Kayak's new rapid booking and personalization feature

Project Brief

The ask for this mock project was to develop a feature for Kayak.com that would enable users the ability to easily book flights, accommodations, cars, and activities. The challenge was to fully understand the needs of the target user. With that being said, my task was to simplify and speed up the booking process, along with introducing more personalized elements.

I was able to research competitors, synthesize qualitative data, ideate, run a usability test, and prototype a Kayak.com feature that enhances the booking process with avid and established travelers.


> Designer


Nov 2022 (1 1/2 weeks)


> User research
> Competitive research
> Affinity mapping insights
> Low-fidelity sketches
> Mid-fidelity prototypes
> Usability test findings
> High-fidelity prototypes
> Reflections & next steps

User Interviews

I was tasked with analyzing and coding a set of user interviews. Based on the user's varied backgrounds and experiences, I needed to gauge how often they were booking and what factors influenced their decision-making.

Christina plans months in advance and relies on recommendations from various travel blogs.

Oliver regularly searches for restaurants and activities based on reviews and general interests

Michael doesn’t always know when to book and is very price-conscious.

Competitor Research

When researching competitors, I wanted to survey a diverse market of platforms. I went with Booking.com, Hopper, and Ctrip. All of these platforms are widely used, offer similar features as it pertains to flights, hotels, and other accommodations. The delivery is where the differences are on display.

Bypassed Booking.com in 2020 during the pandemic.
Developing an English-based platform to expand into the US market.
Teamed up with Ctrip to expand market share.
The largest booking platform in China.
Saves users money on bookings and is an easy-to-use application.
Has name ID and broad established user experience with the platform.

Discovery insights

During the discovery process, I wanted to gain insights from the user interviews. After analyzing and coding user interview transcripts, I created an affinity map to highlight various experiences booking flights, accommodations, and/or leisurely activities. After synthesizing some data points, I was able to infer a few insights.

> I will use various influential sources such as social media, blogs, mainstream media platforms, and review boards before making my choice.
> I normally would use this platform for recommendations or help but it does not have the up-to-date information that I need.
> I usually book 3+ months in advance and I base it on my budget. I have to prepare early, so I can cover for other life events that may occur.
Mobile & desktop usage
> I read reviews on what other people are thinking and experiencing. I’m always open to recommendations.
User experience
> I often look for photos, search blogs and hashtags to see what they are doing. Ratings and prices are important when looking for an Airbnb. I wish there was a platform that was more personalized to my common interests.
Travel & planning

Why choose this method?

After analyzing and coding the user interview transcripts, it became apparent that the users had similar avid traveler backgrounds, related complications during the booking process, and at least some reliance on ratings and recommendations. An affinity map was the right tool to use to provide clarity and highlight key insights that would be used to create the right feature to meet user needs.


Low-fidelity ideation

During the ideation process, I had multiple paths to take to solve for the user need. Initially, I wanted to create an app or desktop feature that would focus on leisure and adventures. I also considered a feature that would include cruises, rentals, and housing options. In the end, I moved forward with a fast booking app that requires fewer user inputs and generates more personalized results.

The dead-end

Avid travelers choose an app over a desktop
The chosen path

An app that focuses on rapid booking and personalization.

Mid-fidelity ideation

Scaling up to mid-fidelity wireframes, then prototypes; I wanted to lead with a simple booking process and provide specific options that meet the needs of the user's initial inputs.

User inputs booking information during the onboarding process
Personalized inputs produce results & quick pay options

Usability testing

A user test was performed on five participants with varying degrees of travel frequency. The purpose was to leverage user feedback to better enhance and expedite the booking process for Kayak.com and arrive at a point where the new feature is set to move to the user-interface stage.

User demographics
Mid-to-high frequency travelers
30-to-40 years old
Uses Kayak.com for booking or research
Working professionals

Results & findings

> Users had similar experiences with user-flow and overall navigability.

> Users stated that in most cases, the feature was either easy to use or that there was nothing confusing about navigating from beginning to end.

> Users ran into the same issue with some of the elements, many of them crucial to making it to the end of the test.

> Users recommended making some iterations to some of the components at the end of the test.

> Ratings based on user experience and overall functionality range 8.5 - 10.

Here’s what the user’s had to say


“ At first I thought it was going to be difficult but it was relatively easy to navigate and easy to get to end quickly.”


“ This was really good. I like how I was convinced to book a flight that I had barely planned. Just add Apple encryption and then it will be a 10."


“Some people just don’t have time to be thinking about all the details. They just want something that can do the work for them.” I like the rapid process of this app.”


“Overall, I liked it a lot, but I want more features to be added. Like the experiences that are shown on the last page. You should go further.”


“I can see people using this feature if they need something fast or can be convinced to book based on a good offer.”

End Designs

In this phase, I took many of the recommendations and feedback from the users to scale up the mid-fidelity prototypes to high-fidelity prototypes. The user flow and user interface mostly remain the same. I also applied Kayak.com’s noticeable orange color palette.

Reflection & next steps

What have I learned from this project?

Having used Kayak.com for booking flights and accommodations, I felt like I could really relate to many of the user’s experiences. Of course, solving for the user need, I tried to make sure not to bias the testing and ideation process. The users that were tested provided valuable feedback and were a joy to work with.


> Make further iterations
> Potential to expand into leisure and travel experiences
> Create more hi-fidelity prototypes

I am always open to new opportunities to exchange ideas, explore collaborations, and generate unique solutions.

Let's Talk!