By David Moth
The AA recently launched a shiny new responsive website, meaning the online experience is optimised for all screen sizes.
Presumably the AA receives a high proportion of mobile traffic from motorists looking to request roadside assistance or check for traffic updates, so it’s about time that the company adopted responsive design.
And in keeping with the latest trends it has shown skeuomorphism the road by opting for flat design.
Having recently gone through the arduous task of trying to get last minute breakdown cover for a VW campervan, I’m all too aware of the UX issues that can plague the AA and its ilk (I ended up doing it by phone).
So here’s a quick analysis of the AA’s new homepage in comparison to several of its competitors…
The AA’s main challenge is to give adequate exposure to each of its various products.
Alongside breakdown cover it offers car and home insurance, driving lessons, boiler protection, and credit cards.
On the desktop site these are presented clearly in columns that divide products into those for the road and those for the home. This makes it easy to understand, though the universal yellow colour means that nothing really stands out.
It also uses a dreaded carousel, which several studies have proven to be ineffectual.
On a smartphone screen the new site is a bit of a let down as the calls-to-action are tiny, making it fiddly to use.
Also, there’s no GPS or predictive search results on the route planner which would be very useful for mobile users.
On the plus side, if you click through to the individual product pages the design is far better, with massive CTAs and less clutter.
On the breakdown page there’s also a handy click-to-call button enabling customers to quickly request assistance.
With fewer products on offer, the RAC should have a simpler design than the AA.
That’s not necessarily the case however, as it’s currently promoting a ‘free fuel’ offer which I couldn’t really make sense of at first glance.
Even so the ‘Join now’ CTAs do stand out from the rest of the clutter.
The RAC has a separate mobile site which offers an okay user experience, though the buttons are again a bit small.
If you delve slightly deeper into the site the application forms are mobile optimised and easy to navigate, and it’s good to note that the route finder has GPS and predictive search.
Weirdly though, if you happen to be stuck by the road in need of assistance the RAC routes you to a desktop site to find the contact telephone number.
Green Flag is clearly aiming to take a bite out of its rivals’ earnings with an aggressive offer for new customers.
I like the big headline, but feel that the CTA might benefit from using a brighter shade of orange.
Green Flag homepage is pleasingly simple, though the thin design also feels slightly antiquated.
The cards list the five types of roadside cover and attempt to upsell the Recovery Plus option by highlighting it as ‘Our most popular’ product.
As Green Flag only offers one product it has fewer challenges on mobile and has opted for a separate mobile site which allows users to access policy information, a click-to-call assistance button, and an optimised route planner.
Unfortunately Green Flag has yet to optimise the purchase journey, so potential customers are linked to a desktop site if they wish to buy breakdown cover.
It’s also worth noting that both Green Flag and the RAC offer quite hefty online discounts to discourage people from applying by phone.
I thought this tactic would have been phased out by now, but it’s apparently alive and well.
A special mention…
Though it’s not competing in exactly the same arena as the other companies, I thought it might be useful to highlight Autoglass’ homepage as an example of excellent CTA design.
The windscreen repair company doesn’t bother with prices or different types of cover, there’s just one huge, green button with an arrow pointing at it.
If only all homepages were this simple…