, so all usability improvements were thought in a greyscale way.

Since we are talking about usability, nothing more intuitive than a interactive prototype — here you go!

If you were hoping for a quick conclusion, just have in mind that designing anything is an endless iteration process and this article is just the first sprint.

Thank you for reading!



Victor (B) Athayde

A UX / UI Designer. A mad scientist, a curious problem solver, always learning to provide a unique experience.