Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company within the Virgin Group. They provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists. Their ultimate goal is to bring everyone to space.
Redesign the current web experience to educate the public about space travel and encourage email subscription or application.
Why Virgin Galactic?
As a child, I've always been fascininated with space. And as an adult, that still hasn't changed. So when I heard Virgin Galactic was offering people rides to space, I just HAD to check it out.
But when I got to their website, I found it very hard to navigate. The content was disorganized, and their subscription & application buttons were virtually hidden.
Was this a design problem or just personal bias? I decided to investigate.
Virgin Galactic site as of July 2017
PHASE 1: RESEARCH
"I'm not sure where to go to learn more about the technology or spacecraft"
"I like the blue 'next' buttons at the bottom because it encourages easy reading"
"The website reminds me of a school project and doesn't make me feel confident about going on a trip"
Looked into similar companies to compare web content
Explored user travel habits and interest in space travel
Further questioning, observing user behavior and reactions using the current Virgin Galactic website
While users found the site a little difficult to navigate, the bigger issue is that the site does not address users' questions about space travel, i.e. concerns for safety.
With that in mind, I decided to improve the site content to address user needs and meet business goals.
Once I had my research results, I wanted to summarize my user’s main goals and pain points. To do this, I created a user persona and conducted an open card sort.
After summarizing this info, I looked into websites that solved similar problems for inspiration, i.e skydiving or hang gliding websites.
A persona that sums up my user research
PHASE 2: IDEATION
PHASE 3: WIREFRAMING
Using information from user research and the card sort, I created a full mockup of an educational Virgin Galactic site for potential space tourists.
Once the wireframes were done, it was time to test them out with our target users.
It’s difficult to test whether the site increased our users’ understanding and trust in space travel - the results would be too subjective. Instead, I tested navigation and usability.
There were two tests that I ran:
A test user browsing through a prototype of the site. It’s important that the user can find where to apply to be an astronaut or subscribe to the newsletter if they are interested.
PHASE 4: USER TESTING
1. Applying and subscribing on the new site
2. Navigating through the interactive modules
A prototype for an interactive module on Invision. I wanted to make sure users could explore the site so that they could learn more about space travel.
PHASE 5: ITERATION & FINAL DESIGN
APPLY & SUBSCRIBE
Buttons added to the front page for repeat visitors
Popout menu has links for applying or subscribing
Buttons are also in booking section at the end of the website
Article buttons for reading more about a certain topic, i.e. microgravity
Video buttons for watching Virgin Galactic content. This video shows a simulated flight.
Interactive module for learning more about the vehicles and technology
Photo button launches into a slideshow. This slideshow shows aspects of Virgin Galactic’s main rocket.
Though I didn’t have insights into Virgin Galactic’s business goals, there were two things I learned from doing this project.
1. Content is key. Getting to the right users means having the right content.
2. Never underestimate the importance of navigation. The smallest changes make the biggest impact, esp. if you have a specific goal in mind