United Digital Ecosystem

IA Collaborative

IA Collaborative re-envisioned and redesigned the entire digital ecosystem of the world’s largest airline, including the new United.com; the new top-rated United mobile app; a reimagined booking experience and comprehensive design guidelines for future updates.

Presenting a significant design challenge, the factorials related to United’s booking experience – traveler classifications, loyalty rewards, route options, etc. – are more complex than any other airline. Any downtime on the website could have a catastrophic impact on United’s business. A greatly streamlined booking experience was needed to keep as many people moving through the website as quickly as possible.

Designed tablet-first, the suite of digital tools is inherently user-centered and provides the most streamlined booking path in the airline industry, relative to the company’s size and complexity.

The United.com and mobile app design is modern and streamlined, making it easy for users to read and navigate on any device, regardless of screen size. The booking experience has been reimagined so that it displays one-way booking and pricing, rather than showing round-trip itineraries to enable flexibility and transparency. A 15-day timeline at the top of every results page shows fares on either side of the selected departure and arrival date, in case one’s schedule is flexible enough to leave earlier or later for a lower fare. Lastly, the site’s sophisticated filtering ability enables users to further refine and build upon initial searches to select the perfect option tailored to them, down to the last detail – for example, one can select to avoid red-eye flights, eliminate “risky” connections or choose only flights with onboard Wi-Fi.

The United.com and mobile app were more than a redesign. They were the result of rebuilding the entire user experience from the ground up, based on immersive research–involving 150,000 miles of air travel touching down in 4 continents–and the observations of the behaviors and daily lives of real business and leisure travelers around the world.

The United website and mobile app have received praise from the media, customers and employees alike. The United mobile app grew its user base from 7 million to more than 20 million in under 18 months. The website enables United to book about $1 million in revenue per hour, and accommodate more than 2,000 users per minute while avoiding any interruption in service.

Kris Leigh
Rebecca Gimenez
Jinhwan Kim
Dan Kraemer
Kathleen Brandenburg
Project link