“I don’t like things that are cluttered; you’ve got too much stuff you’re trying to look at.” That’s one customer’s view of what travel site homepages should be like. He wants minimal mess – things that distract from the main goal of searching. Let’s look more at what he says about the virtues of clean travel site homepages.
Less is more
Asked what makes a good travel booking homepage in general, this customer said:
I like it to be clear, and not bombarded by lots of clutter and thrashing things. It just wants to be functional – obviously – and clean and tidy.
So we sent him to a number of well-known travel sites to see how they stand up to his homepage expectations.
On Expedia he said:
That top left corner [search] box is obvious. The rest of it looks like a load of adverts.
‘Why book with Expedia’. A load of information down there that I probably wouldn’t bother reading.
And then some other adverts over there about a Eurostar offer.
Which wasn’t relevant to what he was looking for, so just a distraction.
When asked to look at TravelSupermarket’s homepage, though, he said:
That’s a pleasant front screen; that seems less cluttered.
He had a similar reaction to Lastminute.com’s homepage:
It doesn’t look muddled; it’s fairly straightforward
There’s less distraction on this page [than Expedia]
For him, the cleaner design on both TravelSupermarket and Lastminute.com was appealing. The homepages looked simpler and more organised. They weren’t trying to avert his attention so much.
Who’s cleaning up?
Ryanair has recently redesigned its website, going from this:
It’s fairly obvious one of the main goals was simplicity. And they’ve done a good job. You’re not distracted by standout navigation tabs (HOTELS) anymore. There’s no big bold offer image where most people expect the search form to be. And gone are the adverts for things like car hire in the right column. Now it’s much more about simple navigation and search.
So the take away is this: take away!
Take away unnecessary distractions and visitors will focus more on the key homepage conversion: searching for what they want.