Being tasked with creating a new site for a big brand should be viewed as a great honour, but if you lack any confidence in your abilities it’s liable to lead to sleepless nights. I lost no sleep over creating a new site for Emirates Holidays, but it would be churlish not to admit that it came with unique challenges.
The initial task was to create a transactional site for the UK to replace the existing site which invited customers to telephone to book., but it wasn’t just the booking flow in need of modernisation, the design and functionality of the frontend was equally outdated. Fiercely protective of their brand, it was great to see prototypes which reflected contemporary web design, including page sizes which better utilised increased browser resolution sizes together with strong, inspirational imagery.
The main navigation, which incorporated a fixed, hanging logo, was considered part of the branding, but the inflexibility of this requirement was always going to lead to problems going forward. I was able to mitigate this a little while setting responsive design rules because responsive design was not addressed in the brand guidelines. Despite the use of drop-down menus, and later mega menus, the lack of scalability remains a problem for Emirates Holidays’ sites.
Despite last minute discussions about whether the design complied with corporate guidelines, it was well received and instantly successful after launch, and over the following two years was copied for use for a number of international Emirates Holidays sites. These were linked together using a country and language selector which, even if I do say so myself, was both elegant and functional.
All in all, the new Emirates Holidays design it was a pleasure to make, but that isn’t to say that the site could be much better than it is, particularly the handheld experiences.