Usability review: Kinepolis.be

As of today Kinepolis has launched it’s new website and a new mobile application. In this review I would like to discuss some key issues present in the user centered design and more importantly the usability and consistency of their website.

Kine-What?

Kinepolis as all of you should know is a brand used by the Kinepolis Group for their movie theaters. Their mission is, as stated on their official website, to let people enjoy from a top quality and unique leisure and/or business activity with a customer experience that you can only experience within the environment of Kinepolis. But like any other company their main goal is to earn profits, the value proposition and mission are just a means to an end that also help to define objectives to reach the final goal. Sure they want to give you an unique experience, no doubt about that. But let’s see if their new website provides that customer experience you can only find at Kinepolis.

First impression

I browse to the Kinepolis homepage and immediately notice that the homepage does not center on my 24 inch screen. This is not a big problem in normal occasions but as each section and it’s corresponding color continues it withdraws my attention from the real content. In addition the huge amount of content requires me to scroll.

  • Problem: scrollbar is on the right, content is on the left. A decent gap can be found between them.
  • Problem: there is no search option. Oh wait, there is, it’s at the bottom of the page! Thus it requires me to scroll through the content before I can search for what I really need.

There seems to be a new section with movie posters on top. I remember the same functionality being presented for upcoming, and now finally released Kinepolis application. I need to move my mouse over it before I get to know the functionality. Both tickets can be ordered and information can be retrieved for the movie. Both point me to the same page but to a different tab on the page. Clicking the poster itself doesn’t work, you have to click the text. Why not directing me to the information page when I click the poster?

  • Problem: functionality is not clear and it requires users to specifically click on text before a link works.

Color are key

The internet is a huge and expends every day. Somewhere the information we are looking for is located and therefore focus is important. Colors are crucial as they are the key elements used by an eye, together with size, to distinguish different elements of information. That’s basically why the markers have been invented, to clear our mind of the useless information and locate the useful information. The new colors used on the Kinepolis website do deviate a bit from the old ones. They are well used to separate different sections of the home page and divide it into five parts. By browsing through the website I quickly notice some other things. The buttons on the movie page with the functionality to select a movie have a different color from the ones on the homepage. Additionally, there is no clear difference between the normal state and the hovered state of the buttons. Well, that’s a lie. The shadow fades away, but that’s exactly what shouldn’t happen. Colors or gradients should change.

  • Problem: the coloring is not consistent which can make it difficult for users to navigate quickly.
  • Problem: the color does not change when you hover a button, shadow goes away though.

Where do I get tickets?

This is basically the first question that gets into my mind when I access the Kinepolis side. Aside from getting information on the running hours of a movie it is also the single functionality I use the site for. However there doesn’t seem to be a direct link to a page where I can buy ticket for a movie (except when you move over a movie poster, but that’s not trivial for ‘dumb’ users). Strange for a company that gets a decent percentage of revenue from selling tickets. Even stranger when you think that it is the same company that proposed people to buy tickets before arriving at the movies. It takes me four clicks before I get to the ticketing system.

  1. First I select my movie theater, in my case this would be the venue in Kortrijk.
  2. Then I get a list of all the movies playing there with all the hours.
  3. By scrolling through the list I can find the relevant information.
  4. Then I click the tickets button, but…
  5. I still have to select an hour! Oh wait, I could have selected the hour instantly.

I remember that the movie list was way more condensed in the old system. Why not using the posters here as people can remember an image much faster and better than the name of a movie. In my opinion that’s basically why you would add the section with the movie posters on top of the homepage. Basically there is again a colloring issue  here. The timeline is not clear enough with it’s grey color and the background is to light when you suddenly jump from the frontpage to the movie list. It almost got me blinded. You do want me to be able to look at your movies do you?

Conclusion

The website looks posh (although you can consider that a subjective opinion), has a good look and contains the right information. It lacks however usability and consistency and to me does not prove me the status of Kinepolis, which is in my eyes the Mercedes of the theater experience. I do realize I did not review every single part of the website, but I think I’ve proven that there are some major things to improve to reach the customer experience level they try to attain with their missions statement. Let’s be clear that these things are evaluated by my own perception and that research done with potential users of the website is the only valid way to know the usability and consistency issues.

5 thoughts on “Usability review: Kinepolis.be

  1. You can order tickets by clicking on the blue bullets in the timeline, in that case you don’t have to specify the hour!

    Seems a bit hidden, but saves a mouseclick..

  2. I design/develop websites and even I missed the on hover menus on the movie posters. Why not simply list these visibly below the poster in question?
    The sidemenu on http://kinepolis.be/nl/theaters/kinepolis-antwerpen#parkinginfo is also very confusing: some are in page anchors, some trigger a lightbox, some load a new page. That’s 3 different functionalities in the same menu.
    Worst of all, buying an actual ticket loads another window or tab, and that subsite is still completely in flash… give me a break already :)
    Designwise I have to disagree it looks posh, on the contrary. Heavy gradients, heavy drop shadows, Arial as font… it looks like a site from 2002.
    It’s a step up from their previous site, but could have been so much better overall.

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