Non-refundable trips cancellation

  • Project
  • My role
  • Tools
  • Tools
  • Solo project
  • User Research & Analysis, UX Design, Usability testing, UI design & Prototyping
  • Paper, Pencil, Sketch, InVision, Illustrator, Photoshop, Keynote


When life happens and users decide to cancel their trips they already feel down. Not knowing if they are able to get a refund or have to lose money makes them feel even more anxious. Calling customer support, being on hold, having to explain everything again and again make it an extremely frustrating experience.  

Study shows 59% of people choose to avoid calling customer support and prefer to get things done using the latest digital technologies. 

Consumers prefer customer service that doesn’t require talking. The initial outcome of the project was to create a solution that gives users opportunity to cancel trips and request refunds online rather than calling to customer service.



How might we help users cancel their non-refundable trips and request refunds online without being forced to talk to companies’ representatives?


The solution is designed to decrease frustration in users who prefer less in-person interactions. This approach gives users options about how to cancel and request refunds online for non-refundable trips.

Market Research

To understand target market and gather comprehensive insights I conducted market research.

One of most important insights was an understanding that many travelers now are dealing with a completely new set of stressful scenarios when canceling and postponing their travel plans during pandemic. Many credit card trip cancellation benefits and travel insurance companies do not cover pandemics, so travelers are forced to face this difficult situation alone.

Travel companies were overwhelmed by calls during the recent spike in travelers looking to cancel. Many travelers complained that getting help has been particularly difficult during this time. They have complained of spending hours on hold with various agencies. 

Numbers show that even before the pandemic 59% of consumers would rather go through additional channels to contact customer service than have to use their voice to communicate. 

Competitive Analysis

To identify standard practices set by competitors I went through users flows of cancellation process in their apps. I decided to check the number of levels it takes to find cancelation policy and complete cancelation request using the mobile version of Expedia,, and Airbnb.

I used the same criteria for the task on each app: I began from the landing page(level 1) and went all the way to the confirmation of the cancelation. While conducting the research I’ve noticed that none of the platforms except Airbnb offered cancellation options for customers with non-refundable bookings.


Keeping clicks to a minimum is important, more important is to keep users informed about: what is going on, where they are, where they are going and what they need to do.

Jakob’s Law states: “Users spend most of their time on other sites or apps.”

People expect a product to work like all the others. To simplify the process by providing familiar design patterns, thereby increasing conversion I took a few familiar to users ‘order return’ experiences. Similarly to previous analysis I decided to find return policy and submit order return using mobile versions of Amazon and Google Store.


User Journeys

To uncover any hidden opportunities and bringing non-refundable trip cancelation experience closer to refundable I maped two user journeys for users who have different cancelation flexibility.



Cancellation options

To identify cancelation options for users who have bought non-refundable fare I have researched possible variants available and created a list of options what would potentially help business to reduce call center volume and give users multiple options to cancel non-ref trips online.

The most powerful insight from the options research is that if trip dates fall under travel restrictions users can be eligible for full refund because hosts must follow local restrictions and can not accommodate any guest. So they must process refunds when it is requested by customers.

Informational Architecture

Considering users and business needs established earlier in the process to structure information I gathered and make UX more understandable for users I created IA of the process.

User Flow

To map every step of user interactions required to achieve the main goal I've created user flow diagram focusing on cancelation due to medical reasons at this time.


To define UI elements, design patterns, and visual hierarchy I created wireframes of key screens identified earlier. I conducted usability testing by asking participants to complete defined tasks using a think-aloud cognitive walkthrough.

Affinity Mapping

To pull out insights and to be able effectively analyze usability testing results I used affinity diagramming method. As a result I was able to prioritize paintpoints and brainstorm solutions to implement into final design.

Final Solutions

The feedback from the usability test helped me identify key painpoints and improve user experience by making it more intuitive.

The final solution provides users who bought non-refundable trips with multiple options to cancel bookings online. It also offers a few more ideas to check out if the cancelation is not possible at all. 'Current travel restrictions' concept gives users better understanding of where they are, what can be potentially changed, and what they should expect to happen next.

Users remain in control of the cancelation request and at any moment can easily contact the service. 'Contact us' is added to each cancelation related screen to provide reassurance to users who get stuck and feel frustrated.

Users first explain their concern to a chatbot which tries to accommodate their needs. If the situation requires human agent involvement, chatbot helps to streamline the process by giving a summary of the request to an agent.

That will take pressure off the customer support team so they can save time they need to solve more complex problems.

What have I learned?

Research - is crucial. I couldn't have designed the product without the data and people who actually use similar products. The information I gathered during research phase made it possible to adapt the product to users' needs.

Journey maps - are powerful.
Having a chance to compare and contrast journeys gave me an opportunity to identify users' painpoints and opportunities for improvement. Which was the most influential piece to create seamless and intuitive experience.

Business goals - find the right balance. It is required to bring measurable results to business but it's not always fit well with user needs. Finding the balance is the always hard. But creating something to help users AND meet business goals is even cooler. More complicated = more interesting.  


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