A tale of responsiveness (or rather, lack of it)
The original brand website (Last designed and developed in 2009) was not all that bad to look at and due largely to the company’s reputation and longevity in the industry, conversion rates were surprisingly decent.
However, there’s always room for improvement and with the shift at the time leaning more and more towards the mobile experience something had to done about the site’s long awaited, lack of multi-device compatibility.
So, it was decided…we finally had stakeholder buy-ins and the solution was to redesign the whole website from top to tail. Alongside this, there would be a brand update exercise and integration with a new CRM system and also a new CMS platform.
This is how the homepage was received by users in 2014. It was a simple concoction of tables and floated elements. A far cry from the plethora of responsive frameworks we see today. None the less, it did the job.
The reason why I’m focussing on the home page in this story is because for Cox & Kings it was the single most visited page and a page that would guide the user on their journey through the website.
- Make the site easier to search.
- Offers needed a prime location.
- A clearer navigation.
- Reduce bounce rate.
- A prominent article section.
The user can search the site by clicking the magnifying glass icon and inputting some key works/terms.
A really useful feature is the holiday search. From our research, it was decided that the user should be able to search holidays by country, holiday type, by month or they can build a more tailored search by using all three filters together. This type of search is particularly useful for users who are just beginning their holiday research and are looking for ideas before nailing down on specifics.
In the previous iteration, the special offers were presented as a list of links and placed in a table column. Emphasis was placed on the links by making them all red but there was no traction and users were not clicking. Heatmaps illustrated that this area on the page was a cold spot. We needed to create more exposure to them which we did by displaying them as a grid of medium sized images followed by the heading, short description and both image and heading links to their respective detail pages. The reason being users have a tendency to read from left to right and enjoy seeing beautiful images of stunning travel destinations. Our heat maps helped to validate this too. Having this knowledge meant that the marketing team could place superior offers to the left of the screen or order them as the first three offers that the user would see.
It was important to give the user an optimal number of ways to navigate around the website. To give them a journey we had to anticipate the route. The objective was to help the user to find the holiday of their dreams whilst also guiding them to specific holidays that present great value and of course are of great value to the business. The conversion goal being to prompt the user to make a booking or get in touch to speak to a specialist consultant where 75% of the time a booking would be confirmed after speaking to someone.
We decided on three main user flows that all produced the same outcome; a list of holidays related to specific country or region.
- Search by destinations
- Search by type of holiday
- Search using the filters
A fourth option would be for the user to search by special offers listed on the home page which would consequently guide them directly to the related details page for the holiday they clicked.
Whilst traversing through the site, users are also given menu options in the side-bar making their experience a smoother and guided. Related menu options are displayed depending on which level of the site directory the user is on.
Blogs & Articles
As a reputable company within the travel industry with over a century of expertise Cox & Kings attracts the likes of celebrity clients, exceptional marketing partnerships and secures interviews with key influencers in the travel space. With an increasing portfolio of literature a portal was needed to house them. This is where Compass comes in, an online magazine powered by WordPress. For the home page of the Cox & Kings website a space was required to link to on-trend publications. A full width section was created to send users off to great content for inspiration on destinations and any related topics or interviews. The content places Cox & Kings as experts in the field of travel and from the blog and articles there are suggested holidays which link back to the main brochure website.