UA Test:
find the right COVID tests for your flight

UX Design (Co-Lead):
research, ideation, content design, visual design, prototyping

Yuran Ding
Lily Huang
Cheuk Yin Phipson Lee
Chanaradee Leelamanthep

United Airlines

October 2020 - November 2020

A one-in-all platform that helps people make COVID-19 testing plans for international travels more easily does not exist.

With the onset of COVID-19, governments worldwide have enforced different test requirements that overseas travelers must fulfill before they enter the country. However, many international travelers have struggled to find the correct COVID-19 tests and plan the timeline for their tests for their country of destination at affordable costs, compounding the existing stress they are facing while traveling amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Currently, although there are some guidelines and information on testing requirements for each country, a one-in-all platform that helps people make international travel plans during COVID-19 times more easily does not exist.

Our Solution

We designed a responsive website for United Airlines that is seamlessly integrated with UA's ticketing system for international travelers to find cheap and nearby tests in time for their flights.

Our website assists travelers to book the most suitable COVID tests based on their destinations and international traveling protocols. Whenever, and wherever.

Seamless Integration with UA Ticketing System

Takes in Insurance + Location Info to Optimize Test Recommendation

Simplified Test Requirement Info Based on Flight + Protocols
Direct Connection to Test Booking Website

Easy Comparison to Alternatives Enabled by Sorting

Curious how our solution contributes to easier COVID test finding for travellers? Let's begin with what we started with!

Design Brief

How might we help international travellers get the right COVID test in time for their flight so that they feel less frustrated when planning?

Research & Process


In-depth User Interview
Directed Storytelling
Affinity Diagram
User Journey Map

Design Strategy

Iterative Prototypes
Think Alouds

01. Initial Problem Statement
We want to help travellers find the right COVID-19 test for each country in time for their flights and make international travelling during COVID-19 more accessible under preventative protocols.

02.Defining the Problem Scope

Directed Storytelling
To examine the pain points and challenges that international travelers were facing when scheduling and getting their test results for their flight, we conducted 12 pop-up research sessions (in-depth user interviews) with individuals who had to travel internationally or schedule an international flight during the pandemic. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling, and each pop-up session took between 10 and 20 minutes to complete.

During each research session, we asked participants to share their experiences through a directed storytelling methodology, focused on the following areas:
  1. How they found their test provider and why they chose that provider;
  2. What the testing process was like (on the day of their actual test);
  3. How they were informed of their test results and what they expected;
  4. Post-test actions (e.g. reporting their results)
Synthesizing Data Using Affinity Diagram

After collecting notes from each participant, we synthesized our findings into an affinity diagram, to identify common themes and challenges that international travelers faced when finding tests during the pandemic. The pain points that we found are:

Pain Point 1:
Most people did not receive sufficient information or were lost in official COVID travel requirements website because there were no concise information that apply directly to them.

Pain Point 2:
Most people struggled to find a suitable COVID test that meet their requirements, needs and deadlines.

Pain Point 3:
Most people were not sure if they planned for the most suitable test because it was hard to compare to alternatives.

Based on our data analysis, we created 3 personas that are the most representative. 

User Journey Map

We then collected the results and combined them into a journey map that encapsulated the challenges that typical international travelers faced booking tests for their flight.

03. Design Opportunity

We realized that the easiest way for solving this problem is to develop a responsive website that help customers plan their flight and tests together. We agreed to design such a system for an existing airline company - the United Airlines (UA), an international airline company - because we realized that users would find doing everything in one platform convenient and that an international airline company like UA would benefit from a responsive website that helped travelers find tests quickly and efficiently.

04. Design Strategy

We want to create a one-step, hassle free, human-centered platform for planning COVID tests and flights for our users to elevate their needs.

Designing such a platform would be of great interests to airline companies like the UA because it solves users' frustration in planning and would increase their competitive advantage over other companies.

We propose a platform that synthesize and categorize COVID test information integrated with UA's existing ticketing system to create a more human-centered, empowered, and secured experience for international travellers.

We then strategized our detailed design solution for this one-step platform based on our pain point:

Pain Point 1:
Most people did not receive sufficient information or were lost in official COVID travel requirements website because there were no concise information that apply directly to them.
Solution 1:
Create personalized and simplified test requirement for users based on their destinations and protocols.

Pain Point 2:
Most people struggled to find a suitable COVID test that meet their requirements, needs and deadlines.
Solution 2:
Show a list of tests that are suitable for their requirements, needs and deadlines. Directly connect users to test booking websites.

Pain Point 3:
Most people were not sure if they planned for the most suitable test because it was hard to compare to alternatives.
Solution 3:
Use a filtering and sorting function to allow easy comparison of alternative tests.

05. Prototypes & Iterations

Initial Prototypes & Think Aloud
We decided to focus on the mobile version of the responsive website first, because it helps us focus on the important information we wanted users to access given the smaller real-estate (compared to the desktop version).

Initial Prototype using Figma

With our initial paper prototype, we conducted 2 think-aloud sessions with our classmates. Each think-aloud took 15 minutes, during which we asked participants to search, find and schedule 1 antibody test and 1 swab test for a business flight they had booked in advance from Pittsburgh to Beijing.

From our think-alouds, we obtained the following insights and feedback:
  • It is not clear from the first screen (the profile page) how the user can access the tests, so simplify the screens and change the landing page.
  • Some of the icons such as uploading insurance information and setting the location and flight information when searching for a test is very misleading and confusing.
  • The “add to cart” buttons and “save to wishlist” options do not make sense in context to test scheduling, because users are not purchasing products as they would on Amazon.
  • There is no indication of progress and system status while searching, so maybe show a progress bar.

Mid-fidelity Prototype
From our think-alouds, we realized that the test-scheduling process was complex on the mobile site, as there were many menu buttons and options that confused participants as they were trying to search and filter through the tests. Hence, we simplified our prototype by reducing the number of filters.

We also realized that, as this prototype will be designed with the intention of being presented to UA, we should focus on a scenario-driven prototype where we demonstrate one specific type of transaction in our prototype.

Additionally, because our website required UA to cooperate with test centers to directly schedule a test, it would incur high costs for maintenance and managing test payments. Hence, to make the website more feasible, we simplified the transaction by removing services to purchase tests and manage test results on the website.

With this in mind, we began to design and brainstorm what our website would look like on a desktop screen. Our primary objective was to maximize the new space that the screen has, to offer users the ability to change or update their insurance plan and also see the tests they have already purchased.

mid-fidelity prototype mobile version

mid-fidelity prototype desktop version

Improved Mid-fidelity Prototype
Taking the feedback we received, we simplified our screens and developed a prototype that was focused on a specific scenario exploring an international traveler trying to schedule tests after booking a round-trip ticket from Pittsburgh to Beijing.

We participated in a design critique session, and realized that while we had simplified our prototype, features such as the search bar was misleading, and because the font size for our test information was so small, participants would easily overlook it.

font size too small

We also refined our desktop prototype to better fit the round-trip ticket scenario. We simplified our prototype so that the flight information and destination is automatically filled in for the user based on the flight they are purchasing the tests for (accessed through UA’s existing flight history information).

06. Final Prototype

07. The Pitch to UA

Preparing the Pitch
When designing the pitch, we focused on using our user research to drive our story. Because we realized that the majority of our participants were flying internationally for personal travel, we crafted a scenario through our responsive website to tailor for these travelers.
  • Mobile Site Scenario: Because the mobile site offers fast and digestible summaries of each test center, we used a scenario where the traveler who booked a flight has a busy schedule and thus needs to use the mobile site to quickly access test center information.
  • Desktop Site Scenario: In contrast to the mobile site, the desktop site provided detailed information not only about the test center, but also the testing protocols as well. Hence, we leveraged that additional information and created a scenario where travelers would use that information when testing in an unfamiliar country.
Final Pitch Deck

08. Future Development

There are a few features that we want to develop further.

First, we want to explore and test alternative methods of organizing and displaying test information on the desktop version, for users to easily see the test protocols and other information already available in the mobile site.

Second, we also want to explore additional services and features that would help travelers filter test centers based on how results will be delivered (e.g. by phone, by mail, electronically, etc.). This is because from previous interviews, users mentioned how the delivery factors impacted how they feel about the experience.