There’s always room for better

I’ve been following Luke Wroblewski’s notes & presentations on Mobile for a while now and was looking foward to his third book, Mobile First, which was released a few days back.

While checking out reviews for the book, we stumbled upon a short video with LukeW discussing best practices for mobile web sites.

Even though Wroblewski rips Cleartrip Mobile’s startup screens apart in the video, we must admit it was a nice surprise to find Cleartrip Mobile keeping the likes of Basecamp Mobile, Flickr Mobile and Youtube Mobile company.

Addressing the concept of an ideal homepage for mobile web sites, Wroblewski calls out Cleartrip Mobile as one of the most “egregious offenders” — he takes particular offence to the ‘Skip’ button on our startup screens:

No offence to anyone who still likes Flash, but I thought we got over this “Skip intro” phase a couple of years of ago,

Touché.

This is what visitors see when they use Cleartrip Mobile the very first time:

We wholeheartedly agree with Wroblewski — Cleartrip Mobile does not have the best first-use experience. Many of our customers have found these screens to be more than a little annoying — “Why can’t I just start using the damn thing?” is a common refrain. We’ve been meaning to improve this for a while and we’ll post details here once we launch the improvements.

Wroblewski also comments on our navigation based homepage, which, in his opinion, is not the optimal starting point for a user:

And even when you get through, what do you get? You get a bunch of navigation options. So, I think we can do way better than this and I think we can get people to content first and navigation second…

Here, we agree only partially. Cleartrip is not a “content” site like Flickr or YouTube, we’re a search and transaction oriented site and we need user input before we can show relevant content. Wroblewski’s point, however, has made us think about how we can provide a more relevant experience for returning users. We’ve got some really exciting ideas we’re exploring here and we’re looking forward to sharing more on them as they materialise.

In conclusion, Luke Wroblewski, you’re absolutely right — we can and will do much better than this. Watch this space, we’ll be launching a completely redesigned first-use experience for Cleartrip Mobile very soon.

There’s always room for better and we’re not afraid to admit it.

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