Usability Case Study: Tripadvisor

Proposing improvements to the responsive mobile website

Illustrations: Giacomo Bagnara

“There’s good out there.”

Source: Tripadvisor

The scenario

The user type to be worked on was already provided in this challenge. It will be a young couple looking for a summer vacation of their dreams, with enough money saved for airline tickets and six months to plan the whole thing ahead of time. They want to get around but also have nice little moments together. The destination? Rome, the Eternal City! The capital of Italy and one of the cradles of human civilization. Home to many imposing palaces, thousand-year-old cathedrals, big monuments, statues, glorious fountains, and ancient squares, not to mention the Vatican being just by the corner. It also has a vibrant nightlife and quite a market for fashion lovers, making it one of the most visited locations in the world. No wonder it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Speaking of wonder, the downtown holds one of the Seven World Wonders: The Colosseum — which will also be subjected to this study as part of two of the user tasks.

First steps

The starting point was benchmarking Kayak, Skyscanner, and Tripadvisor through a heuristic analysis to try to find usability problems, and it was quite a surprise to identify issues in them all. The mobile site is probably not their most streamlined experience, but that’s what we got for today. All in all, this was a great way to get to know the companies and visualize possible solutions from one to another.

Jakob Nielsen’s ten heuristic principles benchmark. Click to view.
Yes! In Portuguese! Click to navigate :D

Pain Points

Pain Points, problems I’m working on:


Too many options and no choice makes Jack a dull boy.

When users face too many choices, it can be demotivating. According to Professor Sheena Iyengar of Columbia Business School, it’s a jam problem. In the mid-’90s, Iyengar — at the time a doctoral student at Stanford — conducted an experiment at a grocery store with 24 flavors of jam, that would challenge the number of choices vs. purchase rate. In the end, they found out that even though more choices may attract more people, when it comes down to actually making the choice, they are more likely to purchase when they see fewer options.

“As both the number of options and the information about options increases, people tend to consider fewer choices and to process a smaller fraction of the overall information available regarding their choices.”

Iyengar, Sheena, and Mark R. Lepper. “When Choice Is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79, no. 6 (December 2000): 995–1006.

Future ideas

Map explorer: Why not give the map the spotlight? It could be a very interesting feature to have users explore their destinations by map.

To be Continued…

UX/UI Designer from São Paulo, Brazil