Table of Contents:Introduction Why is it important to get the correct design for your business website? Designing a travel website Expectations from the website The Roadmap Information Gathering Planning Design Development
Testing and Delivery Maintenance
Templates The Bottom Line
Introduction: A website is, unquestionably, the ultimate tool that actually performs the challenging task of icebreaking with the potential customers, in the contemporary times. Online shopping has reached a culmination point. With this backdrop, websites have emerged as most crucial, in providing an encouraging and affirmative impression about a product or a service, than ever. This is the juncture where ace and professional website designing entities catapult into prominence. As the requirement here is for a travel website, some crucial aspects must be taken under consideration. A strategically designed travel agent website, however, does not deal with the single aspect of the clientâ€&#x;s respective travel interests. It, as well, blatantly reflects the corporate entityâ€&#x;s overall business philosophy, integrating the values and the ethics that it believes in. Simultaneously, it also speaks in volume about the dimensions the enterprise caters too and how it is different and better than others in the same business. In other words, a travel website, irrespective of anything else, requires being simple and crispy, yet be stylish and elegant, in its own way. However, the aspect of business generation must not be overlooked under any condition. Salient points in this respect can be summed as follows:
User friendly and lenient navigation facility Inclusion of a sitemap Encapsulation of the “About Us” and the FAQ segments with interesting information The backend technical procedures should enhance fast loading of the pages An overall professional touch, in terms of visual appeal, color combinations, page backgrounds, page size, graphic designs, textual content, etc
It is no less vital that a website, after being launched, must be updated from time to time to maintain the information it holds, consistent with ever changing time.
Why is it important to get the correct design for your business website? The world of Internet has assumed paramount degree of prominence, at this age and instance of time. It possesses the sole ability to reach out to and rope in, the largest number of people at one go. Therefore, the undeniable reality that has synthesized itself as a derivative, of the World Wide Web, can be summed up in the following words. Advent of the Internet technology has paved the golden highway leading to inestimable opportunities, especially for the medium and small caliber commercial enterprises. These segments of corporate entities can, in the contemporary backdrop, afford to compete with the big ticket players in their respective sectors and give them, an exhausting run for their businesses. This optimization of opportunities has, indeed, revolutionized the entire existing setup. Therefore, it is not exactly important, rather crucial for any commercial unit to have its online presence marked up blatantly, in bold. Websites are the portals of an organization that give it access to interact with the wide world outside and provide impetus to all kinds of business interactions and mingling. A website, therefore, has to be designed, keeping the focus inert on the specific objective that it is expected to serve. A travel website, for an instance, has to be designed with the percept of exerting a pull on minds of potential travelers. Any different approach other that this, unfortunately, fail to cut the ice. The spotlight of the entire corporate realm has, in the present backdrop, shifted to the domain of online media. Therefore, a smartly knitted website invariably turns out to be the most efficient tool to facilitate marketing strategies successfully, for any business. Innovation is the keyword in this field, as of today. A well balanced design along with easy and congenial navigation facility work wonders for almost any website. These features contribute in providing the readers with a cushion, in going through relevant and well versed contents. This
way, the heart of the message that the website is transmitting, travels through the readers‟ minds, plain and lucid. A well designed website, inevitably, makes an affirmative impression among its readers, which in turn provides ample mileage on various aspects.
Designing a travel website: Today‟s technology has made it possible to explore the world while sitting at your home. They say now the real exploration starts with the click of a mouse! And this statement could hardly have been any truer. This means that your travel business needs a website that can effectively communicate with the audience. The website is the first available platform where a potential traveler would interact with your brand. If your website does not answer the visitors‟ queries satisfactorily, in other terms if your website fails to communicate with the visitors effectively, they would just move on to another website which speaks their language. The first aspect to take care of would be: i) Does your website cater to the client‟s needs properly and enhance their convenience? For example, if you have a travel agency, does your website make it easier to book packages with „Quick Booking‟ or similar features? Is it understandable to people who speak different languages? Are all the tour options clearly displayed and explained on the site? ii) The website design of a travel website must not go preaching about which tour package is better than the other. That is for the tourists to decide. Most people look for straight forward, precise information. Is your website delivering on that point? If you take a look at the Chauffer Driven Car Hire website, you might like the suave look of it, yet feel confused about where to start with the overabundance of flashy links, repetitive info and big pictures. iii) A travel website banks a lot on the aesthetic factor – and quite justifiably so! People, who are looking forward to a wholesome travel experience, look for a great scenic feature for starters. So, the website must use a color theme which is easier on the eyes and the home page must not be too cluttered and stuffed with information. It would be wise to include the channels like deals, packages, meetings & events, etc. in an innovative way. In order to understand the unintended adverse effects of trying to provide too much info at one go, the example of Starwood Hotels might be considered. It seems to offer all those information yet in a painfully cluttered and seemingly unending homepage. iv) Yes, your website must be informative enough. Yet it must not get in the way of the beautiful design. So, how does the visitor find the required info without having to
search and browse for a long time? It is best to provide them with a search bar that is displayed on every page. It is convenient and thus, quicker. Take for example the website of Fodorâ€™s. As soon as you type in the name of a place in the search box, your search is broken down into destinations, reviews, guidebooks and soon. It must be noted that your website might be easy to navigate even without that little box. But it always provides an added bonus. v) Ask for feedbacks and take action on them. Very few things are obtained without asking and honest feedbacks are not in the list. But feedbacks are useless if no heed is paid to them. A business owner must try to evaluate those and take according actions. This will not only make the quality of the website better but also make the clientsâ€&#x; feel much valued. Although sometimes, it so happens that people do not bother to drop a feedback and look for a better website. If such is the case, an expert must be brought in to serve the purpose.
Expectations from the website: Travelling to a place can be for pleasure, as well as for work. However, there is an array of information that the travelers seek and, in fact, require to equip themselves with, long before leaving on their journey. Some of the most crucial and, simultaneously, logical bits of this information include: i) Availability of ticket, either rail or air ii) List of places for sight seeing iii) Local modes of conveyances at that place of visit iv) Introduction to the local travel agencies who, eventually, will press out all the inconveniences, as, when and if they arise Apart from these, so mentioned, there are always enthusiast travelers who prefer to enquire about the local food, customs, climate, geography and a lot more. The conventional modes of advertising are expensive. They are all the more, limited in their scopes to provide full fledged information and exposure. Nevertheless, these modes of advertising from the bygone era are on the verge of being obsolete. Internet reaches out smoothly to zillions of individuals across the globe. It also has been proved, to be economical in its approach. Crucial information can be reinforced with relevant graphics, videos, blog posts and testimonials, etc.
The Roadmap: Developing a viable and efficient website, however, has no fixed recipe. It is about applying creativity and innovation, along with crude and simple logic. However, there are certain time tested formulae that has proved to be triumphant on innumerable occasions in the past. These are as follows: Information Gathering This aspect untiringly revolves round the crystal clear perception of a business‟ dreams and aspirations and how the Internet can contribute to achieving those higher planes. On elaborating this aspect further, leads to a quartet of tiny modules. i) Purpose – what is the necessity of designing the website, in question, for? ii) Intent – for almost all the commercial websites, this aspect revolves around providing information and generating business, in combination. iii) Target – it is immensely helpful to draw pictures of the ideal visitors to a website, with respect to their gender, age and orientation of the minds, etc. iv) Content – the categorical information that the online visitors will be seeking from the website, in particular. Planning The planning part of a website is the juncture where a sitemap, for the same, is generated. It is, actually, the list of all topics and sub topics that will be assimilated into the site eventually. It helps us, XYZ.com, in providing easy and logical deduction of navigational facilities to the users in future. Design This aspect, as we have experienced in our course of providing service at XYZ.com, involves the look and feel of a website. Target audience turns out to be a crucial entity to ponder upon, at this phase of the work. Our designers maintain persistent communication with the respective client to facilitate optimum clarity and direction, at both ends. Development This is the phase where ultimately our designers, at XYZ.com, eventually weave out and fabricate the website. As an intrinsic part of our website developmental strategy, we concrete first on the home or the landing page. Relevant graphics, flash and other animations, interactive forms and shopping carts are augmented here to reinforce the basic objective of the website.
Testing and Delivery At this juncture, we would cater to the final details of the site and then test it. Various issues ranging from the complete functionality of scripts to the viewing differences in different web browsers are taken care of. We would also ensure that the code written for the website validates. This would make your site compatible with the latest web development standards. Once you give us the thumbs up on everything, it would be time to deliver the site. We would use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to upload the web site files to your server. Once the site has been uploaded, we would put the site on one last run through. It is just precautionary and helps us to make sure that all the files have been properly uploaded. Once the site is fully functional it is made viewable to the public. Maintenance However, this does not mark the end of the web development process. New content, products, deals and offers have to be displayed on the site regularly to attract new customers and keep the older ones interested. We would be happy to take care of the maintenance work of your website. We also offer maintenance packages at affordable rates. These rates would depend on the changes and additions that would be required to be made on your website.
Usability of the website: Just designing a website is not the end of the journey. Actually the journey is far from over unless you are absolutely sure that your website is not losing out on the usability and functionality factors. There is no denying the obvious fact that with the constant evolution of internet has elevated it from being just a convenience to being a necessity. And what is convenience if it cannot be customized? According to some recent surveys which compared the booking facilities of travel websites with those of airline sites, there are lots of scopes to improve the usability of the travel websites. While Opodo scored around 70%, Monarch ended up with a disappointing figure of around 40%. However, it can be concluded that travel agent websites fared better than the airline ones. Most of the travel websites are preferred by visitors over others as they emphasize the convenience factor. There are search boxes or links on the homepages of the travel websites which help the visitors to easily look for the swiftest travel options to their desired destinations. The drawbacks are some confusing, yet not so surprising, errors in spellings of the names of various destinations. The ideal way to solve these problems would be to provide or prompt the visitors with the correct alternatives or closest matches to help them out. It must be kept in mind that many web users might not be able to spell the name of the more exotic places so easily.
The time taken by a website to load and show the search results is also a crucial matter. In this regard, the example of Travelocity might be cited that takes around a minute to search for available flights before presenting the user with an error message. It is quite startling to note that many website seven lacked in the sector of making the bookings sections more customized. Almost none of the sites provided the user with the option of saving the flight search and make the bookings later. Matters are never helped if it becomes difficult for the users to find the contact details on the site. They might have a few queries about the packages and want to clarify them before making the bookings. Not being able to find the basic details give rise to a certain frustration in the users‟ mind and that is never good for fetching a positive feedback The point here is that, people‟s expectations have also evolved with the evolution of internet. The websites that fail to deliver services that match the target audience‟s expectation, run the chances of losing out some valuable potential customers. The demand of delivering a highly engaging and easy-to use website, inevitably increases the pressure on your company. So, how to ensure that you do not drive away your prospective clients with a terrible online user experience? The first and perhaps the most important factor to consider here would be the feedbacks of the client. These feedbacks help one to evaluate the visitor‟s experience, and thereby, the quality of the website. And improvement depends heavily on the correct evaluation.
The main factors to consider in this aspect would be: i) Delivering the correct message – Does your commercial or corporate website accurately convey who you are, what you do and what makes you better than the rest? ii) Navigating easily – A website that is hard to navigate through is a visitor‟s nightmare. Does your website lead the visitor‟s exactly where they want to go without confusing them unnecessarily? iii) Relation between calls and answer – Are the users doing exactly what you want them to do? If not, why? If yes, how long are they taking? Depending on these answers, evaluate just how accessible your lucrative offers are. iv) The employees’ perspective – A good feedback from your employees can be a great marketing point for your company. So, on your website, how accessible is the information that promotes you as an employer? v) Readability of the Content – How descriptive is the content on your website? Is it informative enough? More importantly, does it inspire or compel your visitors to act?
At XYZ.com we evaluate each of the above mentioned factors independently. So, the chances of your website lacking credibility and failing to grab the audienceâ€&#x;s interest are completely eliminated. We understand that a website is nothing without its usability and thus we never ignore the factors determining it.
The Bottom Line As said earlier, a well designed website is your first step towards taking your website to the zenith of success. So it is important to get a design for your website that actually delivers desired results. The ability to choose the correct web designing company is massively underrated nowadays. However, you can be assured that you have chosen well when you trust XYZ.com to do the job. We understand that your corporate website is not just a platform full of information. Rather, it is your online identity and that is why, it must express your businessâ€&#x; attitude, personality and potential in the correct way. We believe that your companyâ€&#x;s success and your happiness would also be matters of pride for us. Your satisfaction is what we seek and thus, when you choose XYZ.com, you get quality, professionalism, experience and dedication, in return.
Published on May 31, 2013