Simon Austerberry

  • Portfolio
    • Duty Free eCommerce Design

      MAG Airport App

      MAG Transfers Booking Journey

  • Projects
    • ShopNote


Redesigning Manchester Airport's duty-free eCommerce homepage.

MAG-O, the digital division of Manchester Airports Group, had created a multi-merchant eCommerce platform that allowed their passengers to reserve duty-free products in advance. The site had products from a variety of shops from within their airports and included a mix of fashion, beauty and technology brands including Ted Baker, Apple, M.A.C and Jo Malone.

As the Senior UX Designer in the team, I was asked to look at how we can optimise the site, driving more traffic into the shopping funnel and increasing conversion rate.

Identifying usability issues

I planned and moderated usability testing on the existing site, inviting 8 participants in to our in-house labs. The session was split into two parts. First a short conversation around shopping behaviour in the airport. Then, I asked participants to complete a series of tasks on the site.

The testing uncovered a number of areas for improvement including:

  1. A lack of understanding of the service and how it works
  2. Some content on the homepage was irrelevant
  3. The mobile navigation had usability issues
  4. Participants misunderstood the product range available
  5. I'd also uncovered insight into buying behaviour for airport shoppers. For example, we'd uncovered that airport purchases were often pre-planned.

In addition, I also looked at HotJar heatmaps and Google Analytics data to measure engagement on key pages in the shopping funnel.

Designing a new homepage

We felt updating the homepage would remedy some of the issues we'd seen and give us our biggest bang for our buck. To be successful, the redesign of the homepage would need to:

  • Educate users on the service and its benefits
  • Ensure users were aware of the full product range available
  • Drive more users into the shopping funnel

With this in mind, I redesigned the homepage, making key changes compared to the previous design. This included:

  • Search-first hero banner. A little unconventional, but we'd seen in both the user testing and analytics that users already knew what they wanted.
  • A list of categories on the homepage. This would show the wide product range, especially on mobile.
  • Simple explanation of proposition. We'd seen participants scanned the page for information, so included some short sentences to explain how the site works.
  • Simplified design. We reduced the number of banners overall and simplified the design to make it easier to create assets.


We saw significant engagement with the hero search banner and category links, which became the key ways users were entering the shopping funnel.

PS. That cool looking post thumbnail was generated by Device Frames

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