I saw this tweet from Dustin Curtis over the weekend and thought it would be useful to give the design of the JetBlue ‘flight booking’ pages a quick review to try and uncover how they merited this positive response from an established user experience professional.

First impressions, clean, simple and smart. Young and fairly unemotional.

I just booked a flight on JetBlue’s new website. It was the most awesome experience I’ve had in a long time. “Tada!” http://bit.ly/cf0xm7

  • The primary ‘search’ function really stands out of the page giving users a clear indication of where they should start.
  • The main real estate to the right of the search contains a number of promotions BUT they all take a visual step back from the search panel in terms of design and visual weight.
  • Easy going tone of voice immediately makes me feel relaxed.
  • I wonder how many people realise there is more than one promotion, and is that a problem?
  • The palette feels a little bare on repeat visits

JetBlue homepage

Destination overlay

I found the airport ajax overlay easy to use and liked the way I’m able to see all the vast array of options before having to select anything.

Destination overlay

Interstitial

I thought this was worth including as it’s so often overlooked. If you’ve got some USP’s that you need to communicate to your customers, use this vital few seconds whilst you’ve got their full attention. Good copywriting here.

Interstitial screen

Search results

  • Visually good heirachy makes this complex page easy to understand
  • I like the use of the very polished tabs showing differing date options. I know from experience that this is particularly difficult to achieve and its lovely to see it done with such a level of polish. I think part of what makes it work well is the fact that the ‘selected’ options has been made larger both in terms of font size and the removal of the abbreviation for the week day.
  • Scarcity – I like the info showing how many seats are left at that price, although couldn’t understand why it didn’t show for all prices.
  • Your itinerary shows the connecting flights in a format that is incredibly space efficient and reasonably easy to comprehend.
  • Call to actions are clear and well differentiated.

Search results

Choose a seat

  • Apart from being ‘very clever’ it’s clear and easy understand.
  • I did get stuck when I escaped out of one of the overlay/pop-ups.
  • Nice tone of voice upselling ‘wiggle room’ will add to the feel good factor of purchasing.

Select a seat

Overall it’s a very good example of where travel sites should be heading to, and although it’s not as complicated as a full ‘holidays’ purchase I think there are still learnings to be had. Unfortunately once you venture into the full holiday’s section the design falls back to what I am presuming is an earlier iteration of the current website.

Background

As a designer for a large travel outfit I have now spent quite a few years working on the intricacies of online travel and know first hand how difficult it is to get right. In fact I think most people who are expert in this field would agree, nobody has really got the user experience for booking holidays online completely right yet. For that reasons I’m always on the lookout for good examples of user experience in travel.