First up is Southwest.com‘s launch of a new home page. None of the other pages have been changed, but they’ve moved things around in order to “incorporate a design that features what you value most,” according to Colleen Barrett, President of the airline.
My first impression is mixed. Though they’ve moved stuff around, they’ve actually done very little to make it easier to use unless you have bad eyesight or need to change your flight. When you go to the homepage, you’ll see this:
It’s definitely decluttered, and they needed that, but amazingly they’ve decided to continue to require an extra click to get to the actual booking engine. There’s no reason for that. And it’s not like they didn’t have the space. In the middle on the right there’s a great place for it, but they’ve chosen to use huge fonts to describe four options instead. Three of those options were previously accessible from the home page already, but the ability to view or change your reservations is a welcome addition to the page.
Now, that is what the home page should look like. Why they’ve added that extra step, I have no idea. This is still very clear and it has much less wasted space. They claim that their research showed people didn’t care if the booking engine was on the home page, but I can’t imagine people said they needed a lot of blank space with huge fonts either. It just seems like a mistake.
So, it’s an improvement to be sure, but I don’t understand why they’ve left the booking engine off the home page. In addition, once you click on any of these links, you’re taken to the old style Southwest pages. They really need to refresh those to improve navigation.