Comparison of the Usability of websites for Aer Lingus & Ryanair

March 16, 2010

Having been given the task of assessing the usability of two major Irish airlines, I went into this task using the Heuristic Evaluation method designed by Nielsen.

Therefore, both Ryanair and Aer Lingus need to look at the usability of their website.






Aer Lingus Aer Lingus Image 




Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors:

Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.


After Starting the Ryanair booking process I ran into a number of problems whilst booking the flight. The sight provided me with pop up boxes which as seen below provided me with clear guidance on what to do to rectify my errors.

After entering in a date earlier then departing a pop up box was displayed showing me what  needed to be done

enter correct date

Onto the next stage of the booking process and a pop box is displayed which is very handy for users as indicates what areas need to be filled in.

Enter in correct passport details

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus has a very similiar method to Ryanair in terms of Error handling. I believe that Ryanair’s method is more efficient as the pop up box centres on the user screen whereas Aer Lingus’s notice appears top of the page.

enter in city

Aer Lingus’s error handling controls are more colourful and easy to read however.

Aer Lingus’s error handling is more comprehensive then the Ryanair process as more steps are handled for errors like prices and payment as seen below

Aer Lingus also provides very effective tool which shows users error message indicating where they have ommited important details. It also highlights areas like Name in red as seen below.

User control and freedom

 Users must be able to control what they wish to do within every area of the airlines booking process. If on a page which they wish to leave they need to be able to go back or undo.


 Ryanair site allows clearly to go forwards but there is no secure connection to go back.



Aer Lingus

The Aer Lingus site provides users with opportunity to go back securely if they have entered into an area which they do not wish to be in.

 Aer Lingus page is completely more efficient from user control and freedom aspect as users can select control tabs to exit process, get help and go back.

Visibility of system status  


The Ryanair process and AerLingus process are both similiar in that they both provide clear process where the customer can easily see where they are currently, what areas they have completed and what still is needed to be done.

Aer Lingus

Personally I feel the Aer Lingus site has a more comprehensive process for the visibility of system status as there is a clear colour coordination of where customer is in the booking process.


 Why not go onto the sites yourself and book your holiday



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