Staying on top of the latest trends is crucial to creating engaging user experiences. In your work as a UI/UX designer, considering innovations in interface, functionality, and aesthetics allows you to develop digital products that not only appeal visually but also enable seamless interactions. Evaluating emerging best practices helps ensure your designs provide value and meet traveler needs and expectations. In this article, we will explore these UX trends in-depth, providing insights and strategies to integrate them effectively into your design process.
As a designer in the travel industry, adopting a mobile-first strategy is essential to provide the best user experience. This means optimising your travel app UI design and UX design primarily for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, before enhancing the experience on desktops.
With mobile searches and bookings continuing to increase year over year, travelers expect to easily access information and complete transactions on the go. A mobile-first approach delivers convenience, allowing users to book flights, rent cars, reserve hotel rooms, and more without switching devices.
When implementing mobile-first design:
- Prioritise information and features that enable users to complete key tasks quickly on smaller screens.
- Use responsive frameworks to automatically optimise page layouts across device sizes.
- Design with tap targets in mind — ensure buttons and links are large enough for accurate tapping.
- Check designs on actual mobile devices during development to ensure usability.
- Use mobile-friendly inputs like dropdowns and date pickers instead of free text fields.
- Include search and filtering to help users easily navigate options.
Adapting to continuous advances in mobile technology presents opportunities to further streamline travel planning and enhance each trip. Investing in UX through a mobile-first approach pays dividends across the entire customer journey.
Accessibility and Inclusive Design
As more people travel, websites and apps must be designed for users of all abilities and backgrounds. Accessible and inclusive design considers people’s diverse physical, cognitive, and technological capabilities and limitations. This allows more potential users to easily navigate and use your work.
Implementing accessibility and inclusive design provides benefits beyond being legally compliant. An accessible site attracts 28.6% more first-time site visitors. It also enhances brand reputation and loyalty by showing you value all customers equally.
To make your travel site truly accessible and inclusive:
- Ensure it meets WCAG 2.1 AA compliance for issues like color contrast, keyboard navigation, and alt text. Conduct audits to identify and fix gaps.
- Allow users to adjust text size, colors, animations, and timeouts in the UI to suit their needs.
- Use clear, descriptive language and structure content logically. Write alt text for images.
- Test site interactions by tabbing instead of clicking and using a screen reader. Strive for an intuitive linear flow.
- Provide captioning/transcripts for audio and accurate translations for non-English content.
- Follow best practices for link text, heading structure, and data tables to support screen readers.
Interactive and Real-Time Content
Interactive and real-time content is becoming essential for travel industry websites and apps to provide seamless user experiences. As a UX designer in the travel sector, focus on implementing the following trends:
- Personalisation: Provide custom recommendations and predictive suggestions based on the user’s previous browsing and purchases. This creates a tailored experience unique to each visitor.
- Augmented reality (AR): Incorporate AR features that overlay digital information onto the real-world camera view. For example, enable users to visualise how a hotel room or tour location looks before booking.
- Dynamic pricing: Show real-time price fluctuations and availability to give users transparency into deals and encourage booking conversions.
- Location-based features: Offer options based on the user’s location to provide contextually relevant information. This includes notifications about nearby attractions or locale-specific travel tips.
By focusing on these kinds of cutting-edge interactive and real-time capabilities, you will create more engaging, helpful, and productive UX for travel providers. Pay attention to how users respond to determine the highest impact trends to invest in for your products.
Simplified Booking and Payment Processes
In response to a demand for increased convenience, travel companies are streamlining their booking and payment processes to be quick, intuitive, and mobile-friendly. This allows travelers to seamlessly book trips at any time from their smartphones.
Consider incorporating the following UX design trends:
- One-click booking for registered users. Enable returning customers to book hotels, flights, and activities with a single tap after storing their information.
- Integrated digital wallets and payment. Allow mobile wallet services like Apple Pay as well as traditional credit cards. Minimise steps to complete purchases.
- Smart recommendations. Use customer profiles and browsing history to display personalised options and tailored packages.
- Saved preferences. Allow customers to indicate amenities, seat location, dietary needs, brand loyalty programs, and other preferences to auto-populate during each booking.
By focusing on simplified booking and frictionless payments, travel companies can significantly improve customer experience and satisfaction on mobile devices as well as desktops. This allows for spontaneous trip planning as customer needs and desires arise. Evaluate your booking procedures with a customer-centric mindset, removing any pain points that deter conversion.
By optimising for mobile, incorporating the newest technologies, and enhancing personalisation, you can implement some of the most important trends that can set your UX apart from competitors. Approach these thoughtfully and with the user in mind at all times to see the biggest returns. Stay on top of emerging technologies as well to continue innovating. With some strategic yet creative thinking, you can utilise UX design to provide travellers with an experience that exceeds expectations.