How The Amtrak App Got On Board The Good UX Train

In the UX Spotlight series, we post about UX features that impressed us online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

I recently moved to New York from the other side of the country. Knowing nothing and nobody in this city, everything is exciting and new. With that, I occasionally need two things – love and fresh air. For this, I have the occasional weekend with my sister and her family in Boston, where I can get a reminder of what the world looks like outside of the wonderful mutation I have made my home.

Booking my trip up north is always a happy occasion – I love having a family weekend to look forward to, and with the easy-to-use Amtrak app, all it takes is a few clicks to reserve my tickets. (By the way, I should mention here that Amtrak is not a client of ours…)

On a rainy Monday morning, with a long gray week ahead, I open up the Amtrak app and begin planning my next trip.

WHEN BOOKING A TRIP LEADS TO A GOOD DIGITAL JOURNEY

From the moment I begin, they’ve already made me happy. I get a fleeting vision of the journey I’m about to take – I see a picturesque landscape with train tracks disappearing into the horizon. This is the image that will stay with me throughout my online experience, and for the rest of the week. (1)

I click ‘Book’ in the lower menu bar. The overall look of the app is clean and simple, and the train icon has a charming, old-school feel to it. All this makes me feel more comfortable about booking online. Even the prompt to enter my departure and arrival stations – ‘Where can we take you?’ – is engaging. (2)

Because the system remembers my main stations from previous journeys, this process takes seconds. (3)

 

The next screen is the best. It just makes me happy. It’s showing me every type of train, whether regional or express, as well as travel class. Not only does it give me only the information I care about, it also just looks good. Notice the color difference between Coach tickets and Business Class Tickets. (4)

Once I pick a train, all the additional details are displayed above the fold. Another menu of pleasing icons – all clickable – lists the amenities on the train I’ve selected. A clickable yellow triangle allows me to consult the service alerts. In a weird way, the honesty of this feature actually outweighs the inconvenience I might feel about a potential disruption. (5)

Next I must enter my details. For many, this is the least favorite part of any digital journey. But instead of making me click to reach payment, the system takes me there in one smooth transition. Right after I’ve picked my train, I am immediately directed to the personal information section, so I don’t have time for that unhappy hesitation. (6)

Each time I reach this page I am reminded that I still haven’t set up a Guest Rewards Number. I do find it slightly annoying that the system hasn’t remembered my personal info. ‘Of course,’ my inner voice says, ‘had you registered and logged into the system, then it would remember you. And now you’re complaining about the system, when you were too lazy to do it – as usual!’

I tell my inner voice that it’s right, of course, but that if I’m too lazy to register, others probably are too. A link next to the Guest Rewards Number box encouraging me to sign up for an account could do the trick.

I like the inline form validation – nothing super advanced or high-tech, but elegantly done. I also like that there are no extraneous questions. Every single thing that needs to be there is there – no optional info.

CLEARLY A LOT OF THOUGHT HAS BEEN PUT INTO WHAT TYPE OF DIGITAL EXPERIENCE A PROSPECTIVE TRAVELER EXPECTS.

Throughout this whole process I can go forward and back to any screen without losing any info. This level of continuity also adds to comfort – it’s always nicer to continue in a process when you feel you aren’t being locked in. ‘That’s why you live in New York – you’re so afraid of commitment it’s even hard for you to commit to a few screens in an app,’ inner voice says. I murder inner voice.

Aside from that opening shot of a sunset, there’s nothing glamorous about this app. It doesn’t use advanced date pickers, video, or animations. It does however make every step of the digital journey simple and painless, and clearly a lot of thought has been put into what type of digital experience a prospective traveler expects.

I also like that, as well as enabling me to complete my booking task, the app connects me to the experience of physically riding a train with the splash screen and cute little icons. I wouldn’t mind even more of that, by the way.

Compared to what’s out there today, this is great UX. Inner voice and I can get this whole booking done in about a minute, and merrily go on with our happy, schizophrenic day.

I think we are not so far from the day that I’ll step into a virtual world and already be there with my sister… I’ll see the New England foliage in front of me and hear the birds sing, even if my body is in a New York high-rise. For now, letting me easily book my trip while giving me small glimpses of a train ride on a gorgeous day is all the experience this user needs.

How The Amtrak App Got On Board The Good UX Train – es

In the UX Spotlight series, we post about UX features that impressed us online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

I recently moved to New York from the other side of the country. Knowing nothing and nobody in this city, everything is exciting and new. With that, I occasionally need two things – love and fresh air. For this, I have the occasional weekend with my sister and her family in Boston, where I can get a reminder of what the world looks like outside of the wonderful mutation I have made my home.

Booking my trip up north is always a happy occasion – I love having a family weekend to look forward to, and with the easy-to-use Amtrak app, all it takes is a few clicks to reserve my tickets. (By the way, I should mention here that Amtrak is not a client of ours…)

On a rainy Monday morning, with a long gray week ahead, I open up the Amtrak app and begin planning my next trip.

WHEN BOOKING A TRIP LEADS TO A GOOD DIGITAL JOURNEY

From the moment I begin, they’ve already made me happy. I get a fleeting vision of the journey I’m about to take – I see a picturesque landscape with train tracks disappearing into the horizon. This is the image that will stay with me throughout my online experience, and for the rest of the week. (1)

I click ‘Book’ in the lower menu bar. The overall look of the app is clean and simple, and the train icon has a charming, old-school feel to it. All this makes me feel more comfortable about booking online. Even the prompt to enter my departure and arrival stations – ‘Where can we take you?’ – is engaging. (2)

Because the system remembers my main stations from previous journeys, this process takes seconds. (3)

 

The next screen is the best. It just makes me happy. It’s showing me every type of train, whether regional or express, as well as travel class. Not only does it give me only the information I care about, it also just looks good. Notice the color difference between Coach tickets and Business Class Tickets. (4)

Once I pick a train, all the additional details are displayed above the fold. Another menu of pleasing icons – all clickable – lists the amenities on the train I’ve selected. A clickable yellow triangle allows me to consult the service alerts. In a weird way, the honesty of this feature actually outweighs the inconvenience I might feel about a potential disruption. (5)

Next I must enter my details. For many, this is the least favorite part of any digital journey. But instead of making me click to reach payment, the system takes me there in one smooth transition. Right after I’ve picked my train, I am immediately directed to the personal information section, so I don’t have time for that unhappy hesitation. (6)

Each time I reach this page I am reminded that I still haven’t set up a Guest Rewards Number. I do find it slightly annoying that the system hasn’t remembered my personal info. ‘Of course,’ my inner voice says, ‘had you registered and logged into the system, then it would remember you. And now you’re complaining about the system, when you were too lazy to do it – as usual!’

I tell my inner voice that it’s right, of course, but that if I’m too lazy to register, others probably are too. A link next to the Guest Rewards Number box encouraging me to sign up for an account could do the trick.

I like the inline form validation – nothing super advanced or high-tech, but elegantly done. I also like that there are no extraneous questions. Every single thing that needs to be there is there – no optional info.

CLEARLY A LOT OF THOUGHT HAS BEEN PUT INTO WHAT TYPE OF DIGITAL EXPERIENCE A PROSPECTIVE TRAVELER EXPECTS.

Throughout this whole process I can go forward and back to any screen without losing any info. This level of continuity also adds to comfort – it’s always nicer to continue in a process when you feel you aren’t being locked in. ‘That’s why you live in New York – you’re so afraid of commitment it’s even hard for you to commit to a few screens in an app,’ inner voice says. I murder inner voice.

Aside from that opening shot of a sunset, there’s nothing glamorous about this app. It doesn’t use advanced date pickers, video, or animations. It does however make every step of the digital journey simple and painless, and clearly a lot of thought has been put into what type of digital experience a prospective traveler expects.

I also like that, as well as enabling me to complete my booking task, the app connects me to the experience of physically riding a train with the splash screen and cute little icons. I wouldn’t mind even more of that, by the way.

Compared to what’s out there today, this is great UX. Inner voice and I can get this whole booking done in about a minute, and merrily go on with our happy, schizophrenic day.

I think we are not so far from the day that I’ll step into a virtual world and already be there with my sister… I’ll see the New England foliage in front of me and hear the birds sing, even if my body is in a New York high-rise. For now, letting me easily book my trip while giving me small glimpses of a train ride on a gorgeous day is all the experience this user needs.

ContentSquare Team Members Share Their Favorite Digital Experiences

With mobile traffic steadily overtaking desktop traffic, digital teams everywhere are coming up with ways to improve the User Experience (UX) on mobile, and reverse the switch-to-desktop trend still associated with many online conversions.

The behavior of mobile users indicates that many smartphone shoppers embark on a journey determined to complete a purchase, but are deterred along the way. In fact, data recently analyzed by ContentSquare showed that mobile users were almost 18% more likely to reach the checkout page than desktop shoppers, proving they do want to buy.

Friction in the mobile purchasing journey often rears its ugly head around checkout. Today, the likelihood of a mobile user exiting a site after having reached the checkout page is 83.6% higher than the odds on desktop.

Some retailers have capitalized on the mobile shopping demand, and devised seamless paths for their users. I asked my colleagues in the New York Office to share their favorite mobile experiences, and tell us which UX features they couldn’t do without.

Our Senior Enterprise Sales Manager Kristin is a big fan of the Warby Parker site. She recently took their homepage quiz to pick out a new pair of frames. Not only has the brand made buying prescription glasses hassle-free by letting you try frames at home at no cost, it has also developed a fast and engaging way to narrow down your selection.

After answering seven easy questions about fit and style, customers are offered a personalized assortment. Don’t know how to answer one of the questions? Simply skip it! The quiz cleverly integrates the benefits of in-store advice with the autonomy afforded by shopping online.

Katie, a Business Development Representative, singled out Nordstrom’s Touch ID sign-in. The department store chain has integrated fingerprint authentication to its app to remove any hurdle for customers. Allowing users to identify themselves when they open the app personalizes the journey from the get-go, completely removing the headache of checkout from the digital experience.

What if the UX was so seamless and so consumer-friendly, that it became more of an incentive for customer loyalty than the product itself? That’s what happened when Efrat, ContentSquare’s Chief Marketing Officer (and a committed coffee drinker) discovered the Starbucks app.

WHAT IF THE UX WAS SO SEAMLESS AND SO CONSUMER-FRIENDLY, THAT IT BECAME MORE OF AN INCENTIVE FOR CUSTOMER LOYALTY THAN THE PRODUCT ITSELF?

In an ideal world, Efrat’s preferred cup of coffee doesn’t come in a paper cup, and is made by the barista at the small coffee shop near her house. In reality, however, she often ends up ordering a grande almond cappuccino for pickup on her mobile as she leaves her house. Why? Because the coffee chain has made its app so extremely convenient that it is successfully turning coffee addicts like Efrat into UX addicts.

In fact, the reliance on digital for everyday purchases means UX often gets called the new sales assistant – helping consumers navigate decision-making and complete transactions quickly and painlessly. Brands with an online presence are often defined by the quality of their digital experience, and, as we’ve seen above, this can sometimes be a bigger loyalty factor than the product itself.

Businesses that can connect with the expectations and needs of their digital audience will be able to foster brand loyalty and carve out their space in the eCommerce arena. If you’d like to learn how next-gen behavior analytics can help you meet the expectations of your audience, watch our demo video.

Travel Platform VeryChic Sees Huge Mobile Conversion Gains

When members-only travel platform VeryChic noticed high exit rates on its site, it looked to next-gen behavior analytics to boost retention and conversion rates, and deliver a better digital experience to its 7 million users. And with nearly half of all bookings attributed to mobile sources, the company was particularly keen to address these challenges with a user-centered, mobile-first approach.

Data showed that 52% of users who entered the VeryChic site through a hotel page accessed via an email campaign ended their journey on that page. Similarly, 47% of users who landed on a product page bounced. The immediate challenge for VeryChic – which partners with over 3,700 luxury properties worldwide – was to make sure prospects who arrived on the site via these pages continued their journey by viewing more hotels and exclusive deals.

By using ContentSquare to gain insights into which elements of the site were causing users to hesitate or abandon their journey, digital teams at VeryChic discovered that a lack of incentives and options at the start of some journeys were stalling user flow.

These findings in turn enabled focused, data-backed optimization of problem elements within the page, including:

These fixes translated into tangible results for the company, and improved metrics were observed across several KPIs. Desktop and tablet traffic, for example, increased by 6.31% following improvements. Sessions on those devices lasted an average 16.53% longer, and the bounce rate went down by almost 12%. In other words – more people came to the site, stayed longer, and bounced less.

CONVERSION RATES WERE BOOSTED ACROSS EVERY PLATFORM,BUT THE LARGEST LEAPS WERE SEEN ON APPLE IOS (42.11% CVR INCREASE) AND ON THE ANDROID APP (81.25% CVR INCREASE).

Two days after implementing changes, VeryChic also noticed an overall click-rate increase of 3.7%, and a conversion rate per click increase of 2.3%. Meanwhile, revenue increased by 19.3 Euro per click over the same period, which translated into a 25,000 euro boost in revenue.

With over half of all travel reservations made online, hotel and travel booking sites have understood the importance of investing in consistent omnichannel experiences for their ever-growing digital audience.

ContentSquare’s AI-powered technology allows businesses to dig deep into site navigation patterns, and understand how and why users interact with their digital platforms. By capturing 100% of user behavior and measuring the performance of each individual site element, our solution gives teams everything they need to make their digital properties profitable across devices.