Following the requirements, the design stage addressed how to build the systems. The design of the system had to incorporate the functional and non-functional requirements mentioned in the analysis. The prototyping methodology uses iterative design. Two prototypes were therefore created


Many users will not be patient enough to learn the layout of the site through trial and error. It has to be obviously clear to them what is available and how to get there. Good usability is especially vital for this project because the website would be attract of detract potential customers to ABC Travel. Usability is defined as the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. To achieve these aims therefore, several books, which specify usability guidelines for homepages were consulted.

The first point that is made is to put the company logo in a prominent place. It is suggested that the upper-left corner is the best placement for languages that read from left to right. Since the website is aimed exclusively at English speaking customers, this advice was followed and the logo was placed in the top-left hand corner.




It is also advised to place high priority tasks in a prominent location such as the upper middle of the page. The highest priority task for ABC Travel, the flight-booking engine, was therefore placed in the upper middle of the page. It is recommended not to include internal company information on the external website, so the internal website that is used to update the commercial website will therefore not be linked to the site at all.

Links: It is important to differentiate between text and links so the users can scan through the text and find links quickly. The links should not be generic such as `Click Here' or `More', rather they should be specific and illustrate to the user what they will be taken to. ABC Travel's site will have a full list of offers in the main page, with each deal linking to the relevant page for that category, thus making each link specific and unambiguous. Colours should be used to clearly indicate what links have been visited. They should also change colour when hovering over a link to indicate to the user that it is a valid link. Technologies such as cascading style sheets incorporate such changes effectively.

A problem arose regarding links to external sites. There are numerous external links to give users information and advice about their journeys. Being an e-commerce website, one has to be very cautious not to provide users an opportunity to go to another company's website. It was therefore decided that the links would open a new window, still leaving the customer in ABC Travel's domain, but allowing the customer to view the external site. This would enable the customer to find the extra information they desire and then continue to browse on ABC Travel's website.

The holidays booking engine in particular is hosted at an external website that is customised for ABC Travel. The most appropriate solution for the holidays booking engine was to put the external site in an iframe which would allow the user to have the full functionality of the external site whilst remaining in ABC Travel's domain.

Login and Registration: It was decided that the website will not have a login function because customer registration forms do not generally attract new customers. After the meeting with Mr. Y however, it became clear that some form of registration would be required for the transaction to be processed. The registration therefore would be delayed until the very last point before the customer bought a ticket, whereby the customer would already be willing to buy from ABC Travel.



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