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We're currently working on a project for a local theatre, updating their website and booking process.

We're currently reviewing the waiting room experience and the client has requested we remove the header and footer of the site when the user is on the page and in the queue for booking tickets. The logic being that they don't want people navigating away from the page while they're in the queue.

I can understand the logic, but then I question if suddenly removing the navigation options and large blocks of the websites is good usability and experience for the end user. To me it's forcing their hand, and to some might feel like the website is suddenly broken (which isn't the most reassuring thing when you're about to put down money).

Any advice would be very welcome.

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This practice is common in checkout processes, as it isolates the vital information at hand and encourages the user to focus on the action needed. It also helps keep the process linear and avoid confusion as to what action needs to be taken next.

I believe in a waiting room metaphor, this makes just as much sense.

some interesting reading:

Smashing magazine:

The checkout process is different to the rest of the browsing experience on your site. During this process your customers aren’t shopping — they’re making the purchase. This means all the browsing controls are redundant here and would only distract your customers from the task at hand. Eliminate these unnecessary elements — e.g. product category links, top products, latest offers, and so on — to keep the interface simple.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/12-tips-for-designing-an-excellent-checkout-process/

some more of it here: https://econsultancy.com/blog/6623-why-you-should-enclose-the-checkout-process/

  • Fantastic, it's great to be learn something new and I appreciate the sources greatly. Thank you very much. – Kyuuji Aug 12 '15 at 17:59
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I agree with @JayFlow's answer and would also add that by removing the navigation you are actually protecting the customer. In a real world waiting room or queue you are likely to lose your place if you move somewhere else. That's pretty obvious if you're actually standing somewhere but isn't necessarily clear when you are online. You could (maybe should) include a 'leave waiting room' button but you need to make it clear that the user will lose their place if they do so.

I don't think people will think that the website is broken as long a key visual elements remain the same (logo, font, colours, button styles etc). And I would say that most people are fairly familiar with checkout processes like this so confusion will be fairly minimal.

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