ATD Travel Services
3 weeks
What we did
Design research
User experience design
Interface design
Design sprints

Attraction Tickets Direct (ATD) sell tickets to the world’s leading theme parks and attractions. ATD were concerned that their checkout process was not performing as well as it should be –somewhere along the line customers were being let down and lost. They approached Clearleft to help reduce customer drop-out and increase conversion from basket to sale. We were given two weeks to make a difference.

The whole process from start to finish was very productive and enjoyable, and the design sprint provided the perfect structure to achieve our goals. The final results exceeded our expectations and we're excited to measure the positive impact.
Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw Sales & Marketing Director, ATD Travel Services
The opportunity to have a positive impact in such a short period of time was daunting but incredibly exciting.
Jerlyn Jareunpoon-Phillips, Lead Designer

The Results

Checkout problems resolved

The problems we identified in testing were fixed, with the solutions successfully tested. The result is a simpler, easier to use checkout with fewer customers dropping out.

A framework for innovation

We showed that it is possible to test new ideas and push through changes very quickly. This helped solidify the value of design sprints as a way to take innovation from ideas to reality.

A confident and proactive team

The collaborative nature of the design sprint helped designers and developers be better equipped to confidently tackle ongoing challenges. On the back of this we have been asked to run more sprints across the business.

The Full Story

How do you make a difference in just two weeks?

ATD came to us with analytics showing a drop off in customers throughout their checkout process. By studying the data, it was quickly apparent to us where this was happening, but not why. We needed to fix ATD’s problems, but first we needed to identify what they were. To do this, we opted for our tried and tested method of pairing user research with a design sprint.

A diagram showing progression over time.
Research + Design diagram by Steph Troeth

Through usability testing we would first look to uncover pain points and barriers for customers. With user-informed issues identified, we would then collaboratively design and prototype improvements, finally testing the solutions with users.

How do you identify the pain points?

All research needs to be well planned in advance. We worked closely with ATD to establish the focus of the upcoming usability testing, to define the research hypotheses, to organise an appropriate sample audience and to develop a ‘script’ for the sessions.

Over one week we ran usability testing with 10 participants, observing them make purchases on both desktop and mobile. We gained insights into how people research, their attitudes to cost, and their understanding of ATD’s offering. Most importantly we uncovered some major blockers to completion caused by a combination of confusing wording and poor interaction design.

I thought I was just paying a deposit, not the full amount… I think something’s wrong. I wouldn’t go ahead now.
Research participant

Our experienced team were able to predict some of the blockers in advance (the testing therefore provided us with evidence), however other issues spotted (like that in the participant quote above) were user insights you can only get by watching real customers in action.

How do you quickly fix problems and test solutions?

The week of usability testing to identify the pain points gave us a list of demonstrable issues we could try and fix. We invited seven ATD staff to the Clearleft studio to participate in a 5-day design sprint. We took their team on a fun, high-intensity journey of design thinking with our user experience experts, culminating in a validated solution.

Day 1 - Learn from research

The first day of the sprint was all about collectively understanding and prioritising the problem areas within the basket and checkout pages.

A montage of images from the studio.
Surrounding ourselves with research learnings

Day 2 - Sketch solutions

With the problem space understood, we could get straight into the business of designing fixes. The keys to successful sketching workshops are tightly scoped, strictly timed exercises and egalitarian sharing. Inspiration was provided by quickly sharing demos of other websites, and warm-up sketching exercises increased everyone’s confidence in this day of divergent thinking.

People gathered around a table, laughing.
Fun warm-up exercises reduce self-consciousness
A montage of images of people sketching.
Sketching and sharing

At the end of day two the teams had a strong shared understanding of the opportunities and solutions we could pursue. This would enable us to work fast the next day - everyone was inspired and eager to start building. 

Day 3 - Decide and build

We opened the day by nailing down what we wanted to test, and how we were going to build a testable prototype. Thereafter we divided into two teams and started the process of prototype creation, checking in on each other’s progress at preset intervals.

Clearleft enabled us to come together and push through changes that would have internally taken years. Having Rich and Jerlyn there to oversee enabled faster validation of design changes.
Ashley Jones
Ashley Jones Head of Online, ATD Travel Services

Kudos must also go to ATD for their magnificent enthusiasm and team work during the sprint.

Day 4 - Build the test

A final full day of prototyping ensued, coupled with revising the original usability test script for the new prototype and research goals.

A montage of images of people working together in the studio.
Team work was vital to success
Clearleft facilitated a fun and collaborative environment, which enabled the team to be energised and highly engaged. Coming to Clearleft’s offices in Brighton was definitely the right thing for us as it allowed us all to work without distraction.
Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw Sales & Marketing Director, ATD Travel Services

Day 5

On the last day we had pre-recruited the same profile of participants as were in the initial research phase. We ran shorter sessions, talking to five people for 30 minutes each.

In the afternoon’s playback we concluded that the major points of friction were probably resolved: users completed their purchases with little pause for thought and commented on the ease and simplicity of the process (“It’s almost too simple”, said one participant).

More work