{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Flight search aggregator Nowfly was launched at the end of last year, and the company has just launched a redesigned version of the site.

I reviewed the website in December shortly after it launched, and also interviewed CEO Dan Hart. I've been seeing what changes have been made to the Nowfly website.

Homepage

The colour scheme has been changed on the homepage and the search box has been moved up the page, to give it more prominence. Elsewhere, the new blog content is being promoted via links on the right.

It's a simple homepage, and though there are a few suggested destinations underneath the search box, it seems designed to get visitors using the search function.

Nowfly.co.uk homepage

Flight searches

A few tweaks to the flight search function have been made which have improved the usability since the last time I reviewed the site. For example, the auto suggest feature comes up with suggested destinations earlier than before, after the first three letters have been typed:

Nowfly search box

This is useful, as it helps avoid searchers inputting misspelled destinations and returning no results at all, and also allows them to select all airports from the same departure or destination city, rather than being forced to specify one and narrow the search, as some travel websites do.

Other search options are what you would expect; departure and return dates, number of passengers etc. All good, but allowing users to search for flights two or three days either side of the dates specified, or just selecting a destination country would provide more flexible options.

Lastminute.com's search box is a good example of this, it makes the search as flexible and broad, or as specific as users want.

Results pages

Nowfly searches for flights from upwards of 300 airlines, and does a good job of returning results quickly. Whereas some travel sites I have tried can take anything up to 30 seconds to load results, Nowfly rarely takes more than a couple of seconds.

Flights are listed by cheapest first by default, though there are plenty of sorting options so you can view by airline, flight duration etc:

Nowfly search results page

Filters also allow you to narrow the search by number of stops, departure airports or airline, and the results page updated instantly.

Rather than showing both departure and return flights on the one page, you must first select your outbound flight before being shown the results page for return flight, before sending you to the airline's website to complete your booking. 

You can also look for hotels on the same results page, a useful option, but though Google Maps has been used on the site, it as not been fully integrated with the search results. 

Nowfly hotels search

It would have been useful to see hotels plotted on the map, so users could see the location in relation to the city centre, airports or other places of interest, something that would help people make a decision about where to stay. Instead, users have to do all the work here, as the map isn't even zoomed in to show my destination.

Conclusion

The changes have improved the search function on the site, and made it a little easier to use, while the addition of blog content from people like James Cracknell is a good idea to draw people in, as well as improving SEO.

While the main function of the site, the flight search, works well and returns results quickly, there are still a few tweaks that could be made here and there to improve the overall user experience.

Graham Charlton

Published 20 July, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke, Managing Director at User VisionSmall Business Multi-user

Nowfly is pretty good as a flight search but there are a couple of main shortcomings for a good user journey:

1. The auto suggest of locations is slightly annoying in that for flight search it doesn't give just airports, but also gives the city name - but of course I am flying from an airport.  That city name MAY mean 'All airports' but its not labelled as such so doubt enters user's mind. Typing in London gives 2 top options for the city of London itself before listing the 4 airports individually. Unclear why the city is listed twice and if either (or both) mean 'all airport in London'

2.  When reslts are presented, the filters are not nearly as useful as say Kayak or Skyscanner. There is no way to sort the results by departure time, one of the most common ways people like to research flights, it only offers by price, vendor, airline or duration.  Also no ability to filter by departure time (ie select earliest preferred departure time) or price range as Kayak offers.  The results presentation is not as good for scannability as the more table based layouts with columns for departure time, landing time, price  etc .

3. Most annoyingly, if you decide you want to modify your search just slightly, say check out a different departure airport, you have to enter all the details again. It does not save your previous search criteria there for you to overwrite the one variable you want to change.  That, on any form, is one of the biggest turnoffs , as web users hate unnecessarily re-entering information.

As a frequent flight searcher, I will stick to my tried & trusted favourites.

Chris

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dan Hart, Director at Cos Later Ltd

Thanks to both Graham and Chris for their comments - useful feedback to have.

I wont pick up on all comments but will outline some of the improvements that are being made soon.

1.  Google maps - this is now fixed, fell off the radar so to speak.

2.  Auto suggest - we use both cities and airports when searching and choosing one or the other will generate a result.  I do however, agree that this could be improved from a user perspective.

3.  Filers - we took the decision (initially) to limit the number of ajax driven controls and focus on 'price' as the lead sort method.  We could introduce further sliders, however, not convinced that they will be used.  One to think about.

4. Modify your search - I totally agree and this is actually being worked on for delivery in our next release.

Thanks again for your comments.

Chris - please keep an eye on the site, there's lots more to come.

Dan

CEO - nowfly.co.uk

about 7 years ago

Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke, Managing Director at User VisionSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Dan

Thanks - I will certainly keep an eye on it and try it out for future bookings.  For me the ability for sort easily by departure time is most important - typically needing to search that way to get the earliest or latest flight and especially for short domestic flights I often do thats far more useful than flight duration.

Good luck with the revisions!

Chris

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

james henderson

i have just visited nowfly.co.uk after searching many sites for flights to cape town. the good news is that you were the cheapest for the time i wanted to travel.

the only gripe i have is that you don't have an option for flexability +/- 1,2 or 3 days, so i had to go back and do a new search (luckily the 2nd date i had worked out ok) if you added this along with a modify search box you would have more people logged onto to your site rather than having to input all the details again, after a while people will get bored and will just switch to the sites they know with all the flexability on hand.

once your site is tweeked and developed to be more user friendly i can see it being very popular. the only unfortunate thing just now is thats its difficult for visitors to get the best buys you have on offer as it stands just now. its a real pity.

regards

james.

ps. sorry, when i was ready to post this message on this site i got the usual text to type in, the 1st words i couldn't make out, so i then went and pressed the audio button. don't press it, as it's virtually un-reconigisable and impossible to understand. if you want a laugh press it.

almost 7 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.