Alibaba's Home Screen

In this case study, I describe how I led the product design team to design the Alibaba app's home screen adopting a new information architecture, making use of our marketing automation tool, and leveraging user test results.

Company

Alibaba Travels

My role

Head of Mobile Applications - Product Design Lead

The problem

During my time there as the Mobile Apps product manager, I lead the mobile app team to design and build a completely new mobile app, covering the needs of the company and its new direction on increasing the mobile apps order shares up to 60%.

Alibaba is the most popular online travel agency in Iran, the top seller of flight, train, and bus tickets, local and international accommodations and tours in the country with more than 15 million orders per year.

Challenge

At that moment, the app's home screen was only a set of tabs for different services and a search box in each tab. We saw the potential for using the home screen for marketing communications, suggestions, and offers too. The Offers platform was already built and shown good results on the web. We also started to deploy a heavy marketing automation tool (WebEngage) inside our core services, and the app was the first place to start with.

Process

New information architecture

I designed a new information architecture to make use of our home screen real estate for our diverse travel services, tour ticket, and hotel offers,  also our well-known travel blog contents. 

The whole home screen layout made from different types of components and could be built from the back-end.

The next step was to tie the marketing automation tool to use user segmentation for creating a personalized home screen for each user. User's been opted in segments by their actions, behavior, and history.

User testing

This transition from a simple search screen to a feed of content, offers, deals, etc was a very important and critical move, so we needed to be cautious about it. So we begin to test our new home screen Hi-Fi prototype on near 20 users to validate the ideas, and it showed very positive feedback. Although it was a big change, we tried to use very common patterns and it felt very authentic for almost all of the users.

Launch

We rolled out the new design incrementally starting with 10% of our Android users. From the beginning, we witnessed a jump in our engagement levels on the app.

Results

After 2 months since the release, we already had 40% increase on user engagement, the tour and offer orders on the app increased to 50% of overall orders. There was a 30% drop on CS tickets around findability of a certain part of the app or missing a button.

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foroudi@gmail.comWorks