Friday, April 21, 2006

Welcome to Travolution 3.0

Most editors will acknowledge there is often an anxious wait between sending electronic pages down the line to the printers and then receiving the actual magazine in the flesh.

Waiting for the April edition of Travolution has been no different. This is the third issue since we launched last November and we are desperate for the industry to see us getting into our stride and flex our editorial muscles a little bit.

For our cover feature [“Digital take-off“] we have examined the plight of the airlines and how the internet has gone a long way to restoring the enormous power they once had over the rest of the industry.

Controversial? Possibly. Will the rest of industry disagree with what Tricia Holly Davis has managed to get the likes of boss Carsten Willert and other senior airline figures to say? We hope so – our intention has always been provoke debate rather than soothe egos.

With this last bit in mind, we have taken a risk – some might argue – of massively upsetting some parts of the industry with our current Road Test.

A few years ago the issue of accessibility came to the attention of the online community once again as the Disability Discrimination Act came into play.

We picked eight leading travel-related websites and asked the Royal National Institute for the Blind to scrutinise them in areas that might have an impact on disabled users.

These include Keyboard Access, Text Alternatives and Flexibility.

According to the RNIB’s senior web accessibility consultant, Henny Swan, none of the eight sites (Expedia, Ebookers, Thomson, Eurostar, Ryanair, Flightcentre, Cheapflights and Marriott) have come out of the test with a huge amount of glory.

Some are strong in a particular area, while others are doing well with another aspect.

[Read the full article here]

The purpose of the exercise has been to highlight the wider issue of web accessibility for consumers with a disability – nothing more.

The RNIB, to who we are enormously grateful for carrying out the tests using their collection of technological gizmos and through personal use, feels the travel industry needs a gentle reminder with regards to this area.

Apart from the frustration that some users may experience with some travel websites, from a business perspective the industry is also missing out if it is unable to target users with some form of disability.

Obviously we welcome all feedback with regards to this or any other feature []. Or just leave a comment on the Blog.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

1 comment:

PaulD said...

Does anyone think that the Google Steam roller will stop? Google is a business and it would be mad not to consider the option of Troogle. What it’s got to consider is how the industry will react and what will happen to it’s traditional search business.

I have a meeting with Google this week which the issue will be raised. Will I get a straight answer?? Probably not.

Creating a travel vertical search would make business sense as it is trying to get that "perfect search result".