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Experimenting with a new home page

Late last week, we began a small experiment with Cleartrip’s home page. We’re still waiting on the data and will let the experiment run a little longer before we make any decisions, but we thought we’d share the nature of the experiment here with everyone.

This is the home page that we’ve had for a long time now:

Current home page

There’s been a few minor changes here and there, but this page has looked like this for a long time now–a search form on the left and links to promotional offers and announcements on the right. And the design has worked well for us over the period of time we’ve been using it.

The current design does a great job of letting people start their searches quickly, but it may not be doing the best job of informing people about the full range of offers, promotions and deals available on the site at any time. The plain text links have a low click-through rate (CTR), so maybe users have started to tune them out; maybe the promotional links are now nothing more than a blind spot. The other problem with the above design is that it’s starting to get cluttered as more and more things clamour for the attention of customers.

So, we came up with a new design to meet two separate goals:

  1. Increase the CTR for promotional offers that are showcased on the home page
  2. Reduce the clutter accumulated on the page while also preventing the possibility of clutter arising again

This is what our ‘experimental’ home page design looks like:

Experimental home page

We hope we’ve come up with an elegant solution to meet our two separate goals–the proverbial killing of two birds with one stone even. By displaying only one promotional link at a time, we’re making each link much more visible. We’re hoping the increased visibility of the link results in increased aggregate click-throughs as well. The display of only one link at a time automatically solves for our second goal of reducing and preventing clutter.

We’re conducting an A/B test right now where half of all visitors are seeing the experimental home page and the other half are seeing the same old home page we’ve always had. We’ll be running this test for a short while longer and will post an update here with details on what the test showed.

We have some more minor tweaks we’ll be pushing out soon to the home page as well, stay tuned for that and for a quick trip down memory lane, where we share the story of how our home page design evolved into the final design we launched with.