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Booking process challenge

Every online company should always try to continuously improve their product. As head of development of norwegian classifieds website I’ve been looking at our competitors’ websites ( and comparing our booking solutions.

Booking solution of finn, tinde and zett

Booking solution of finn, tinde and zett

Booking system is a heart of these applications since this is where the money comes from (at least from the private persons). And being such an important part of the system the way booking solutions work today did not impress me much (on either of the three websites).

I have documented the booking process on all three websites just the way they looked 8th of April 2009 (I’ll publish own posts on this later for: finn, tinde and zett).

So here comes the challenge:
In 6 months from now 15th of October 2009 I’ll compare them again looking at how the process have been improved. Every detail count, I’ll evaluate the changes then, but I can announce the winner already now.

The winner is our users! And a nice side effect of improved booking solution is our revenue!

I hope that finn and tinde accept this challenge, and that we will see great improvements very soon. I also hope that when the improvements are made, we will steal the best ideas from each other and do a follow up release taking our booking solutions to the top of usability, ease of use and performance.

Erlend Schei said,

April 15, 2009 @ 14:40

Have you done a lot of work measuring where people fall off in the (Zett) booking pipeline? Although a lot of processes like these may seem cumbersome, the main objective is that our users understand them, and complete the steps.

It’s a delicate balance between getting as detailed data as possible, to aid the search process, and not making the user too overwhelmed by the required info to place his/her/their ad.

Do you have examples of booking processes you feel are far superior to all of ours?

Great challenge! Will discuss it here :)

Erlend Schei :)

Blackie said,

April 20, 2009 @ 11:34

Hi Erlend and thanks for jumping in on the challenge :-)

Of cause we do funnel tracking on the booking process, and it’s not that I can say I’m unsatisfied with those numbers. Probably you see that it works on finn too. People are used to those forms and the rest of the industry have kind of the same approach (so no, I haven’t seen anything much better than ours, if so I would have steal it already :-))
The point behind challenge is to innovate, cause I still think we can do better :-).

Anton Babenko said,

June 23, 2009 @ 15:54

Hi Sergey and Erland,

Let me put my 5 cents into the thread. :) To my mind the challenge related with booking process is important to solve as you do, but another big problem with zett is that it is twice as less user-friendly than finn. And as a result of lack of front-end optimization visitors got lost on the site… “where should I click / what should I pay attention for to complete the booking process” – they think. Advert takes too much attention on some pages.
I also believe that normal users (not IT geeks like we are) prefer to use the simplest interfaces available and it has major influence to their decision whether proceed with booking process or not.

Best regards,
Anton Babenko.

Blackie said,

June 24, 2009 @ 1:03

Thanks Anton, our user tests can not confirm all of your findings :), there are for example no known problems with navigation on zett, but you are right when it comes to advertising.

And having the simplest possible interface is definitely something really worth aiming for.

Anton said,

June 25, 2009 @ 21:21

@Blackie: It is very good that my findings are not supported by user tests, but let me make an example of what has to be optimized in terms of booking process (as the main topic of this thread).
1) User has to see what step he is on at the moment. If it said “Step: 2/5” it is better then now, when I have no clue what will be next in timeline :)
2) I have registered and lost the info I have already chosen (I chose category and subcategory for the item I want to sell).
3) There is a mess with windows opened during booking process. I would accept if only login process opens in a new window, but the rest of the content should always be opened into the same window. One logical process (place my advert into listing) has to be in one window. No need to have popups as well for this site, but some overlays might be very helpful… (more to think here)
4) Authentication session is not passing valid login information through subdomains. I logged with one email into “Min zett” and have used another email when I was prompted on I have made a screenshot of this – :)
5) Process of filling in forms. Error messages on fly is good thing there, but error messages text have to be reviewed (I am not sure that somebody will sell car older than 1758 year, for example. And some other during my brief test).

Navigation-wise problems are rather closely related to the design (colors, fonts, margins) and to expected users behavior. Let me explain what I mean when say “expected users behavior”. It means that you (as an owner) want people to find the result and view listings.
The navigation on browse pages (for eg, is below the fold (on normal screen sizes) and means that people have to scroll for the most valuable information on the page (finn is better in this meaning). Links become easier to understand instantly if they would have different styles – so that most important links are move visible, other – less. (more to think here).
I also don’t see the possibility to do an advanced search from the first page (and on all) – I want to find a car which costs less then this price, etc,etc. Search by “Volvo 50000 kronas” doesn’t give any result. If not semantic search than at least traditional “advanced search” has to be there.

Have a great day,

Blackie said,

June 29, 2009 @ 12:14

Thank you Anton, I really appreciate your feedback. There is a lot of right things you suggest and we have to become better.

A lot of the stuff you mention is already in the backlog, and I will definitely add some more :)

Anton said,

June 30, 2009 @ 10:35

Zett has to be improved, btw is there any plans regarding new design ?

Всегда пож-та :)

Blackie said,

July 2, 2009 @ 9:02

Hi Anton, yes there are some redesign plans, but only for the next year.
Stay tuned :)

Anton said,

July 9, 2009 @ 17:41

Will there be anything revolutionary (also known as, kick-ass) on zett in the nearest future? Maybe new features or new technical solution aimed for improving speed? Just personal interest, because I am not affiliated with any of zett competitors :)

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