Koru Connect – Concept App


In this concept UI design case study I proposed that Air New Zealand had come to me to identify potential pain points in their customer’s journey and use technology to make the user experience as smooth as possible. The solution was a mobile app aimed at millennials, tapping into their desire for experiential, immersive travel.
The app enables users to gain inspiration for travel, plan and book meaningful experiences and ultimately develop brand loyalty and increase the numbers of flights they booked with Air New Zealand as part of their wider journey.




Context and Challenge

Air NZ concept project
Global market
One month

Air New Zealand (Air NZ) is a world leader when it comes to technology innovation. Their focus as a technology company was strengthened with the appointment of former GM/VP of Intuit, Avi Golan as Chief Digital officer in January 2016.
The challenge was to determine the target user, identify an area in their customer journey that could be improved by technology, and develop a solution that could accompany the existing Air NZ customer product suite.



Goals and objectives

  1. Gain insight into the dreaming and planning phase of millennial travel
  2. Increase number of flight bookings made by millennials by X% – to be determined
  3. Increase millennial brand loyalty as measured by an X% increase of social proof (Instagram tags, twitter posts etc.) – to be determined




  1. Research
  2. Concept solution
  3. Iterative design & testing
  4. Visual Design




Determine user group to target: Millennials

Air NZ are clearly attentive of their millennial users (typically born in 1980’s to early 2000’s) through being involved in research projects such as ‘TRA’s The Listening Project 3: Millennials’ which involved “listening in on the lives of 27 New Zealand millennials”.
Website: TRA
Infotools: The Millennials Listening Project

Millennials “make up approximately 24% of the global population and are on their way to becoming the largest adult generation in history. They are also massive consumers, early adopters and trendsetters, and savvy powerful influencers with large networks at their fingertips.”
Marketing Association Article: Loyalty, social media and the millennials

Air New Zealand tweet about Millennial spend

Air New Zealand tweet about Millennial spend

Millennials – insights

  1. Millennials account for about 20% of all international travellers (about 200 million people)… likely to make up 50% of the travel market by 2020… The demographic generates more than $180 billion in annual worldwide tourism revenue
    NZ Herald Article: The wants of every millennial traveller
  2. Topdeck survey of 18–30 somethings, 31,000 people from 134 different countries: 88% of them traveled overseas between 1 and 3 times a year
    Forbes Article: Are Millennial Travel Trends Shifting in 2016?
  3. A 2008 McKinsey Global Institute study predicts that the retirement of Baby Boomers will siphon roughly $400 billion annually from the US economy. New Zealand and the rest of the developed world can expect a similar impact. This will leave Millennials to pick up the slack in consumer spending.Aimia whitepaper: The New Zealand millennial loyalty survey
  4. The younger generation is no longer seeking a party-animal atmosphere when traveling, and instead wants to fully immerse themselves into new cultures
    Forbes Article: Are Millennial Travel Trends Shifting in 2016?
  5. Millennials are relentless self-improvers and making is one means of deriving a sense of self-accomplishment.
    Idealog Article: Makers of the new millennium
  6. About 2/3 of younger travellers are comfortable planning an entire trip on a smartphone
    ‘Think with Google’ infographic: Millennial travelers mobile shopping booking behavior



Identify a pain point

Customer journey

In an NZ Herald interview with Avi Golan, it is stated that Air NZ estimates “there are an average of 15 steps in a flight – from the planning stage to when passengers arrive back home.” Golan continues “For each one of them we look at how we can automate it, how we can make it better as you go one part of the journey to another.”
NZ Herald Article, Saturday 11 February 2017: Ex-Google staffer’s plans for Air NZ

I mapped out the Air NZ customer journey as I saw it:



Customer journey findings

The customer journey map demonstrated that Air New Zealand already uses technology to address many potential user experience pain points in ways that would most likely delight the traveller – including making enquiries using Oscar the chatbot, ordering coffee from the Koru lounge with the Koru Live app, or checking in bags at Auckland airport using Biometric technology.

It did also identify a couple of points in the customer journey that could have some intervention to ensure a smoother trip:

  1. Dreaming & planning phase: Inspiration
  2. After bag drop: Bag tracking
  3. Pre-boarding: Notifications
  4. Bag collection: Info on bag status



Solution concept

A mobile app for millennials that focusses on the dreaming and planning phase of their journey, with the emphasis on experiential and immersive travel.

After my research I narrowed in on the user, the customer journey phase to target, and the the medium of a digital app. As this Air New Zealand press release from 23 January 2017 points out, the airline is already hoping to develop the current dreaming and planning phase:

“Customers can look forward to the airline continuing to evolve and develop the apps it offers to further enhance their travel experience – not only to manage their bookings and at the airport on the day of travel, but also earlier in the dreaming and planning phase.”
– Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan

Press release: Major milestones for Air New Zealand’s mobile app

The importance of addressing the needs of millennial users was clear through my research as they are such an influential and sizable tourist market. The Air New Zealand Grabaseat app ‘Experiences’ creates a great platform for showcasing trip ideas, but my research suggested that millennial users are looking for meaningful and immersive experiences, so might not be the target for more luxury trips including ‘Seven nights at the Le Meridien Tahiti.’
I brainstormed some trip examples using these keywords: immersive, ethical, artisan, local, active (involved, as opposed to passively watching), health, wellbeing, volunteer, environmental, educational.




Iterative design and testing – Wireframes

I always start any project with pencil sketching, quickly getting ideas down on paper to get past obvious solutions to try and come up with alternative ideas. After I had worked out the main user flow and features on paper, I used Sketch.app to create wireframes.
The idea was to create the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) for the app, which would be to be able to search for inspiration for immersive travel, save it or send it to a friend. Additional functions including booking experiences, adding social interation, and relevant flight information could be added later.





Visual design

After 3 rounds of user testing using an InVision prototype and Usertesting.com, with 5 user testers each round, I gained insights and feedback to incorporate for improvement in UX and the users understanding of the app. I developed these into the first visual design draft.
This included including a walk-through and visual hints that you can swipe the images left and right.
Invision Prototype



Creating a clickable prototype in Invision

Creating a clickable prototype in Invision

User testing with 5 users per iteration - Usertesting.com

User testing with 5 users per iteration – Usertesting.com

Landing page for app release.

Landing page for app release.

Result / Conclusion

If this had been a live project I would now look at the impact the app had on the original objectives. Through testing, user centred design thinking, and a process of iteration, I would keep improving on the product to maximise results.
The visual design would be developed further, creating a brand that works with the Air New Zealand product suite. Testing, iterating and creating a pattern library and style guide to ensure that the design is consistent throughout.

Thanks for making it this far through my case study – whew!
I would love to talk to you if you have a project I can be involved in – please get in touch.

Next project: Mission to Mars