Something for everyone


Creating memorable moments

RedBalloon is an online experience gift retailer based in Australia. Founded by businessperson, blogger, and entrepreneur Naomi Simpson in 2001, it offers a wide range of personal and corporate experiences, from relaxing getaways to adrenaline-fueled activities.

By early 2018, the number and types of experiences offered had grown substantially to almost 4000 experiences. At the same time, customer feedback suggested that it was becoming more difficult for customers to find unique experiences.

RedBalloon wanted to redesign their site search to better showcase the range of experiences on offer, helping customers find the perfect gift for them. In addition, the team were looking to showcase a user-centered approach to design as part of a transition to new way of working - the result of a number of recent organisational changes including a new parent company, a new CEO, and a new platform.

We started with an immersive review of existing customer feedback - post-purchase survey responses, transcripts of customer support conversations and live chat, and informal usability testing conducted by the RedBalloon team - looking for common pain points and opportunities for improvement.

There was a clear distinction between customers who were looking for a specific type of experience, and those who were looking for inspiration. At the same time, customers looking for an experience they could enjoy had a different set of requirements to those who were looking for a gift. RedBalloon wanted to ensure that the solution supported each of these scenarios.

From the website analytics, there was a clear overlap in customer behaviour between search terms, categories, and locations. There was an opportunity to greatly improve the customer experience by being more flexible with how search terms were interpreted.

A series of prototypes were built exploring solutions to the riskiest areas of the design, and refined through usability testing with RedBalloon customers. We encouraged involvement from the wider RedBalloon team as much as possible in design workshops and reviews, as observers of usability testing sessions, and during recap sessions after each round of testing to discuss the results, and appropriate next steps.

The resulting site search helps customers search across multiple categories and locations, understanding their preferences before refining the results to find the perfect gift (or personal indulgence). Experiences are presented so that the most important information (which differs depending on the type of experience you’re looking for) is available and easy to compare to find the best option for you. We also suggest possible filters and similar experiences to help customers manage the number of results they have to choose from.

Throughout the process, as the prototype evolved and risks were addressed, we worked with the RedBalloon team to identify and begin refining UI elements, providing the opportunity for development to proceed at a much faster rate, forming the basis of a design library which can be incorporated across other RedBalloon projects.

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