Travel websites perform poorly in usability test

A major survey of online consumers in the UK has found almost 40% receive error messages whilst transacting and a third are unable complete a transaction or action on travel sites.

The study by Harris Interactive of over 2,100 people across the UK also found 38% receive error messages and almost one in five were automatically kicked off a page when browsing.

Software and CRM provider Tealeaf, which carried out the survey with Harris, said nearly 90% of respondents had experienced problems when trying to transact on websites in the past year, “despite the increasing maturity of the ecommerce sector”.

Other areas covered in the study also revealed a worrying trend for poor usability with travel websites.

A third of respondents said travel websites were difficult to navigate; 26% had difficult logging in (if required); 29% encountered insufficient, incorrect or confusing information; and 24% were hampered by non-functioning search tools.

Tealeaf chief executive Rebecca Ward said: “After a decade of ecommerce, British consumers have very high expectations of their online experiences, yet many companies doing business online are still failing to deliver an acceptable level of customer experience and service to internet customers.

“The lack of face-to-face contact is an obvious disadvantage online, but customers must feel as though they are valued and that their issues are understood, processed and, ultimately, solved.

“Businesses need to pay the same consideration to the experience of each and every online customer, just as they would in a physical shop or via a call centre, and to achieve this they require a clear picture of where their websites work and where they fall short.”

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