Sunday, December 30, 2018

Plain does not mean bad

For all those who feel that I'm wrong in my opinion that 'plain' websites are more often than not best in achieving the site's key objective, take a look at one of the most visited web pages on the Internet ... the home page of Google Chrome.
Notice how it leads with the brand name followed closely by the search box. 

It then offers the user a list of  the websites they [in this case, me] use most often.

However, this posting has two purposes. The second is with regard to the use of icons/symbols instead of text.  

In the image below I've removed the words. I'm guessing that you will recognize some [Google, ebay] but what about the others? 

Obviously, I know what they are as they represent websites that I often visit. But what about the red tree icon? It's the badge of Nottingham Forest  ... but which website does each represent? I would be guessing, with a 50% chance of getting it wrong.

Below is the same page with text only.

It might not look as pretty ... but there is no confusion as to where each link will take the user.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Online chat services don't work ...

... particularly when they're not open.

BT would never shut down its service telephone lines in the middle of the afternoon - so why is it OK to shut down an online service?  [answer: it isn't].


I did manage to access the chat facility via another route. Sadly, before I got an answer to my query, the chatline closed.

So, BT have a record of an unresolved query. They know who I am and how to contact me ... I wonder if they do. Watch this space.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

One click too many

Back in the day we had a mantra for website design: users should be able to reach the page they want in three clicks or less.

The notion went out of common usage - probably not sexy enough for designers - but maybe we should bring it back.

Here's an example:

I wanted to listen the the England vs Croatia footie match on BBC radio 5 - this is the home page of ...  

Yep, no radio 5 in the list, so clicking on the > at the right hand end of the list gave me this ...

That's a click I didn't need to make. 

Clicking on 'all stations' gave me ..,

So why not use that as the list on the home page - or if you want pretty pictures, just make them smaller and double them up like this ...

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

Flight to nowhere

I was looking to see how much it would cost me to fly from Newcastle airport to London City airport - so I did the search on [the only airline that does the trip].

It was too expensive, so I didn't make a booking - which is just as well ... look carefully at the results of the search. Yep the quote was for a flight to Heathrow [LHR]

Monday, September 17, 2018

It's déjà vu all over again

I thought this had been sorted 20 odd years ago. We certainly sorted it on the e-commerce sites I worked with 20 years ago. Though I do recall one of the budget airlines having this issue in recent years?

The problem is this: you click on the final link of a purchase [eg 'pay'] ... and nothing happens. 

Sooooo ... you do not know if the transaction has gone through. Do you click again - and take the chance of making two purchases? Or do you assume it's gone through and await a confirmation email [if they send one] - or access your bank/credit card account to see if the money has been removed?

That's what happened when I tried to book a room with Premier Inn.

Yes, that would be the same Premier Inn that spends a significant amount of money on TV, print and online advertising.

And that advertising all drives you to the website to book a room.

Which might not work properly.

Ho humm.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Another techie vs customer ... and customer loses

I've used Firefox browser since it first came out - mainly because it has the best security of the browsers. However, this security sometimes blocks sites. I also run ad-blockers on Firefox browser - which also means the content of some sites is blocked [I assume the software interprets the images as ads].

I accessed a certain page on Firefox. There was an instruction to 'Please select a visual...' - but there were no 'visuals' [I'm going to assume that 'visual' is techie-speak for 'image' or 'picture']. Blocked by Firefox, I assumed. Note that I can put a 'visual' on my website that won't be blocked on Firefox, so it must be possible. Of course, I use simple HTML, nothing technically fancy ... Oh, and Firefox is the chosen browser of around 10% of PC users. Could any business afford to have a 'go away' sign on their door that would be seen by 10% of their customers?

So I put the URL into  Both Microsoft edge and Chrome [the brand leader at around 65%] - and in both got this message ...

Here's the thing: On neither of these browsers do I have the cookies disabled.

This is not my - the customers' - fault.

Neither is it the fault of the browsers. They only 'read' the code of the website ... and something in that code is wrong.

It is the fault of the website's designers/engineers. If the software they are using isn't liked by browsers, they should change it to something that liked. 

But here's the kicker.

Website designers/engineers - those  with computer science qualifications - don't like to 'dumb down' their work. That is beneath them. They want to be seen as being on the cutting edge of technology.

The irony is that they blame everyone else when they are made redundant.

If customers can't get in, there's no money to pay their wages.

And for any doubters reading this: I just went on Amazon in all three browsers. Every page worked perfectly. 

Amazon's not doing too badly for itself.

I rest my case.

A few minutes after posting this, I came across ... BA customers complain of having to check out of adblockers to check in for flights

UPDATE:  and another example ... the screenshot on the top is from Firefox, the bottom one from Chrome


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Techie vs customer ... and customer loses

Computer scientists can do wondrous things with technology.

They can, for example, make software recognise whether or not the same letter is in upper or lower case. It can then determine that for purposes of identification, upper and lower case are the same thing.

They can do that easily.

If the purpose requires that letters are either upper or lower, they can even tell their software to convert the 'wrong' case to the 'right' case.

And they can do that easily.

Now look at the issue from the view point of customer usability. That is; make the procedure as easy as possible for any and all users to complete.

That, of course is the view of the marketers and sales folk. Because guess what? That's where the money that pays their wages comes from.

The irony is that too many computer scientists 'get' that minor detail. 

Worse still; if any of the 'techies' responsible for developing the online survey for Trinity McQueen shown below reads this blog entry, they will probably call me an idiot for using lower case letters in my postcode.


Footnote: I hit delete and didn't complete the survey. Loss to me? Zero. Loss to the organization? A completed survey ... for which they had emailed me personally and asked would I mind completing it. 

And if this had been the form for the delivery address of a product I had in my shopping basket? And I deleted it and went to another seller? 

Us customers can be funny folk ... but we pay the wages.

Oh, final note. Marketers - check what the computer scientists are doing with your marketing before you make it available to customers :-)

Friday, September 7, 2018

If your website doesn’t work on my screen, it’s not my fault … it’s yours

I came across the website for 
Here’s how their ‘about us’ page looked on my PC’s screen via Firefox.

In case you can’t read it clearly, the words above the blank space say:

                         Places We’ve Worked

The Blank of England? [thank you Spike Milligan]

I checked it out on Microsoft Edge and there was an interactive map. I’m guessing it’s the computer science behind the ‘interactive’ bit that’s causing the problem.

Two points:
1    Would the Firefox-using potential customer have opened up Microsoft Edge?
2    This organization [it would seem] offers e-learning. That is, learning via the Internet. And they can’t make their website work properly.

Hmmm [again] 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Saga … how to win leads but lose customers

It's that time of year when  need to renew my car insurance. Obviously, I had a shop around online to see if there was a better deal than the renewal quote from my current insurer.

One such potential provider was Saga. Some way into the 'customer details' form I came across this ...

Now ... it is an old sales trick to offer the customer two alternatives knowing that whichever the customer picks, you make a sale. But really - lots of emails in your inbox from Saga or just a few is not an option. Where is the 'none' choice?

 Just out of interest, I clicked on 'insurance', and got this ...

Yep, to stop the emails you have to ring them up [actually, you don't - all marketing emails must have an 'unsubscribe' option included within them, but that's not the point].

A couple of additional things to note here:

1 Check out just what percentage of TV ads are for insurance price comparison sites or insurance companies - there is a lot of money spent to get people to visit websites where they can ask for a quote. If the above happens, all of that money is wasted.

2  I'm already a customer of Saga for another insurance product - they already send me marketing communications. So why didn't their software recognise me when I was filling in this form?

Oops, nearly forgot the main message of this posting - particularly for Saga - I stopped my request for a car insurance quote at that point.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Adidas: can I introduce you to segmentation ...

Forget digital. Forget programmatic. Forget artificial intelligence.

I got this ad in an email...

A) The only thing I have bought from adidas is from their 'classic' range.

B) What makes adidas think I'm in the target segment for this product anyway?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Email ... still a third class citizen

Seven - yes, 7 - working days to respond. And that was after spending nearly an hour to find an email address on the site [it became a challenge].

And check out the broken image.

Oh, and if you didn't know, The Google Digital Garage is the home of Google's digital marketing training/qualification.

Ho hum

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Bribery and corruption? II

More by way of 'paying for a review' ... and another example 'what's to review?' 

It's a water filter - it filtered the water

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bribery and corruption?

Give us feedback and we will pay you for it. 

I bought an adidas jacket last week and received this email today.

Is this an ethical way of collecting reviews?