First Choice Homepage Visual Design

Designing the new First Choice homepage 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 ( 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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Photo of Alex HorstmannWelcome to, the online home of Alex Horstmann, a user experience professional of over 10 years experience.

This site is mostly about me blogging about (what I think are) interesting things, posting links (ok, it’s automatically picking them up from my Delicious account!) and generally trying to talk about all things UX, usability and accessibility. So, a little about me…

Alex Horstmann is an Irishman (Irish By Birth, Cork By the Grace of God) living in the city of St. Albans, just a little north of London! I live with my beautiful wife and wonderful little son, and divide my time between enjoying my family and loving my work in user experience. BlobFisk has been my nickname/handle/alias for a long time now, so generally where you see a user called BlobFisk it’s me!

Currently, I’m Head of User Experience and Design at TUI Travel plc. TUI is a leading travel and leisure company. Listed on the FTSE 100, TUI owns travel brands like Thomson, First Choice, Simply and Falcon. I look after the UX and Design teams, and my main areas of focus at the moment is Customer Experience at a Group wide level.

virgin_media_smallBefore TUI I was a consultant user experience architect at the  Virgin Media, where I consulted on the redesign of their site, adding some exciting new content and some incredible cross-platform features linking the web to their set top boxes.

channel4_smallPreviously, I was User Experience Manager for Channel 4,  looking after all things user experience for this leading UK broadcaster. My role here includes managing Information Architects and external agencies, ensuring the usability, UX and accessibility of all the Channel 4 online inventory (Channel4, E4, Film4, More 4, and 4Radio), expert usability and accessibility reviews and playing a key role in the redesign of the Channel4 site.

Before this I was Senior User Experience Engineer at Tideway Systems Limited, looking after the user experience, usability and design of Foundation, Tideway’s enterprise business intelligence solution.

Previous to joining Tideway I worked for DeCare Systems (Ireland) in User Experience and Web Design, a US consultancy specialising in web applications with clients including Avon Cosmetics, MasterCard, Figis and various large US insurance companies (like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Delta Dental).

Previous to this I was Internet Manager for Irelands largest recruitment company, Premier Recuitment, and Irelands largest independent radio station, 96FM, respectively. If you want to know more then my CV / Resume may be of interest to you.