HOMEOverviewBackgroundSolutionResearchPrioritizeDesignIterationsResultNext Project
Star Travel
Redesign the website of Star Travel Group: a Russian tour operator, to support the company’s new business model transition from B2B to international B2C.

My RoleProduct Designer

Mar - Jun 2020
9 Weeks

2 × UX Designers
1 × Project Manager
1 × Visual Designer
1 × Developer

Optimal Sort

My contribution

Product Design
Working in intense collaboration with the client and the cross functional team, we had weekly planning meetings and follow-ups to understand business/user requirements, define priorities and set product goals.

Information Architecture
Used design methods and co-creation workshops to fight complexity and break problems into an easy to use solution.

Design System
Created a design system to collaborate with the distributed engineering team, scaling the product with a consistent experience

The client was very pleased with the design and they decided to continue working with us to bring the site live. However, due to COVID, we postpone the launch.


How can we help a travel agency to find its niche and expand to B2C market?

Website Redesign
for International B2C

Star Travel Co, which is a Russian tour operator specializing in inbound tourism in Russia. The company wants to expand its market internationally and switch business from B2B to B2C in need of a digital transformation to appeal to international customers and sell its travel products.

Final Design

We’ve developed a customizable tour building website that can be booked directly from customers. It provides an untapped market opportunity.

Feature 1.
Find the right tour

• Guiding users to what they want.
• Essential filters to help users scope down choices

Feature 2.
Interactive map

• Contextualized hotel, transportation and attraction information
• The map will display the tour information that you are reading and change correspondingly

Feature 3.
Itinerary Customization

• Compare and personalize tours effortlessly
• View details of each day of the tour itinerary
• Change hotels and attractions easily in customize mode


Formative Research
Examine Original Website

I conducted 5 usability tests with the original site and a use flow analysis to understand the structure of the original site and user's attitudes.

The original Star Travel Website

Original Website
Existing Problems
Labels are confusing and not intuitive
"After going through the whole process, I still don't know what's the differences"
- P4

Descriptions are long and redundant
“Why would I read about attractions here instead of on Wikipedia?"
- P5

Repetitive pages without enough prompts on booking tours

“I don't know where to go next if I want to book this tour here."
- P3

Complicated booking journey
“If it took so long for me to understand how it works, I will choose other sites"
- P1

Formative Research
Research Findings


Information Architecture

We conducted 11 card sorting with Optimal Sort to streamed lined the information architecture as follows, and moved the relevant attraction descriptions under each tour.

Detailed Information Architecture  🔍

— Ideation
Sketches & Wireframes

We've used sketches and wireframes as a communication tool, bringing clarity and tangibility to the product decisions. Here's where assumptions were validated and product strategy was discussed in the early stages of each new feature.

Sketches for key flow

1st iteration wireframes

Create Design System

After communicating with the client to understand the branding image, I took the lead in and creating a design system for the site from the wireframe system.

— Design Process
Iterations with Usability Tests

Due to time constraints, we conducted 6 rounds of RITE (rapid iterative testing and evaluation) to receive timely feedback and iterate the prototype quickly.​


Home page search bar wireframe


The label "TOUR TYPE" is confusing and misleading

"Signature" and "Personalize" didn't help users to understand the tours' differences

Having "Both" as one of the options to select all is awkward


Home page search bar with tour explaination


Changing the label to "GROUP/PRIVATE" which is self explanatory

Users found it helpful to use the added tips to explain group/private tour's differences

Use check box that allows users to select multiple options in the search bar


Tour itinerary details page wireframe


The information under "Itinerary" is weighted more than the other two tabs on the bar

All itinerary information displayed chronologically on each day is too long and repetitive

Having too many different things can be modified on each day is overwhelming


Tour itinerary details organized into 3 categories


Break the itinerary tab into 3 parts: hotel, transfer, and itinerary

Break the itinerary information accordingly into hotel, transfer and activity itinerary, which align with user's natural organizing logic

Interactive map on the right is appreciated. visualization helps user understand how their day will be like

— Result

My team and I presented the project to our client at Star Travel and hosted a critique session to showcase Star Travel Website to industry professionals. We received both great enthusiasm and positive feedback.

Usability Goals Met
Users can find relevant tour information easily
Users can successfully make reservations on the new site

"This is a world of difference from the old website!"
- User who tested both the before & after site

Branding Goals Met
Convey convenience, flexibility, comfort, and local charisma

"It is really clean and modern!"
- User who identifies as Planner

Business Goals In Progress
Currently, we are organizing the design documentation and communicating with the Star Travel engineering team to transition to development.

"I love it, how soon can we start building this?"
- CEO of Star Travel

& Reflections
"Travel will never, ever go back to the way it was"

With the global pandemic, there will be a redistribution of where travelers go. People are more likely to visit smaller communities with personalized planning in a smaller group, which makes customization more valuable.

Checkout experience

The Checkout Page is as important as the searching and customizing experience. We are hoping to provide more options for people to specify their needs on their way to confirming the trip. We also to hope to conduct more usability tests with target users who identify as Layback Travelers.

VUI & Accessibility Design  👁️
🌊   App & System Design

Designed & Illustrated by Weixi Zhang