Iterative usability testing to enhance a tablet-first design for Amadeus

User Experience & Usability

Amadeus’ e-Retail product is one of the world’s most widely used airline internet booking engines. A white-label solution deployed on hundreds of airline industry websites, e-Retail is the vital connection between airlines and travellers, powering transactions and revenue. When Amadeus committed to taking a tablet-first approach to the redesign of e-Retail, it engaged us to deliver business critical usability testing.

“System Concepts always offer really good insights on the best way to approach a specific research issue. Their knowledge is so valuable.”

Marina Castejón Ramírez, Usability Specialist for e-Retail, Amadeus

The challenge

Within an IT organisation like Amadeus, the UX team has a vital role to play in advocating a user centred approach, and communicating the value of usability techniques. The internal team were therefore involved in initiating design work, analysing the product, and prioritising the components that would need most change.

We were tasked with conducting user tests and advising on the information architecture, testing the effectiveness of alternative designs within a small area of tablet screen real estate. We were also asked for insights on different users’ level of knowledge of tablet specific gestures and features, and the implications for the e-Retail bookings process.

What we did

We undertook multiple rounds of user testing of different tablet designs. Each round included the initial briefing, recruitment of participants, testing, and reporting results, before Amadeus undertook iterative design changes and re-briefed us for the next round.


Amadeus eRetail user interface on a tablet

The testing focused on 6 key pages, addressing a series of user scenarios. Amadeus provided a high level script, but a critical part of our role was to help create accurate scenarios, and then to synthesise issues into straightforward questions for participants.

On the last round of testing, the fact that one of the designs being tested was fully interactive while the other was not, added a further challenge. We were able to draw on our experience to come up with workarounds and different methodologies to keep the research on track. “If we are not sure what task to give a user or how to approach functionality for testing, System Concepts’ consultants will always offer really good insights. Their knowledge is so valuable,” said the client.

Tight deadlines

Amadeus used prototyping software for the design iterations, so new designs were produced very quickly, with very fast turnaround between testing cycles. We had to deliver successive rounds of research against these challenging timescales.


hand using tablet Our client reported widespread benefits of the usability research we provided – for the designers, developers and product marketing teams at Amadeus, as well as the company’s airline clients and the end users of the e-Retail product. For designers, the data provides a solid, evidence-based foundation on which to proceed. For developers, this data makes it easier to understand the need to develop something that may be more technically challenging, in order to enhance the user experience.

Creating a big impression

The work really benefits product marketing, too: it means Amadeus can showcase the best possible product interface to clients and prospects, reducing the customisation task for them, and speeding their implementation. “The first airline we presented the product to was delighted. It gives such a good impression: airlines see that Amadeus considers and values innovative, cool, easy to use interfaces,” enthused Amadeus.

“Knowing that our products are based on expert user tests and research, and that we’re working on tablet interfaces, makes a big impact. Airlines value our effort to be an innovative and technically advanced partner.”

Marina Castejón Ramírez, Usability Specialist for e-Retail, Amadeus

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