simplify simplify simplify

These days there’s just no need for overburdened UI on a website of any large business or corporation, and yet, there they are out there. Hand it to a guy like Dustin Curtis to call out one of the many, American Airlines, on what was one of the most abysmally bad, UN-user friendly sites blighting up the ‘Net.

American Airlines site, complex

He went one better though, rather than just complaining, he did on his own his version of what the site should look like, and it wasn’t just better, it was pretty close to perfect. It’s clean, fresh, minimal which helps potential customers, in this case airfare and flight shoppers focusing on what’s important to them and, in return, becoming customers.

AA Simplified

In essence, all you really need to know, right there, in easy to read layout. One of the things I tell clients to students all the time is whitespace is your friend. I’ve another way of putting it sometimes, don’t put 20 pounds of shit in a 10 pound sack, and too many companies that can’t get out of their own way can’t see it. Middle managers or people who think they know design telling designers how to design mucky muck up what should be left to the experts.

This story has an interesting twist. Sorta. They listened to Dustin, they even agreed, well, partly, that there was too much going on, but only after making excuses how they need this or that because this or that manager to this or that department wanted this or that in there under the worst reasoning ANY company can use; “because I said so.” Any company that puts it’s middle manager egos first are short changing the actual people that matter to the company… the customers. The clients. The people that are keeping that company afloat. Make a site for them, good things will happen, make a company site for your own egos or internal backpatting, you better have a lot of capital, repeat customers who are a suckers, and stocks trading well, because you’re certainly positioning yourself for failure.

American Airlines new

Now, the new American Airlines site isn’t perfect, and they’re still probably cramming way too many things on the front there to appease various shareholders or whatnot, but it’s a sizable improvement over the original pictured above. If nothing else, it looks like it belongs in 2010 and not 1998. Kudos to Dustin, and somewhat kudos to American Airlines for listening, responding, and doing something about it.