Of out all the companies which demoed at UnPluggd, iXIGo was one name that is well established. And its recently launched Trip Planner won quite a few hearts.
Unlike traditional search engines which make the use of linear results for a query in the form of links and pages with information, iXIGo’s Trip Planner represents the information in a visual manner that is appealing. The approach taken by iXIGo is intuitive, in a random search for Delhi to Kangra, a small village in Himachal Pradesh. The information result that it gave to us was the distance between the places, modes of transportation ( both fastest and cheapest) along with best time to visit, places to stay, places to visit, along with other tidbits like the most popular food joints along with nearby destinations, which in our case included Dharamsala and Palampur.
Clicking on the plethora of the options listed, one is met with more choices in that regard. The selecting a nearby place for an example brings about a slide show for that place. Or clicking on the modes of travel brings about a further search option, showing the ways to reach the destination either via a single mode of travel, say by car or bus; or a combination of two like by a flight and a bus along with further choices to toggle between priority to duration or cost for the journey.
It doesn’t mean that the service is perfect. In our trying out of the service we did ran into a few troubles. Firstly the list for the places to stay, which lists the hotel. The option for budget hotels is missing in many places and the number of hotels listed is fairly limited and the same holds true for the places to eat. Something which might turn out to be an issue for the budget and the foodie traveller.
The trip planner page boasts of a voice input for the search functionality and that to say remains a novelty. In trying out various places, it failed to recognize the query most of the times, and instead would input a random string of words not associated to the query in any way. In the odd moment it did understand my query, the software would add “eg. how to go from delhi to mumbai” to all of my searches. By using the mouse to remove this extra text defeats the whole purpose of voice input.
The other great issue I faced was the pricing it listed for transportation. For any given query the price it listed in the top result for travelling by bus is atleast a month old date. In the actual price search for a place via bus, the prices seemed to fluctuate as high as 3 times, and in general tended to be higher than those listed in the top results.
All in all Trip Planner is a novel approach by iXIGo to make travel a simpler process. The interface is clean and clutter free and at no point does the user feel an information overload and definitely merits planning a trip via it.