Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Travel websites using web 2.0 to improve usability

A summary of the Webcredible report on travel industry websites ...

"A usability study into the online travel industry by Webcredible has discovered a mixed level of usability performance from some of the UK’s most popular travel brands. Whilst some very good websites exist with high levels of usability, the research reveals that others are lacking in some of the most basic customer usability functions. The report conducted by online usability and accessibility experts Webcredible examined the websites of 20 of the UK’s online travel agents and airline carriers.

Webcredible found that only three companies Opodo, British Airways, and Travelbag scored over 60% when measured against a set of specific criteria. Many of the top internet brands performed very poorly only scoring around 50%.

Each of the websites within the report were evaluated against 20 best practice guidelines and assigned a score of zero to five for each guideline. This system was developed by Webcredible specifically for travel websites.

The travel industry average usability rating was 51.5% which clearly identifies scope for travel sites to improve on their online offering in order to meet the demands of a European marketplace estimated to be worth €49.4 billion. Travel agent sites, Opodo and Travelbag, were found to offer users the best online experience, scoring 67 and 62 out of a potential 100 respectively. While airline carrier sites Monarch and Ryanair scored lowest at 38 and 40.

Interestingly, there was a significant difference between the performance of the travel agents who scored 55% and the airline carriers who scored 48%. Carriers frequently let themselves down by failing to address areas such as poor transparency of pricing.

Company Total score

Opodo 67
British Airways 65
Travelbag 62
STA Travel 58"    (Continued via Internet Retailing)    [Usability Resources]

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