Earlier this month, Wales’ largest international airport, Cardiff, unveiled its latest website design to the public. The new homepage, which retains its predecessor’s web address and raspberry-and-cream colour scheme, identifies visitors’ needs immediately, before directing them to the appropriate part of the site.
First-time visitors are treated to a number of options, arranged in colourful boxes, detailing a different stage in the often-tedious adventure that is booking a holiday, from ‘planning a trip’ to ‘meeting and greeting.’ Selecting one of the boxes ‘leads the user’ to the information most relevant to their visit.
However, at first glance, the website appears to take all visitors to the same page, regardless of their selection – a typical sunshine image surrounded by adverts and pretty pink buttons. The newly customised options are (rather unhelpfully) placed at the bottom of the page, a turn of the mouse wheel below the traditional, and far more visible, main menu.
Other new features include a customisable homepage for regular visitors, such as media types and frequent flyers, an “enhanced” booking engine, and the option to share web pages on more than 330 social networking and blogging sites. Visitors can also connect with Cardiff Airport on the hub’s Twitter page, @cardiff_airport.
“We wanted to develop a more modern website which embraces social media channels,” explained Cassie Houghton, PR manager at Cardiff Airport. Cassie noted that the Welsh hub was “greatly encouraged” by customer feedback, and hinted at further development of “mobile applications,” presumably iPhone and Android software, during 2011.
TBI Abertis, the current owner of Cardiff Airport, has also created nearly identical websites for London Luton, Belfast International, and Stockholm Skavsta airports.