For the purpose of the Human-Centered Design course I had to evaluate some websites against 10 heuristics. One of my choices was the website of Lufthansa, big German airline company (that actually owns several others, among them Swiss).
The task I performed was a simple one: to buy a return ticket for one adult from Zurich to Stuttgart. The heuristics used here are Jakob Nielsen’s 10 heuristics. The following are the points the Lufthansa website failed to satisfy:
- Aesthetic and minimalist design: I wanted to see the summary of my flight, but instead I get a lot of additional info, including offers to rent a car. I could see my ticket info either on the very small side panel, or bottom down (I had to understand that I had to scroll down!). The rest of the page was busy with car rental, insurance and offers to add more luggage to the ticket.
User control and freedom: Referring screenshots from the p.1 : there was no “back” button. I could not change anything, only prominent “continue” or very small “edit” buttons.
Recognise, diagnose, and recover from errors: An error message appeared on the page once I proceeded, without explaining what really happened. Strangely enough, I was still able to add information about passengers. But it arises many questions: if there is an error notification, was my information saved? Was it processed properly? Should I contact support or can I really just proceed?
- Error prevention: This happened after I did not find the button “back” (p.2) and clicked “back” in the browser. All my searches and info were lost completely.
- Recognition over recall: On the bottom page with a list of possible flights there is a summary that also shows how much the flight would cost. This sum changes depending on which flights are chosen, but to observe it you need to scroll back and forth (or you might even not know about this feature until you decide to continue with booking and scroll down to the button “Continue”).
My next step is to check the website with more sophisticated flows and see how it works, as well to engage more users in order to observe how they will cope with this. Based on all collected information it would be possible to suggest a redesign for this website (as an exercise).