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Digital branded experience

After a year-long pitch process, we won Virgin Atlantic’s global website redesign, a 4-year Agile end-to-end design project. The airline was in the midst of a rebrand and a new digital expression coincided with the complete overhaul of their livery and in-flight experiences.

Virgin were very keen to follow a strict UCD process and the extent of user research and testing we completed was impressive: 24 diary studies, over 300 card sorts, and almost 500 task-based lab sessions. We also used extensive optimisation testing on the live site to continually improve the experience.

I led the UX and content strategy streams, working closely with a team of visual designers and front-end developers. Particular challenges included the vast amounts of data and interactions involved in flight search, pricing, and online check-in. Integrating with systems like ITA alone took over 9 months.

It was very important that we captured the essence of the brand throughout the experience: this was the first time I used experience principles as a tool for expressing Virgin’s unique positioning and tone of voice. They helped to create a site that was undeniably Virgin, and along with innumerable improvements to the experience, we saw a 3% increase in flight purchase conversion after the launch of the new site.

I spoke about experience principles at EuroIA; you can see my presentation in Design Approaches.

Virgin Atlantic

UX Director

Design Team
UX - 6
Visual Design - 6
Content Strategy - 2
Copy - 2

Experience strategy
Adaptive website
Multi-channel journeys
App design


A branded experience

We created experience principles for all 9 brand values and used these to inspire, challenge and engage with the content and UX. This ensured the experience was indisputably Virgin.

Evolving flight search

The flight purchase funnel went through dozens of iterations based on collaborative sketching, prototyping and user testing. The result was an overall 3% conversion increase.

Flying Club

The amount and sources of data we designed for were challenging. Nowhere was this more evident than in Flying Club, where a dozen data sources fed the branded experience.

Inspiration and innovation

We explored many ways to help customers build their perfect trip. We even built an augmented reality bag sizer to avoid embarrassment over bulky luggage at the airport.

The app

We redesigned the Virgin Atlantic app to create an always-on travel companion. Integrating several sources of data was key to creating a seamless experience to guide users through their travels.

The School of Life

We created a journey integrating School of Life content into the Virgin experience.


In addition to lab-based user testing, we assessed hundreds of hypotheses with A/B and multivariate testing. Our CORE methodology helped us prioritise ideas based on cost and impact.

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