Launched last week, Quno is a new online rail website which aims to make booking tickets online a more user-friendly process.
Rail websites can be a pain to use, so a more usable site would be a welcome addition to the market, so I've been seeing how well Quno functions.
Quno has opted for a more airline style search process, and the homepage is similar to those of flight search engines like Skyscanner.
The page is nice and simple, giving more prominence to the search box.
Searching for train tickets
Once you start entering data into the search box, the page expands to reveal the various options for departure and return times, number of passengers, and railcards.
There is an autocomplete tool, which is always useful for saving time entering station names, as well as avoiding spelling and input errors.
Once you have selected a journey, a chart appears which gives a view of available departure and arrival times. The slider tool at the side can be used to adjust departure times.
This is a useful tool, but could be labelled more clearly, as some users may not immediately figure out what it does.
The results are presented in what Quno calls 'the internet’s first visual rail timetable' which allows users to compare all the available tickets at a glance:
It's certainly easy to scan, and handy to see the next six trains without having to select later and load the page again. Also, by keeping the search options on the left of the page, Quno makes it easier for users to tweak journey details without having to resort to the back button.
The checkout is well designed. A progress indicator shows customers how many steps are left in the process, while keeping a summary of the journey details and price on the left of the page is a useful reminder.
Data entry is easy enough, and where some rail websites seem to spread the checkout over many pages, most of the payment and registration is done on a single page, with conformation as the final step.
One thing which customers may find annoying is the extra charges for picking up tickets at station and delivery. For example, you need to pay £1 to collect your ticket from a machine, while some of the delivery charges (see below) are a bit steep compared with Quno's competitors. While the website is usable, I can see some users being deterred by charges like this.
Quno is a well designed and usable site, and offers a good alternative to users of other rail ticket websites. It also intends to add European rail tickets onto the website, which will bring it into competition with sites like Eurostar and Rail Europe.
I liked the site and found the ticket search and booking process easy to use, avoiding some of the annoying features of other rail websites.