There are lots of flight comparison websites and almost all of them follow a very similar layout on their search results pages. They all have a long table with rows of complex information including airline, price, departure times, arrival times, flight durations and stopover durations.
Users have 2 challenges with such pages:
1. All the information is represented by text, and there’s too much text overall which makes it difficult to absorb the overall picture and choose the best overall flight
2. Picking out a criteria, such as the duration, and scanning the list for this detail can be difficult because there’s so much information surrounding it on the screen
A solution is out there!
Hipmunk have a really innovative solution on their website which shows flights overlaid on a bar chart with time and price as the axes. Users can scan the screen and absorb a lot of information without having to read much text, which makes scanning very quick. This is a really simple, innovative and effective solution.
How does it work?
- A horizontal bar represents each flight. The position of the bar in the timeline shows when it departs and arrives, the width of the bar shows the flight’s duration and the size of any gap in the bar shows the stopover duration. A complex set of results is made easy to digest.
- Another interesting Hipmunk feature is the default sort order: ‘Agony’. This takes into account factors that make a flight less appealing as well as the cost. For example, the flights with a long stopover get pushed further down the results.
- It’s slightly more difficult to see the some of the precise details, such as the exact departure or arrival times – users are shown this when they hover over a flight’s ‘bar’.
Checking flights on the go?
Hipmunk’s results layout is even more of an advantage on a smartphone. These devices have smaller screens which makes comparing large amounts of data even more challenging. Their iPhone app uses the same bar chart style layout and works very well.
The Hipmunk’s website and iPhone app brings a fresh innovation approach to flight comparisons.
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Webcredible had a stand at the Ecommerce Expo again this October which ran on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you came by you’ll have noticed that our stand looked very different. We changed our brand and logo on Monday, and we had a new stand design with the new look and feel to match.
We met some really interesting companies at the event again which we’re looking forwarding to working with. It was also good to catch-up with some of our existing clients who came to the show and stopped by our stand.
We also launched our Ecommerce Usability report: ‘The Online High Street: 5 years of improvement’ at the show. There was a general trend for scores to go up this year and John Lewis jumped from up from 3rd place in 2009 to 1st place in 2010. With the Internet retailing marketplace continuing to grow it makes sense that Internet retailers are continuing to invest time and resources in making their websites effective and persuasive.
Feel free to download the report or listen to the podcast.
SeeSaw has just launched its TV service bringing together recent and archive TV programmes from the BBC, Channel 4 and Five. It bought its technology from Project Kangaroo, which was joint venture by the same broadcasters that the Competition Commission blocked. Now that this service has finally arrived will it succeed?
3 channels in 1 place
Bringing programmes from different broadcasters into a single place has been popular elsewhere. Hulu did this in the USA where it offers programmes from NBC, Fox and ABC, amongst others, and has been very successful. For users it’s convenient to have all the programmes they want to watch all in one place and it encourages them to browse around and find various programmes, just as they do on their living room TVs. However, UK broadcasters already have their own successful catch up servies so SeeSaw will need promote itself heavily and attract users to its website.
SeeSaw will contain thousands of hours of archive programmes and this may help it to attract users. However, it’s not clear from its homepage that it contains a large amount of archive footage. It should make its proposition clear in its marketing material and on its homepage.
Most users will still prefer to watch programmes on their living room TVs rather than on their PC monitors. Living rooms are used for socialising and large TVs work much better PCs in this environment. If SeeSaw found a way to integrate its service into TV sets, set-top boxes or gaming consoles then it could get head of the competition. Netflix has does this quite successfully with its own streaming service in the USA and SeeSaw could benefit from doing something similar.