Independent Thinking Blog

What British Airways Web Site Teaches Us About Smart Design

British Airways has apparently never heard of Gerry McGovern.

McGovern won my heart when I heard him describe what Google’s home page would look like if it were a typical corporate home page. (Think “Hi, I’m Sergey” and “Latest News: Announcing Google+”). Google knows people go to the site to search–so there’s a can’t-miss search bar in the middle of the page with lots of white space around it.

The point is that the customer’s top task is search–and Google makes it easy for us to do that.

British Airways is burying what customers want.

There are three main reasons people go to an airline Web site:

  • Ticket information
  • Online check-in
  • Current flight information

The flight information is buried 3 clicks into the site. What? And it’s not updated. (Double) Whaaat?

This matters to your customers.

My dad was flying back from London the other day. My mom called me 90 minutes after he was due to arrive back in Washington. She’d called the airline, only to be told that the flight didn’t exist. I logged onto the Web site, eventually found the flight status page, plugged in the flight number, and got the original departure and arrival information. At this point, I started to wonder whether the plane was flying over the Bermuda Triangle.

Fortunately, Dulles International Airport has accurate flight information–and the link is right on the home page. So I was able to learn that the plane had left London late and was due to arrive shortly. Ten minutes later my dad’s flight landed and he called home.

Make sure what’s most important to your client, customer, or prospect is front and center. A Bermuda Triangle moment isn’t fun–and it can cost you business.

Photo by puuikibeach (Flickr).

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