March 11th, 2007 | 2 MIN READ

Ecommerce Usability vs Airport Usability

Written by Jason Billingsley

After a "too close" connection in Montreal I sat on the plane wondering how poor airport usability actually is. Those thoughts quickly turned to ecommerce usability and how poor online stores often are as well. The following chart is surprisingly accurate on how both these environments stack up to the paces users put them through.


you never know how much time you have
shoppers are often pressed for time or distracted away from the task at hand

you rarely know exactly where to go
shoppers get lost trying to find products because of poor navigation or ineffective search functionality

you rarely know what information is going to be requested (and why are they asking so many questions)
shoppers get asked to fill in information like fax number or company name when it is not relevant

the words used to direct you are very unintuitive
wording is never consistent across ecommerce sites

every sign is the same shape and color
each button is identical, none more important than the other

when you need help, it takes forever to locate a map or actual person
contact info is often buried deep with the site or no phone number is available

the balance between security and privacy is almost impossible
security is too tight for some and too loose for others

if too many people are traveling at the same time, it seems to take forever
websites tends to slow down during peak times or special promotions

every time you go to the same airport, it seems like it has changed
constant redesigns make it difficult to re-find items or tasks

the check-in process takes way too many steps
the check-out process takes way too many steps

you never know if and when your baggage is going to arrive
you never know when your order will arrive

it is especially frustrating if you are an international traveler
shopping from out of country can be very frustrating

Do you have any other examples of how these two environments are similar?

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