Air France KLM x Tandemz: growing the UX practice

Loïs Gauthier
March 29, 2023

Air France has been recruiting testers with Tandemz since 2021 and is used by 8 team members in France and the Netherlands. We chatted with Marie-Cécile, Research Strategist about how they use Tandemz in their UX research processes. In this article, we outline the UX practices of Air France, their sources of testers, give examples of some of their recruitments and tests as well as share some of the tools they use for research.


Marie-Cécile has been working at Air France for 14 years now. First working in IT with a focus on interface design, she naturally transitioned to UX in 2014, in the early stages of the UX department as UX manager. She has held several positions working as a researcher(A/B testing and research manager) and a designer (Air France B2C website). She is now Research Strategist. Her goal is to grow the UX practice within Air France, working on research operations as well as conducting exploratory and evaluative studies.

Air France KLM

Air France is one of the world's leading airline companies founded in 1933 with over 44k employees in the world and an average of 1200 daily flights. The company merged with Dutch airline company KLM in 2014, resulting in the holding Air France - KLM which transported 87,3M passengers in 2014. Member of the SkyTeam alliance, the holding also has cargo activities, owns other airlines such as Transavia and holds minority stakes in several others including Air Mauritius and Air Corsica. Both the French and Dutch government have minority stakes in the airlines.

A long lasting UX practice

Air France has been working on user experience for over 10 years. When Marie-Cécile started, they were 2 people in charge of UX subjects and were working extensively with agencies. With rapid growth since 2017, the digital department of the company now has a team of over 45 people in Paris and Amsterdam. Most skills are now internalized, with Product Designers, Service designers, Content Designers, Copywriters and User Researchers such as Marie-Cécile.

Air France KLM UX team assesses the organization's UX maturity to be at 3 using the Norman Nielsen scale which means the UX practice is structured at the digital level with still room to grow at the whole organization level.

The UX team at Air France KLM works on several interfaces: the website and app as well as other apps of the ecosystem. More occasionally, they work on equipment at the airport or  aboard planes.

The team conducts their tests mostly in English and French.

Testing at every stage of the design sprint

Marie-Cécile and her colleagues conduct research at all stages of the UX process :

  • Exploratory stage: in this early stage, they mostly conduct interviews (usually face to face), focus groups, on site observations, card sorting, surveys, and sometimes diary studies
  • Evaluative stage: for this stage, they mainly conduct moderated usability tests, coupled with unmoderated tests, surveys and guerilla tests in airports when needed

Different sources of testers

Air France uses several sources of testers:

  • agencies: they use these sources of participants when they need high quality recruitment or recruitment with very specific criterias.
  • Tandemz: they favor Tandemz for simple targets, which are recruited very fast and in a cost efficient manner. Also for international recruitments, especially in the Netherlands.

Testing to explore habits

Two of the studies conducted by Marie-Cécile were in the context of a Design sprint which Challenge was "How to convert our customers using other sales channels to use our direct online channels”. First an exploratory study was conducted to uncover the users goals, motivations and frustrations of users behind this behavior. 

Insights gathered will feed the design sprint which will result in a prototype that will then be evaluated through a user test to assess the prototype's relevance. Participants for this evaluative study were also recruited through Tandemz.

Testing to organize information

Another study Marie-Cécile and the Research team conducted was aimed at reviewing and reorganizing the content of a web page dedicated to dangerous products that are forbidden onboard planes.

For this purpose, the research team recruited 10 participants (recruited and met in 8 days 💪🏼). The team used the card sorting technique where participants are asked to categorize items within self-created categories. They also asked questions before and after the sorting phase in order to understand the mental model that led to their categorization choices.

Some of Marie-Cécile’s tools for UX research

  • Lookback: to record faces and include facial expression
  • Miro: for analysis, insights and collaboration
  • Optimal sorting: for card sorting and creating hierarchy

Credits to streamline the UX research process

After conducting a few recruitments with us, Air France purchased prepaid credits to make their recruitment easier and more systematic. The main advantage of credits for Marie-Cécile is that team members at Air France and KLM don’t have to validate budgets and quotes for each study: the budget and decision making is done once a year which saves a lot of time in research operations.

You too, unlock the full potential of your user research with Tandemz!

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