Eurostar — on-line anti-experience

Last autumn I spent a lovely weekend in Paris with the best girlfriend in the world™. The best way to travel from London to Paris is on a Eurostar train. However, getting tickets on-line is an anti-experience.

Current website

First thing that comes to mind is: “Where am I? Is it Eurostar’s website?”. There is a small logo in the top right hand corner, but it’s not prominent enough — the background offer image takes all the attention.

The Book on-line form is the single most important thing on the website, yet it’s cramped in the left hand column, there is no clear call to action, and the form itself is not very inviting. There are also too many distractions: “Do you need a hotel? Do you need a car?” This shouldn’t be asked on the first screen.

Why do I need to tick the option to look for low fares? Of course I am looking for low fares!

Travel update needs more emphasis and less copy. At the time I took this screenshot there were severe delays on the Brussels route. Why isn’t this important information emphasised?

The rest of the right hand and middle columns is just getting worse. No hierarchy at all — just a bunch of banners and, what seems to be, randomly placed pieces of information.

Proposed redesign

I moved the logo to the top left hand corner of the page — where eyes tend to go first. There is also a Manage your booking link in the same area.

I changed the Book on-line heading to Book now — a clearer call to action. The form, as the most important thing on the page, now takes up half of its width. The labels and fields are a little larger and clearer. The labels’ text is more casual and friendly. I removed the fields that can be filled in in the next step — only left are the key questions about the travel.

Travel update has now a pale red background and dark red text — it subtly draws eyes to itself (the idea is when there are no delays the background and text colour are green). I also removed most of the text in favour of a more link.

There are clear Print your ticket at home and Business travel buttons (probably the two most important elements after the booking form — I can only guess without having any data from Eurostar).

Also in the right hand column, there are some ideas on how to spend time at Eurostar destinations.

Below, aligned in four columns, are links to information about traveling with Eurostar, destinations, latest deals and loyalty programmes.

At the bottom — latest offers and a form to sign-up to a newsletter and links to Eurostar on social websites.

It’s just an idea

By no means is it a ready solution. It only took me an afternoon to design what you see above. The real solution needs to be supported by usage data from Eurostar’s website and fine tuned with help of usability testing. It is a good start, however.

Eurostar, what do you think?

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