User Experience (UX) in travel sites

Common problems (and how to deal with them)

Many websites include content which may be confusing to end users; will they understand what contents will be available under “holidays”, “destinations” or “holiday tours”? What’s the difference between them?
  • showing prices using the user’s local currency
  • using a place near to the location of the user as the starting point of the travel (for example, the closest airport for flights)
  • include logical bounds; for example, not allowing a date previous to today for booking a reservation, or not allowing a return date previous to the departure
  • show the selection in a clear way; make the departure date visible enough when selecting the return date
  • allow entering the date using the keyboard; for some users it’s easier and/or quicker that way (but remember to show the accepted date format somehow)
These planes show the selected dates, but… are 12nd and 17th included? It’s somehow confusing. Moreover, you can’t enter the dates using the keyboard.

Opportunities

  • Browser: browses through different options without a particular objetive; their first thought isn’t to buy, but they might if they find something interesting.
  • Hunter: has an approximate idea of what she/he wants, but is still looking for the best option (many times, depending on the price); she/he is going to study and compare many alternatives before buying.
  • Buyer: has an exact idea of what he/she needs, and will buy it when he/she finds it.
In Kayak you can enter date ranges instead of particular dates, which adapts better to users with flexible requirements. On the other hand, this feature adds complexity to the date selector.
  • testimonials and recommendations from other users
  • scarcity (“only 3 available”; “last day”)
Expedia uses both reviews from other users and availability data. This can help users in the decision of buying, but should be done honestly and conveniently, and shouldn’t produce an excessive overload of information.
It can be very hard to interact with a website which is not adapted to mobile devices. In this case, selecting a particular field with a finger becomes a real challenge.

In conclusion

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web dev — frontend — usability — UX engineer | creator of uxheuristics.net

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jordisan -aka RamSys

jordisan -aka RamSys

web dev — frontend — usability — UX engineer | creator of uxheuristics.net

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