Online travel retailer Kayak has revamped its desktop site using design tips from its mobile apps. 

The simplified design has fewer filters and reduces the number of options displayed by hiding flights that are duplicates or deemed too similar.

The layout is also wider, reflecting a similar design feature on the iPad app.

Gigaom reports that Kayak CTO Paul English chose to redesign the desktop site as he found its iPhone app “aesthetically more beautiful.”

It used eye-tracking technology to find what users were looking at and if customers weren’t using a certain function it was removed from the site.

The main aim is to shed unnecessary details and simplify the design.

E-business consultant Dan Barker said that as mobile sites become more advanced features are starting to crossover to desktop more frequently.

You even see this at really large scales, for example the new Gmail design, albeit disliked by many, borrows a lot from mobile UI - the new YouTube layout too.”

Brands now realise that they are designing for two or three different mediums when creating their websites, so similar functions display and work differently depending on the device.

Barker said that while brands should try to offer some consistency across their desktop and mobile sites they should go for a 'Tesco Metro/Tesco Extra' approach rather than try to squeeze everything into both mediums.

One of the most appealing things about mobile sites is their simplicity and usability, since the number of functions as necessarily limited by the space on-screen.

For a site like Kayak which compares flight, hotel and car rental details from other providers, it makes sense to give users the most relevant details in an uncomplicated and uncluttered display.

Fashion retailers may benefit from offering more choices, such as upselling more expensive items or giving user recommendations, but with flights most consumers will make their decision based on basic price and scheduling information.

By running usability tests Kayak is making sure it is giving its customers what they want, which should lead to an increase in conversion rates.

Click here to read how travel site improved its conversion rate.

David Moth

Published 30 January, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (1)


Nick Imrie, Managing Director at WhatUsersDo

Its a genuinely refreshing change to see a mobile site informing the website design process (so much of what we see with clients is the other way).

Hope there has been space in the overall design process for a bit more "user centred design" process and "little and often" user experience testing at all the key stages....

over 6 years ago

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