Globus Family of Brands

Calvin Chong
5 min readJul 6, 2017

Globus Family of Brands (Agency: Empired)

The Globus Family of Brands is a collection of travel brands offering coach tours and cruises all around the world. In early 2017, I worked with them to redesign their suite of four brand websites, the checkout experience, and B2B/B2C portals. This was a multifaceted project that also included a new CRM system and targeted email marketing.

As the sole UX designer on the project, it was my responsibility to plan and execute the design process.

Empathy mapping

To kick off the discovery phase, I ran an empathy mapping exercise with project stakeholders to gain an understand of who the client thinks their customers are. This was a useful exercise to ensure their expectations are in line with the upcoming user research.

Working in teams, stakeholders completed and presented their empathy map.

This workshop was also a good opportunity to educate the stakeholders on personas: what they are, how they look like, and why they’re useful to the design process. I sought the group’s input on useful persona attributes and dimensions – which helped to increase their buy-in of the deliverable.

(Here is the basic empathy map template I used for this workshop).

User interviews and surveys

The client had existing customer segmentation and demographics data which I used as the basis for a recruitment brief. While an external agency helped to find and organise our participants, I wrote a research brief and worked with the client to finalise the interview script. This was also adapted into a close-ended survey so I could get some quantitative results to complement the interviews.

In preparation for the week of interviews, I set up (read: commandeered) a meeting room to function as a project workspace. I used a wall to document key quotes and insights in between each interview.

Colour-coding notes made insights easier to synthesise. Also, pretty.

With the help of a colleague, I conducted 38 user interviews over 5 days, both in-person and over the phone. We also received 2,167 responses to the survey. This method proved to be an effective way for the project team and stakeholders to engage with the research early and often.

At the end of a long week of interviews.

Personas and user journeys

In developing personas, I started by creating affinity maps based on the various attributes, pain points, and motivations of the interviewees. In the end, I arrived at six personas across two different user groups.

For each persona, I created a complementary user journey to show how they progress through the tour booking lifecycle. These journeys were key for identifying design as well as business opportunities.

Discovery findings

At the end of the discovery phase, I detailed the design process to-date, included the key UX deliverables and provided a summary of key insights to be explored further.

Ideation workshop

WIth personas, user journeys, and design opportunities on hand, I ran an all-day workshop with the client to get our ideas out in the open and discuss them as a team. I organised a variety of different activities to ensure I get the most out of everyone’s time but also to keep things interesting:

  • 20-second gut test
  • Homepage content and feelings
  • Homepage brainstorm (crazy sixes)
  • Feature prioritisation
  • Design studios

UI design and prototyping

At this stage of the project, we started to work in sprints (with the first five devoted to designs). I created sitemaps, key process flows, and responsive wireframes, then worked with a visual designer who created hi-fidelity designs.

One of the key challenges at this stage was designing one of the four brand websites (to be launched first), while being aware of impacts to the other brands to be designed later. This involved working closely between design and developers to ensure that we’re building on a common, reusable foundation.

User testing

From the user interviews, I knew there was a critical interaction path I had to test the designs against: how would customers use the site to (a) understand the brand, (b) discover tours, (c) purchase tours and excursions, and (d) manage their bookings in the customer portal.

I created a user testing script with specific tasks to see how the customer uses the website and portal at each of these stages. I also printed out each question on an index card so participants can refer to them during the tests.

Working with the designer, we prepared an interactive prototype using InVision. Perhaps most importantly, I set up an observation for the project team – including the client – to sit in and help to identify design improvements.

The observation room was prepped with screenshots from the prototype to enable observers to add their notes easily.

The project is still in development at the time of this writing.




Calvin Chong

UX designer, organiser of things, occasional pundit.