Making a complex checkout simple
Since 1987 Jagged Globe has been at the forefront of planning, organising and leading mountaineering expeditions and courses, backcountry skiing and high-altitude treks. They were the first British company to organise a professionally-led expedition to Everest and continue to develop innovative trips to mountains worldwide.
After taking over the site, we made many incremental improvements, securing the site with an SSL so that it all ran over the encrypted HTTPS protocol, updating password encryption to modern standards, taking payments to trips online (using SagePay) and moving the entire site to a server with PCI standard security.
Once security was up to date, the client wished to work on their checkout.
Getting clients up an 8,000 metre peak is complicated and requires considerable due diligence before booking. Before a the Jagged Globe are prepared to take a climber to such a hostile environment, their competence as a climber and overall health must be appraised and approved. Detailed questionnaires must be completed.
For a new method of booking trips online, we needed to meet the following challenges:
Climbing the great peaks can never be made entirely safe. For a trip to be an adventure, a certain amount of exposure, a degree of risk and even significant discomfort are all inevitable.
Before a client could even start to check out a set of rigorous terms and conditions would need to be accepted.
The processes that interrupt the checkout process and distract the user from checking out are referred to as ‘friction’ – this needed to be minimised. Everyone‘s time is pressured but where information was known of a customer, it shouldn’t be asked twice
Whilst the interface needed to be as simple as possible, there are many options which affect the final price – single room, departure point, trip extensions an so on. The customer, at all stages, needed to be aware both of what they needed to put on their credit card immediately and what would need to be paid before they set foot on the mountain.
No client we have ever worked with has such a demanding set of strictures to their booking. This required a sophisticated custom build.
Before we typed a line of code (any fool can clatter away at a keyboard) we went through a process of defining the brief with the client – a process which took days.
We couldn’t get rid of the “terms and conditions” step entirely, but we turned it into a part of the process, the styling matches the rest of the checkout and signposting is clear. The user knows why they are there, what they are there for and how it fits into the checkout.
Before this update, a user would need to complete a registration form, validate their email address, login and then checkout – significant friction. We built a form which could register a user as they checked out.
If a user with a known email checks out, they are prompted for their password – if both can be validated, the checkout form is completed automatically (as far as possible) from the Jagged Globe database. Only a new user need work through the entire booking form – and even then only the once.
The user needs to acknowledge the information they are submitting and grant explicit permission for Jagged Globe to use it for both themselves and any other user for whom they book.
The customer is never presented with more interface than they need to complete the booking. Although the system permits a booking for up to four people, until the customer asks to do so, the form fields for extra users are never presented.
We built a small console with a summary of the booking, dates, departure points, options chosen and so on. This follows the client down the page as the worked their way through the process keeping them updated as to the deposit to be paid immediately and the final balance due at all times. This widget also contains the submit button, as soon as enough data has been captured on the form – the button becomes live – and the customer can immediately make payment.
We built a system that would remind customers who leave during the checkout process that their booking is still ‘live’ and offering them a link back to complete it. If the booking is not completed after two days, all data relating to it is deleted.
Although complex, we ensured that the entire booking process could be completed on a mobile phone – in the process we made the entire website meet the Google ‘mobile-friendly’ standard.
Jagged Globe don’t just accept bookings from all the website but all bookings are managed by users on the website. New bookings from this new process needed to integrate with those already on the uploaded.
Such a large project, with so many variables, required rigorous testing – unit testing each process and sub process throughout. Mountaineers are an individualistic lot, the range of devices against which we had to test was large but we used BrowserStack to enable to do so on the platforms to which we had no physical access.
It’s been a while but we just checked. To book a trip costing thousands of pounds, an existing customer at Jagged Globe can go from looking at a trip to paying for it in four clicks, one checkbox and two short text fields (email and password).
Einstein is credited with the quote: “Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler”
We reckon we got close.
If you think about it, you probably do. Talk to us, we‘re good at this.