Etihad Airways has an in-house design studio and collaborates with various agencies around the world for its digital experience. Design projects have different timelines and product owners. The challenge for Etihad is therefore to set up a design system with the aim of reducing 'design debt' (the sum of all the imperfections of the user experience and design processes that appear over time as a result of innovation, growth, and lack of design refactoring) and simplifying design processes in the near future. At the same time, and as a test case, the new brand proposition 'Choose Well' should be made tangible throughout the digital ecosystem.
Insights & Strategy
In a series of on-site design audits in Abu Dhabi, we mapped the design status of the various digital touchpoints and identified the inconsistencies. Based on the ambition and goals of the organization and the new brand proposition 'Choose Well', we defined the design direction. In this process, we managed the collaboration with the various authorities and stakeholders. Also, the success factors and KPIs for the design system itself have been defined, such as the extent and ease with which the design system is used, the savings it generates from reuse of elements and patterns, and an improvement of the connection between the different touchpoints in the customer journeys.
Concept & Design
The design system is set up in Zeroheight according to the atomic design methodology of Brad Frost. At the same time, we wanted to avoid the pitfall of a design system, a collection of patterns that deprive creatives of any freedom and design pleasure, by anticipating the desired latitude of creative agencies and the brand management department. With advertising agency Perfect Storm, for example, we developed storytelling principles that we subsequently translated into service design patterns.
The foundations were laid just before the pandemic. Now that the airline industry is up and running again, the design system has been put into full use and a reduction in 'design debt' has actually been achieved.
In addition to the design system, we also improved the booking flow through structural A/B testing and we developed creative concepts around new product propositions such as 'stopover Abu Dhabi'.