Budget airlines including Ryanair and Monarch are the latest firms to fail simple web site usability tests, according to research by user experience firm Webcredible released today.
The 2009 Flights Online Report from the consultancy ranked Ryanair in last place out of the 20 airlines and travel agent sites studied, with a score of just 41 per cent, an improvement of only one per cent on last year.
Second from bottom was a tie between Monarch and Thomas Cook on 47 per cent, while Jet2 and EasyJet were not far away with 49 and 50 per cent respectively.
Webcredible evaluated the sites against 20 best practice guidelines, scoring each guideline out of five.
British Airways topped the poll, as it did last year, with a score of 71 per cent, while Expedia and Virgin Atlantic tied for second place with 70 per cent.
Despite an overall increase of 5.1 per cent from last year, the average total for the industry was just 56.7 per cent. Similar research of the utilities and retail sectors by Webcredible found averages of 58.7 and 67.8 per cent respectively.
Many of the sites are still failing on key usability basics, such as displaying clear progress bars and clear identification of errors, according to Webcredible.
"In the current economic climate people are looking to go online to get better deals, so you would think companies would make sure the web experience is as good as possible," said Webcredible senior consultant Abid Warsi.
"You don't want to lose sales because customers have left the checkout process because the progress bar is not clear."
Warsi added that companies should set up user research and testing programmes to ensure that they target the right areas of their sites for improvement.
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