top of page

In 2019, Trip.com was awarded the Google Material Design Award for Universality, noting that Trip.com "effectively puts key information front and center, remaining consistent throughout 19 languages, providing an excellent travel-booking experience for its global audience."

As manager of all 19 languages, I'll explain how I coached and empowered the content team to help create this award-winning user experience.

trip.gif

01

Restructuring the product design process

workflow.jpg

One of the key problems I identified with Trip.com was their poor understanding of the role content plays in product design. This was most noticeable with their handling of complex scenarios and the lack of clear explanations.

 

After training the content team on UX writing best practices and establishing these rules within the style guide, I worked with design and product teams to restructure the design process to include UX writers from the start.

Originally, writers were only involved after the design was complete, but by showing the impact writers can have on information architecture, I transformed the design process to involve writers from the very start, at the project kick-off meetings.

This not only improved the design of our product but increased efficiency since writers were informed about the project background in the same meeting as everyone else. There was no need for writers to ask product managers later about the project goal.

Importantly, it also significantly reduced the amount of rework and redesign needed as writers were involved in the design process itself, rather than afterwards.

02

Introducing content design methodology

One of the highlights of the award was Google's recognition of our information architecture and putting "key information front and center".

Working with the content and design teams to rethink how we approached content and design was a mammoth task. Here I'll give one example.

We were receiving complaints about flight cancellation policies, and it became clear that the we were doing a poor job of handling progressive disclosure. One of the fundamental rules of progressive disclosure is to understand what your primary and secondary information is.

The example on the right shows important flight information that was previously hidden on a second screen, accessible by a "Show more"  button. But the sheer number of complaints proved that making this secondary information was not working. Customers were complaining about not knowing the rules around canceling.

We moved this info to the first page, visible as customers selected their tickets. As Google said, we "brought key information front and center for our users."

cancel.jpg
korean.jpg
russian.jpg

03

Content design
for different regions

While Trip.com positioned the content team originally as translators, through sharing sessions and building trust with designers and product managers, I transformed the company's perception of them into content designers; part of the design process rather than the last step in writing the content.

This allowed the team to have a much larger and positive impact on product design. A clear example of this, which was picked up by Google, was our localized calendars.

Each calendar was designed individually with help from the content team based on regional preferences.


As you can see, Koreans have a preference to show Sunday in the first position on the left, and highlighted in red. Whereas in Russia, they have a preference to show calendars starting on a Monday.

All of Trip.com's calendars
 are designed with their respective market in mind to help users easily select the dates they want based on a calendar format they're familiar with. This greatly reduces mistakes and improves the usability.

04

Providing support for plurals in 19 languages 

After becoming Head of UX Content and Localization, I began working closely with team that developed our proprietary content management system (CMS). 

It was originally developed as a tool to help our developers, but as I believed my team were also key stakeholders for the tool, I pushed for changes and upgrades that would help support their role as content designers.

One of the biggest changes we made to the system was adding support for plurals. Originally, plurals had to be hard-coded, which was inefficient and resulted in inconsistencies both on the front end and in the code itself.

The problem was most evident for Russian, which has more plural forms than any of our other supported languages.

The Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) provides a database with the plural rules for all languages. After asking all writers to ensure the database was correct for their respective language, we worked with the lead developer to bake this logic into the CMS, allowing UX writers to create plural variables themselves, without any need to involve the developers.

russian.jpg

05

Leading
a QA task force

During the content design process, the content team were discovering a lot of bugs in the product; not only in terms of content being displayed incorrectly (e.g. truncated text), but also with functionality, design, etc.

At one point, my department had discovered close to 400 bugs. These had been placed in a backlog, with no clear plan to fix them.

Our company's QA team was clearly overwhelmed and ill-equipped to run in-depth testing that covered functionality, design, and content across all languages.

The only solution that made sense was to create an independent QA task force within the content team whose sole job it was to record, track, and ensure bugs were fixed.

With a dedicated team, we were able to convince development teams of the value in fixing these bugs, and come up with a plan to include fixes into their regular development sprints, ultimately reducing this backlog to almost zero outstanding bugs.

team.jpg

06

Beyond Google

My mission to provide outstanding content design didn't end with our Google Material Design award. The following year, Trip.com decided to break into the Arabic market.

This was a huge undertaking for content and design. We not only had to redesign a lot of layouts to meet the requirements of a right-to-left (RTL) language, but also provide support for new plurals, and ensure that our wording and imagery was culturally appropriate.

The first step was to hire an in-house Arabic content designer. All the work I had previously done to integrate content with design paid off here as our Arabic content designer was seen not as a translator but as a content designer and cultural advisor.

 

Adding plural support was easy with the aforementioned CMS we developed, and integrating content into the design process allowed us to ensure layouts looked suitable early on in the design process.

 

We also removed or altered a lot of imagery that was seen as culturally inappropriate in some Arabic markets.

arabic.jpg
bottom of page