Guest Blog: Creating operational efficiency with a powerful user interface

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Guest Blog: Creating operational efficiency with a powerful user interface

Our Product Manager, Neil Chalk, wrote this post. To find out more about Neil, you can follow him on Twitter or read his blog Part of the Process.


Last year, we launched our new user interface (UI) with a simple aim: Make it easier for our customers to manage their notifications during time-sensitive, high-pressure situations.

In particular, we were keen to speed up the time taken to notify passengers, to minimise manual errors, and maintain consistent customer branding. We wanted to make the process of sending notifications as operationally efficient as possible – especially during disruption.

Following the launch, we recently surveyed customers using the upgraded UI to find out their thoughts on how it has performed. We wanted to know if we had been successful in achieving our goals and were pleasantly surprised with the results!

 This blog outlines the survey response, profiles a typical ‘15below user’ and highlights their levels of satisfaction with the platform.

First up, we asked respondents to “Describe up to 3 things you like about the 15below platform”. A selection of the most popular responses can be seen below:

Other survey feedback included:

“The new UI is rather intuitive. HTML and editing are easy with the colour coding. Fast option to manually send notification”

“…easy to use (and) easy to edit the templates in the new platform”

“It is customizable based on our rules/needs.  It is reliable - 15below staff are excellent support”

Who said it was easy-to-use?

To put our survey results into context, we’ve pulled together some background on our users and their experience with the 15below platform. We found there was a mixture of experience levels for the system and for technical skills, such as HTML.

Understanding the type of user behind the results was important for us to know. Based on who said what, we can use that feedback to further tailor the platform and support users at every level in the best possible way.

Survey Respondent Profile

Simplicity: Addressing all levels of experience with the 15below platform

The range of previous experience in customer respondents was well spread:

Graph: Years of experience using the 15below platform 

One highlight here is how, in time-sensitive situations, simplicity is essential no matter how much experience has been accrued.

It also gives an example of the length of experience some of our customers have. For example, Ryanair, Eurowings or Monarch have over 10+ years’ experience working with the 15below platform compared to some of our newest customers like Edelweiss, Jambojet or SWISS.

Adaptability: Catering for a range of HTML skills in users

Like the level of experience above, our respondents had a varied level of HTML skill ranging from none to expert – with a bias towards a basic skillset. A basic skillset generally means users can edit or tweak text in HTML elements within the platform. For example, using our new WYSIWYG micro-editor.

Graph: Level of HTML skill set of users

Having a user base with a wide variety of skills shows how adaptable the UI must be in catering for all types of user.

We also know that 15below users can be cross-departmental as well. Having a platform that’s simple to use at all levels can help address multiple department needs – from operations to customer services or IT – creating efficiency across the business.

Flexibility: Managing demand and high traffic volumes

Most of our users are using the system on a regular basis, with three-quarters logging in at least once a week, and over 50% logging in daily.

Graph: Regularity of user usage

Most often, users will log in to manage time-critical events but we’re also catering for day-to-day usage of the system. This is so our customers can manage, monitor and send every type of notification to their passengers.

That means having a platform that’s not only simple and adaptable, but also robust and flexible – that can deal with fluctuating demand and high volumes of traffic at any one time.

Managing Time-critical Tasks

When asked how often the system was used for time critical tasks, nearly 60% of respondents replied “often” or “always”. 

Graph: How often users log into the 15below platform to perform time-critical tasks

For 15below users, it’s about finding the most efficient way to communicate. Under pressure and against the clock, it’s vital they can get the right information to staff and passengers fast – to minimise confusion and any potential backlash, social or otherwise.

For our customers to be more operationally efficient, the technology they use should be too. Which is why we keep these stressful events – strikes, storms, or other disruption - in mind when designing and building the platform. It helps drive our guiding principles of:

  • Simplicity: To make a platform that’s simple to use and navigate
  • Adaptability: In catering for all types of user, their skill set and needs for the platform
  • Flexibility: In dealing with fluctuating levels of demand, as and when needed

Areas of Improvement in the UI

To compare to a similar user research survey from 2014, we’ve taken the average response from the following questions and benchmarked them as a performance measure. The results look at how well we support time-sensitive issues and the overall experience with the platform. Both can be seen below.

How well does the system support time-sensitive issues?

How would you rate your overall experience of 15below's notifications (PASNGR platform)?

The results and outcome of the survey reflect the culture of 15below in action. We have delivered improvements that meet our customers’ needs and are now looking for new ways to build on that success. The past year was focused on how we could make our users more efficient in the system.

The results showed a noticeable improvement of 0.8 for both factors. It was a great result for the team but the hard work's not over yet!

Thoughts for the Future

We value teamwork and collaboration at 15below and want to share that ethos with our customers, helping them make a real impact on their bottom line and growth. We already cater for the major reservation systems and a range of company sizes. In the next year, we have plans for how we can provide even more flexible, lightweight integrations that will not only bridge process gaps but also scale up with our clients.

The UI focus for the next year is how we can help groups of users work together effectively within an organisation. We’ll also continue to refine the user interface and overall platform based on the feedback received in our customer surveys.

In the near future, we have some exciting plans for new functionality. One is the use of real-time operational feeds to drive customer service notifications. The second is taking the methodology used to streamline the user interface and applying it to the passenger experience. As part of this, we'll explore the role chatbots and voice assistants play in the notifications process.

Alongside this, we’ll continue to monitor consumer trends that will impact travel. Next month I will be looking in more detail at what this means for the 15below platform.

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