Mobile Website Design Face-Off: Delta vs. US Airways

By Jeremy Sewell in Mobile on March 8th, 2013

With spring travel kicking up, we compared the mobile website designs of 2 airlines for on-the-go passengers looking for travel convenience. Website design must follow a few cardinal rules: load quickly, be concise, and provide a streamlined user experience. And all this goes double for mobile web design because if you’re on your phone, you’re probably on the go. And you’re probably on a 3G data connection where, if something loads at a turtle-pace, it's an easy decision to move on to something else, that’s, well, faster. According to a study by Kissmetrics, most mobile users (40%) will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Combine that standard with all the obstacles of an airport and you end up with the need for a speedy, succinct airline mobile site. So, let the face-off begin! Speed is King Here, Delta really takes flight (I regret no puns) because the core features a user would need are all loaded on the first page, ready to use without another page load. Delta's mobile site lets you: • check flight status • book a flight • check in • search flight schedules And all these functions are available without additional page loads!

Sure, you can do similar things on US Airways but you’re going to have to wait for another full page load to even start entering information. Which is a bummer. + Point: Delta Can I find what I want quickly? Delta has the most frequently used functions right up front in a clean layout, so if you’re on the move it's easier to find what you want and quickly navigate the site. + Point: Delta Travel Alerts During this year’s snowstorms, US Airways had travel alerts on their homepage, telling customers what cities were affected and provided a revised ticket policy. Similar information on Delta was buried even in their desktop site – bummer. What if I was going to Wichita? I'm not sure that a seven-nation army could’ve saved me a wasted trip to the airport. + Point: US Air Baggage and other Policies US Airways’ mobile site front page has other information you might want before a flight, like airline policies, baggage info, and descriptions of in-flight services. The “Baggage” button is important because charges and weight limitations have been changing a lot over the past decade. Delta’s mobile site could use an, “Additional Information” button that would have some informational content. + Point: US Air Desktop-View Option Both sites allow you to view the desktop version of the site and, considering how pared down Delta’s mobile site is, that’s a good thing. But a mobile user might never need it on US Airways’ mobile site. + Point: Both. Let me explain: some mobile users want that one piece of information that isn't available on mobile, and others are fine with just core functions. This way, everyone’s covered. Final Verdict It’s a tie! Both US Air and Delta do a fine job of quickly providing information for users, but most of what I want is readily available with Delta's site. What would you choose? Personally, I would go to the Delta site if I had my choice of mobile carrier websites, are there other good mobile sites I've missed? Let me know in the comments. [Full disclosure: A division of Delta, Delta Tech Ops, is a client of BKV.]