Online travel agencies are evolving on a number of levels – but not least from a design perspective where the idea of throwing everything at the user is giving way to simplicity.
And with that simplicity also sees the increased use of images to inspire visitors.
It is, after all, seeing a jaw-dropping pictures of a destination in above-the-line advertising that propels consumers to find out more about the product and, sometimes, part with their money.
Other online travel brands are experimenting with image-led designs, but it now looks like the global monster that is online travel agency Expedia is also taking note.
Some visitors to Expedia.com in the US are being invited this week (via a banner at the top of the page) to get a sneak peek of the brand’s new homepage.
It is rather different from the existing design, with a hard slap in the face of a stunning travel location and hugely simplified navigation ¬†for users.
The image and initial search tools are all “above the fold” (approx full screen depth), with the remaining web real estate given away to just a few items.
In the above case the system is working out the whereabouts of the user and serving relevant offers.
Testing is still only just, well, testing – the dizzying array of channel options for users on the existing Expedia site also cover things-to-do, Groupon Getaways, rewards, alongside various methods of searching (flight, flight + hotel, etc).
Expedia is touting the design (and possibly testing the definition of hyperbole) by suggesting to users they can “Be a part of something BIG”.