What makes your company website stand out? Is it the simple, clear navigation options? The easy-to-find information? The clear, attractive design that enhances the experience? Or does your website stand out for the wrong reasons, like unclear navigation, or design elements that obstruct usability?
The way people experience your website (user experience or UX) is arguably far more important than the way it looks. A beautiful, but difficult to use, website will invariably lead to frustration. A simple, but easy to use website is likely to get much more traction. We’ve talked about UX in detail in other articles, but today we’d like to show you a couple of examples of good – and bad – UX.
Battle for airspace
While leisure travel in 2020 is a bit of a sore point, there’s still plenty to be learned from two of South Africa’s biggest low-cost airlines. Next time you’re looking at affordable flights between SA’s major cities, consider the UX.
Both of these airlines have similar pricing models and flights. Their aeroplanes can accommodate around the same number of people, and their optional extras are much the same. When it comes to ease of use, however, FlySafair’s website is a few steps ahead. The very first thing that greets you on this website is a form where you can complete your travel details to find a flight. All it asks is departure, destination, and number of passengers. Once you’ve selected these, you can then go into more detail about times, luggage, car hire and so on.
By contrast, Kulula.com greets you with a multitude of options. They ask you to indicate whether you want a hotel or car upfront, and the very first thing you need to answer is about loyalty cards. You need to complete at least two selection steps before you can search for a flight. Now, this may not seem like a major inconvenience, but it could easily mean the difference between a sale and no sale.
The take-away: Value-adds are always great, but they are rarely the primary reason someone visits a website. Forcing people to select these before they even get to their primary goal is counter-productive.
Shopping cart showdown
South Africa’s large grocery stores overwhelmingly offer value on their websites. From online shopping to online-only specials, to sending a virtual gift card, they’re all very much playing in a similar space. But when you stack, for example, PnP up against OK, you start to quickly notice where UX can go wrong.
When you first open these websites, you’ll immediately notice plenty of similarities in layout. Each has a menu at the top, a large image with information covering much of the screen, and, when you scroll down, various product specials and other links. However, what seems similar at first glance is actually very different. PnP’s website features a simple menu that takes you directly to shopping, right from the start. The image below this simple menu is static, and clicking it takes you, again, straight to online shopping. While there is plenty of additional information to be had, it isn’t the main focus of the page, and is also easy to find.
OK Foods, on the other hand, has a multi-layered menu with numerous options – none of which take you shopping. The images below the menu not only cover the entire screen below the menu, but also scroll across the screen every five seconds. When you scroll down, huge images dominate, and it takes you a few minutes to realise that OK Foods doesn’t, in fact, offer online shopping at all. There’s also a pop-up asking you to sign up for their rewards programme. This can be closed, but it opens again each time you visit a new page.
The take-away: Know your purpose, and keep that the true focus. Most people visiting a grocery shop’s online presence either wish to shop, or to find prices for goods. Whatever business you are in, make sure that your website focuses, first and foremost, on that.
User experience can be quite subjective and tricky to balance. At Tenaka, we believe in human-centred design, which is why we can help you transform your website user experience – and your online engagement with it. Get in touch with us today on firstname.lastname@example.org