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Zugu is a flight search engine launched recently by Cheapflights Media.
There are already plenty of flight search engines, so has Zugu done enough to stand out in a crowded market? I've been having a look at the new site and I've also added some user testing videos to see how others have found the site...
Searching for flights
The homepage is clean and uncluttered with no distractions, giving centre stage to the search box, so visitors to the site know instantly what they need to do:
The form is simple to use, with the minimum number of fields to allow users to begin a search.
The auto-suggest feature is useful, providing suggestions after users have keyed in three letters, and also showing the country, which helps for destinations where users may be unsure about the spelling.
The option to search for all airports from a particular city is also useful. Instead of forcing users to specify a particular airport, it allows users to broaden the search.
The results appear relatively quickly, and are arranged in order of price, with the cheapest first. The results page is quite busy, but there is a lot of detail required to give users the necessary information about their flights.
One of the testers found the silhouettes of travellers at the top right of the page confusing, as they expect items in that area to be clickable.
What is useful about the results page is the number of options to filter and sort the search results, so users can be more specific about flight times, duration of journeys, the airline they use, the number of stops, and so on. Crucially, the results update instantly with no need to reload the page as different filters are applied.
Above the flight results, there is the option for users to adjust their search according to the times of the flight. The slider tool can be used to set the parameters of the flight times, while the chart provides a useful illustration of the number of flights available during the chosen time frame.
This is a useful tool, though one of the testers didn't seem to understand how it works. When the results page is first loaded up, some text comes up, advising users to use the sliders to adjust flight times. However, this text comes up very briefly; it may be a better idea to keep this instruction visible all of the time, or when users mouse over the sliders.
The individual results are clear, showing the airline, seller, and the dates and times of outward and inbound flights, as well as the price.
Clicking on the details will show further information about the changes, and will also compare prices for the same flight between different sellers.
Selecting a flight will take users to the booking page of the airline or third party site, opening in a new window or tab. One of the testers found this more useful, as it allowed them to go back and forth between the sellers and the Zugu results more easily.
I've reviewed a few flight search websites, and they are sometimes let down when they send users to another site to make the booking. Prices and flights may turn out to be different, or users are forced to search again once they reach the site.
In this case though, all of the landing pages I went to displayed the expected flight times and price, and were only a click or two away from the payment process.
If you come back to the Zugu results page after heading to a third party site, you are greeted by this pop-up asking if the experience on EasyJet or whichever site you went to was as expected:
While gathering user feedback is a good idea, but it can be intrusive. The first tester was very annoyed by the pop-up, as it came back on every time he checked back into the site, forcing him to submit a response.
Zugu is a clean and simple interface, and by sticking to the essentials of flight searches, while providing plenty of options to refine and filter their searches on the results page.
User testing videos
The first user found the site generally easy to use, but was annoyed by the pop-up question when he returned to the site from the airline booking page:
The next user was also impressed by the site and rated it highly, though she wasn't sure how the slider tool worked.
(Thanks to whatusersdo.com for providing the videos.)