A survey which may surprise many at the sharp end of usability and web design has found travel sites ranking behind only news and media sites for overall usability by consumers.
The poll by usability agency Webcredible of 1,000 consumers (around 40% US, 40% UK, 20% RotW) revealed just 9% found travel sites difficult to use, 2% behind news and media sites.
Languishing in last place were government and local authority websites with 34% of respondents slamming the sector's range of websites for ease-of-use.
The results will be a pleasant and perhaps unexpected fillip for travel sites although many experts agree that usability and user experience on online travel brands has improved massively in recent years.
Webcredible director Trenton Moss says:
"Website user experience has become a big deal in most sectors and users are increasingly frustrated if they find a website difficult to use and will tend to drop off commercial sites for this reason.
"Some sectors are clearly performing better than others when it comes to website usability, but as competition and demand for online functionality increases, it's crucial that websites in all sectors invest in providing their users with the best user experience possible."
The sectors in the survey included:
News/media - 7%
Travel - 9%
Utilities - 12%
Retail/ecommerce - 13%
Financial services - 16%
Government - 34%
- News/media - 7%
- Travel - 9%
- Utilities - 12%
- Retail/ecommerce - 13%
- Financial services - 16%
- Government - 34%
Experts say the travel and news-media sites are winning the usability battle because consumers are able to quickly move to another provider if they dislike the experience on a website, unlike government services where typically there is only one source of information or service.
The poll was conducted between September and December 2009.