As a frequent cinema-goer I’ve gotten to know the various cinemas around Dublin and each of their online experiences. When starting this project I decided to take a look some of my most frequently visited cinema sites for booking tickets and see how they rank and compare. The four competitors I chose to look at were Movies@Dundrum, Vue Cinema at Liffey Valley, the IFI in Temple Bar, and the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. These cinemas I thought represented a good range in popularity, location, and different target audiences. The following is my ranking from worst to best of how each of these sites handle their online booking experience, from a UI and UX perspective .
This was a big disappointment being my most local cinema this is probably the one I would visit most frequently. However, when I went through the booking process with a critical eye I realised just how un-intuitive the process is. The immediate problem is navigation. From the beginning of the process in choosing a film right up to the confirmation of your order the screen is littered with useless information while the information that actually may be useful is not present or not easily found.
The selection process for the IFI is a lot better than our last place candidate, it could utilise the space slightly better but overall things are presented in a much clearer way. The reason for placing the IFI process in the number 3 position lies mainly with that fact that they insist on an account being created before tickets can be purchased. This not only quite an annoyance for potential customers but also invites a lot more room for error. They also do not provide allocated seating which takes away one of the benefits of pre-booking tickets online.
2. Vue Cinema
1. Lighthouse Cinema
I put Lighthouse Cinema as my number one mainly for the pure and simple reason it was the only site to present you with a clear and easy to find quick book option. Coming from my own personal experience I almost always know the movie I’m interested in going to see before I even arrive on the site. One of the top things that annoy me about cinema booking experiences is the fact that on most you end up scrolling thorugh endless lists of events you are not interested in before getting to the one you are looking for. On top of this Lighthouse Cinema layout is incredibly intuitive, easy to follow, and just plain looks nice. Call to Actions stand out where they need to, the user can easily identify what stage of the booking process they are at and can easily navigate their way forward or back as necessary. The only point I would take off from this process is the inability to choose seats, if this was an option perhaps I would consider booking at the Lighthouse Cinema more frequently!
After completing these short critiques I can easily identify that Movies@Dundrum is in need of the most help when it comes to UI and UX. They have all the features there however I believe their users would receive a much better experience if a few changes were made to their navigation process. My next steps are to undertake some research into what kinds of people are booking online and what their requirements are. Also to take a more in depth look at what the main causes are for Movies@Dundrum’s poor UX.