Guide to Iceland is the new benchmark for travel websites


Package holidays are great, but sometimes it’s more fun and rewarding to book your own bespoke trip, which you can tailor to your own needs, interests and schedules. There is, however, a common drawback to this approach: the amount of time, energy and stress involved in arranging hotels, flights, car rentals, day trips and more.

Why, do you often think, isn’t there one easy-to-use website where you can organize all of these things at once? Well, the good news is, if you’re visiting Iceland, it’s now!

Guide to Iceland makes it easy to access the best Icelandic travel services in a clean, uncluttered interface. So rather than tearing your hair out, planning a trip can be part of the fun.

Even if you weren’t thinking of going to Iceland, maybe you should. It’s only a short flight from the UK, and although it’s just outside the Arctic Circle, it has a temperate climate thanks to warm Gulf Stream winds. This means that whether you want to swim in the Blue Lagoon, traverse epic ice flows, see star-filled night skies and the Northern Lights, or simply relax in Reykjavík’s hip bars, there’s no stopping you.

Even better, the Guide to Iceland website makes it easy to plan the perfect trip for you. We love it so much, in fact, that we chatted with designer Kjartan Trauner to find out how he made it.

Initial design

Kjartan begins by describing the initial goals of the site. “We wanted to be the first travel site to offer the same booking process for all travel services,” he explains. “So the user only has to get familiar with one funnel to know them all. By streamlining all the funnels on our site, it is very easy to book any product and manage everything in one place. “

Good idea: but putting it into practice must not have been easy. How did he do it? “I started by selecting a grid,” he recalls. “In this case, it was a 12-column grid, adding breakpoints for different screen sizes and spacing rules. With this solid foundation, it was easy to start designing visual designs. well structured and intuitive.”

Luckily, he had plenty of strong images to draw from since one of the company’s founders is Iurie Belegurschi, one of the best nature photographers in the world.

“Iurie also has a strong team of professional photographers documenting the wonders Iceland has to offer,” says Kjartan. And he wanted to make good use of these images. “Guide to Iceland is a very visual website, and I wanted to stay true to that,” he says. “After all, we sell experiences, and a good picture is worth a thousand words.”

Kjartan Trauner

Kjartan Trauner

Speed ​​and simplicity

The beautiful images were paired with crisp, clear typography using Open Sans, a Google font that boosted site speed. “I think in general, clarity is the key to having an attractive and successful website,” he explains. “If the first thing you read on the webpage sums up what’s to come next, you’re more likely to spend time on the page. Beauty elicits emotion, and ultimately, travel is synonymous with experiences and ’emotions.’

Technically too, simplicity was paramount. “Travel is a tricky subject to talk about because there are endless variables based on location, individual preferences, and constant global changes,” says Kjartan. “Access to a stable internet connection is very variable, which is why we have focused on a light site. We have implemented different solutions to allow you to use the site even with the weakest connections. C That’s why we developed a Progressive Web App, for better accessibility and performance.”

Tools and tests

Figma was the primary tool used by Kjartan to create his designs. “It’s a great tool for collaborating with a team located around the world,” he says. The development team and department heads, meanwhile, used React.js to develop and integrate Kjartan’s designs into a working website.

The team conducted user testing to get detailed information from new users. “Also, I think what’s unique about our company is the agile testing that we do ourselves,” Kjartan adds. “Everyone in the company has a voice and is encouraged to challenge website elements and behavior.”

Ironically, the end result looks so simple and straightforward that some might think it doesn’t involve a lot of work. But anyone who has worked in web design will understand that the opposite is true.

“Having grown up with Apple products, I think I have to quote Steve Jobs here: ‘Simple can be more difficult than complex,'” Kjartan says. “The more time I spend on designs, the more I realize the importance of ‘less is more’. And I always try to revisit designs with an open mind. Nothing is perfect, the world changes and you have to be agile and open to improvements every day.”


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