Rambler Avia is an innovative flight search engine. The core idea of the service is to make flight search easy and flexible. Using Rambler Avia people can choose date ranges instead of specific dates and see search results instantly.
The goal was to create a flight meta-search engine that could be one step ahead of its Russian competitors.
We started with a research to confirm the idea we had, followed by interaction design and prototyping, then visual design, coding and testing. As interaction designer I was directly responsible for interaction design and concept testing.
We wanted Rambler Avia to be a very fast search engine that could look for flight tickets with very flexible dates. To build such engine we decided to change the usual search form interface and use cache data from ticket sellers to show results instantly.
We started with a research on how people look for tickets and how they plan their trips. In Russia, people in big cities had started to avoid traditional travel agencies, tending to look up the tickets online. Many people were not sure about exact dates while planning vacations. Respondents also said they looked up tickets multiple times for multiple dates prior to actual purchase, mainly choosing flights with lowest price.
As we built an information architecture, we tried to experiment with flexibility of search on an iteraction design level, wireframing multiple solutions and testing them with users and experts.
We also experimented with the ways of showing the set of tickets to people, figuring out what they are more likely to pay attention to, how they actually choose and which things usually cause most troubles.
We iteratevly tested prorotype which soon became an alpha version of the system. After alsmost 11 months of design, developement and tests, we got something we were really proud of – a new flexible and fast way to look for flight tickets.
Traditional flight search engines check global flight databases which can take up to 20 second to respond. In order to show tickets fast, we needed a mechanism to get cache information from local ticket sellers. This was a main technical issue, which was successfully solved: the search results appeared within first second after request. Therefore, we could show results instantly and then correct them on the fly.
Rambler Avia was launched in November 2011 and got a lot of positive reviews both from users and flight sellers. It is available at: http://avia.rambler.ru