Price comparison sites basically offer you nothing.
They have no products to sell, they merely act as a middleman for other brands and services.
As such the user experience is massively important to their business model as it’s one of the only ways they can differentiate from all the others.
For various reasons I’ve recently had to browse several different comparison sites and two stuck out in particular for offering a brilliantly simple UX.
I thought it would be useful to heap praise on these two companies and flag up what I liked about them so others can gain inspiration from the UX or just rip them off.
The UX on cheapflights.co.uk is nothing to write home about, but the Singaporean version is a dream. Let me walk you through the user journey.
Built using responsive design, the site cuts straight to the chase with a giant search box.
When it comes to choosing dates a massive calendar pops out – no fiddly buttons here.
And floating text boxes then give you clear instructions in each step of the process. ‘First, select your departure date’ and then ‘Now, select your return date’.
This kind of signposting means the user doesn’t have to think about anything so they are less likely to become frustrated and abandon the site.
Another neat UX touch – a little counter at the bottom of the screen informs the user of how many days they’ll be away for when they move the mouse between dates.
The only quibble here could be that it might be more useful to tell people the duration of their trip in ‘nights’ rather than ‘days’, but that’s probably personal preference.
The results page is also excellent, with all the important information clearly laid out.
- You can see the cost, departure and arrival times, airline, class, and whether it’s direct or involves a stopover.
- At the top there are also big buttons to make sorting easy. Users can opt for the cheapest, quickest or ‘smart value’ which takes into account the first two filters.
- The logos down the left help to mark out which is best in each category.
If you can get past the constant attempts to offload its stupid meerkat toys, Comparethemarket.com offers a great UX.
Applying for insurance or financial products fills most people with dread, but this site does at least take the pain out of all the form filling.
Let’s look at the process for getting home insurance quotes. The page is clear and uncluttered with several nice touches:
- The progress bar lets users know how many steps they have to get through. This is something we advocate in ecommerce checkout design as it manages the user’s expectations, but it’s probably even more important here as people want to know that the form filling will be over soon.
- Boxes automatically appear at the side of each different field to explain the options and why the information is needed. This reduces the chances that users will become confused or frustrated.
- Also, the fields are all massive and easy to click.
- The radio buttons offer a nice visual clue (i.e. buildings cover vs. content cover, or house vs. bungalow). This isn’t really necessary, but it adds to the overall aesthetic.
- Ticks and crosses clearly show which fields still need to be completed, which again reduces frustration and increases the chances the user will complete the process.
At the end of the process the different quotes are simple to compare, which isn’t that easy for complex insurance products.
It’s also easy to update the quotes by modifying the criteria, such as adding accidental damage cover or altering the voluntary excess.
Many of these UX touches have been best practice in web design for quite a while, but it’s surprising how many sites fail to implement them.
Comparethemarket.com and Cheapflights Singapore were noticeably superior to the other comparison sites and insurance brands.
Both sites guide you through the process step-by-step and pre-empt any questions the user might have.
This massively reduces the chances that people will lose patience and abandon the site for a competitor brand.
The end result is that I’ll return to these sites when I’m next in the market for insurance products, or on the very rare occasion when I happen to be booking a flight departing from Singapore.