First Choice Homepage Visual Design

Designing the new First Choice homepage

www.firstchoice.co.uk_WHOLEToday sees the start of a really exciting period for me and the team. We have been working on the redesign (and replatform) of two of the biggest holiday websites in the UK. The fruits of our hard work, research, concepts, design, prototyping, testing and iterating are beginning to go live! This is the time when we get the numbers to prove the output of all our work!

Today sees the new Homepage go live on the First Choice site (www.firstchoice.co.uk). This the the MVP (Minimal Viable Product), comprising 11 of a total of 30 designed components (the rest will be released incrementally in the coming weeks and months). Also live is the whole new Destination section – pages about all the places that we offer holidays.  But these is only the first of a number of really exciting releases.

As things go live, I can start to talk about them and give some context and background to how they came to be, starting with homepage today! Over the next number of posts I hope to give you a complete insight into how I ran the process of such a huge redesign project from a UX & Design point of view, and the outputs.

So, the new Homepage… My vision was simple: Our Homepage should evoke emotion and provide inspiration. It should make people want to go on holiday with us.

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My thoughts Agile UX

I recently had a “conversation” on Facebook with a colleague here at Channel4 and a friend from Ireland. They had responded to a status update (courtesy of twitter) which said that I was having an interesting conversation about Agile UX with a couple of people over a beer.

How User Experience fits within an Agile process is something that I’ve been really interested in and, indeed, in a former role I was part of the PIG (Process Improvement Group) where we came up with our flavour of Agile which ingrained UX into the methodology.

User stories:

All stories need to be user centric in my opinion, “As a user I want to…”. The means that your development process is completely user centric and end to end. I’ve seen this done as an Epic being the user centric component and the Stories and Tasks being more system focussed . Agile is flexible, the methodology can be tailored to suit your needs… As long as the user is at the center!

Iteration Zero:

The all important one. This needs to be a few weeks at the very least, depending on the size of the project. This is where the IA and UX work gets done and the design work. Here’s where I may get some criticism, but I don’t think that estimates and actuals from Iteration/Integration Zero should be used to calculate your multiplier. This is the thinking, experimenting, prototyping, brainstorming and researching phase. It’s different to the build phase.

But, it should be iterative in itself (which is why I prefer the term Integration Zero). Try ideas, discard, try something new… cycle and iterate.

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