Corporate Web Communications Strategy of Ryan Air
In the contemporary business world, online transactions and communications becomes more and more critical. People use to find information and the internet and then go to the store and buy their products. Today however, people expect to get full purchasing services through the internet. Millions of people perform worldwide online transactions everyday now. Thus, people’s expectation regarding the facility is rising rapidly. The usability and functionality of corporate websites are becoming more compulsory than ever. A well-maintained, user-friendly and effective website is no longer an ‘extra’, it is now a necessity.
Researches indicated that in many cases, corporate websites are not meeting the expectations of their users. A considerable portion of the users become frustrated because they are having difficulties navigating the website and interacting with it. This is caused by the lack of proper attention or maintenance of the site. Even though researches discover that the portion of unsatisfied users increase rapidly, there are still few efforts are made to increase the amount of attention given to the website. In this paper I am evaluating the website of Ryanair using several guidelines of website evaluation.
2. Evaluating Websites
2.1. General Evaluation Criteria
There are actually many guidelines I evaluating websites. People usually use the general website evaluation guidelines, which focus on the correctness or the reliability of the information provided within the websites. These common guidelines are:
§ Accuracy of the Documents
Accuracy can be determined by ensuring that the writer provides his/her e-mail or contact address
§ Authority of the Documents
Authority can be determined by credentials of the author and knowing where the documents are published.
§ Objectivity of Web Documents
Objectivity of the Documents can be determined by first clearly establishing the purpose of the website. For example, if it is a mask for advertising that the information provided within it could be biased.
§ Currency of Web Documents
The level of website currency can be determined by paying attention to the time of website publications or time of last update and also by paying attention to dead links and outdated information
§ Coverage of Web Documents
Coverage level of a website can be determined by paying attention to what special software are required to view the pages within the website and what information will be missed if the software is unavailable. Coverage can also be determined by paying attention to what information is free and what requires fee and also paying attention to the presence of options like better viewing options, etc.
2.2. Evaluating Business Website
Despite the relevancy and effectiveness of these guidelines, they are not sufficient to address the values that people are looking for in a business website. In a business website, several other criteria must be added in the evaluation process, mostly ones that focus on usability and user-friendliness. Some of the recognized criteria to evaluate a business website are:
Extent of Information ProvidedWe need to evaluate the extent of information provided within the home page, whether it set the proper context for visitors or not. Relevancy is crucial unless the site will be another annoying bunch of uninteresting information.
NavigationA good website should have a consistent global navigation from one page to another. Major sections must have local navigation also.
Site OrganizationUser friendliness is important, therefore, the site must be organized to be intuitive and easy to understand
Links and LabelsLabels in websites should be easy to understand and links should be easy to distinguish from each other
Search and Search ResultsThere should be an easy to use search engine which has basic and advanced functions. Search results should also be weighted relevantly according to customers’ preferences
ReadabilityFonts and line lengths should be easy to read. The site should also be easy to scan.
PerformanceGood websites usually have graphics and multimedia presentations and they load quickly enough.
ContentContent of the website should be sufficiently deep and wide and in accordance to organizational mission and the need of users (Kirakowski, 1998).
2.2.2. Important Features
In addition to those evaluation criteria, there are several other features that we need to pay attention to when evaluating a business website, which are
Contact OptionsValid websites usually have several contact options like Email, Contact Form, telephone number, etc. We need to pay attention for this feature because the absence of a contact option would generate the possibility that the website is fraudulent or irresponsible in nature.
Corporate InformationA good corporate website should also have comprehensive information regarding the company. This usually appears in the form of ‘About Page’, ‘Company Info’, etc.
Certifications and AffiliationsWell designed websites are usually accompanied by certificates from reputable organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, TRUSTe, Alexa, etc. Such recognition would help give peace of mind for users of the website regarding the reliability of the website.
Use Evaluation ToolsFurther evaluation regarding the quality of the website can be obtained using analysis tools like WHOIS and Alexa. These website evaluation tool allow us to track various data regarding activities of the website.
Payment MethodsPayment method options are also important feature because they provide users with greater convenience. Less form of payment methods could alert users and send them negative thoughts regarding the website’s nature (Shang, 1999).
Ryanair is one of the most successful airlines in the world today. It is an Irish company with headquarters in Dublin International Airport. The airline operates more than 180 aircrafts that flies on 729 routes across Europe and North Africa.
RyanAir is known as the Europe’s largest low cost carrier (LCC) that travels to more than 90 destinations within the 17 European countries. The affordable marketing strategy of making cheap flight has awarded RyanAir with sustainable growth about 25% per year (Ryanair, 2006).
3.1. Business Objectives and Business Model
The website of Ryanair is a B2C website with transactional capabilities. The site reflected various purposes, including selling, advertising, and customer support. It contains many pages for users with different purposes. The site is well maintained in terms of speed of load and depth of content. The value put front by this website is providing wide information content and transactional activities for international users. Links and labels are easy to understand and the website itself is easy to navigate. The site also has a search engine that is operational and easy to use.
3.2. Audience profile
There are various types of audience for a website, like students, government officers, future customers and analysts. The website by Ryanair is mainly dedicated for future customers by providing them with detailed information regarding flight routes hotel and rental information, flight schedules, etc. Because it is dedicated for customers’ information and transactional needs, the website has little information for investors and students. The website could be improved by providing a page for investors, students and observers.
Figure 1 RyanAir Official Website
4. Web Evaluation
4.1. Information Design
The website is up to date and the content is highly relevant for potential customers. The site provides contact information and a page for customer feedback. Copyright statements are stated clearly. The company also provides comprehensive information regarding its background and history and where the company is in its current position within the industry. Figure 1 shows that appearance of Ryan Air website, exhibiting the
4.2. Navigation Design
Navigation for the site is designed to be easy by displaying most of the items in the first screen. The design is then wide and not too deep, which is better because it will reduce the amount of pages users need to go through (the number of clicks) before actually obtaining the information they are looking for. Nevertheless, the complicated display of the first page might intimidate some users and reduce attractiveness of the website. These trade-offs must be managed carefully.
4.3. Presentation Design
The website is clearly branded and it has a clear purpose which is to service potential customers. The website also provides multimedia content when displaying aircraft routes. The page load quickly, but it cannot be personalized. The website however, does not reveal any affiliations and certifications from reputable 3rd party organizations. Payment methods used are also reliable and quirt practical for customers
The site could easily reach. The name of the website is representative of the company and there are not visual impairments during times of observations. The website provides many contract options which more than sufficient as a proof or responsible offerings. Due to the heavy flow of connection however, most of the contact options need quite sometime before requiring any response.
4.5. Competitor Analysis
The biggest competitor for Ryanair is Easyjet. In terms of website design, Easyjet took a similar approach to its rival by focusing on potential customers. Nevertheless, Easyjet still provides an investor relation page which is a plus for investors, students and observers.
This provides the atmosphere of acceptability for corporate stakeholders. Easyjet’s website also looks much simpler in the first page, which made it a lot more attractive in the aesthetics perspective. The site looks less complicated, less intimidative and more user-friendly. However, this might mean users need to go though more pages before achieving their destination page.
Kirakowski, J., N. Claridge and R. Whitehand (1998). “Factors and Principles Affecting the Usability of Four Ecommerce. Sites”. 4th Conference on Human Factors and the Web, Basking Ridge, NJ USA, published electronically.
Murphy, J. (1999). “Surfers and searches: an examination of web-site visitors’clicking behavior.” Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration 40(2): 84-97.
Shang, P. and G. Dran (1999). “Satisfiers and Dissatisfiers: A Two-Factor Model for Website Design and Evaluation.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 51(14): 1253-1268.
RyanAir. (2006). Ryanair Annual Report 2005. Retrieved March 8, 2009 from http://www.Ryanair.com