Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Importance Of Being Consistent.

The national rail company changed their website and it led me to send a couple of intemperate emails to their senior executives because the new journey planner left me baffled. I tweeted about it and some people seemed to agree with me.

Now, admittedly there were seeemingly issues with Firefox which meant that the crucial calender icon did not appear, but there were also loading time and loading order issues for others who could see it.

My main gripe was, as the screengrab above shows, that the user is faced with a variety of visual cues (drop-down menus, and empty boxes)which meant for me that I had no idea what protocol to use when I came to inputting a date. There was no drop-down menu, there was no calender icon and the box being filled with "Today" gave no clue as to what date format to enter.

In this era, it's fine (and perhaps obligatory) to speak in multiple voices to your heterogeneous audience, but that doesn't allow you to do so within the same instruction/message. At best, that leads to confusion. At worst, you commit the grievous sin of making your prospects feel stupid and helpless when you should be making them feel smart and empowered.


Blogger Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Similarly I was looking for details of delays/cancellations etc and went through those links only to be told to use the journey planner for it!

6:11 PM, December 18, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

I had the chief exec emailing me that all date options had a calender attached even though I'd already told him that mine didn't. To be fair, I was later contacted by the head of internet services and was able to vent at him too. Chnages may be forthcoming.

5:47 AM, December 19, 2009  
Blogger CJ Hurst said...

Date choosers - tricky to implement, woeful to use.

Well done for getting a response out of the top brass.

6:55 AM, December 19, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

The trick Chris is to send an email starting with the words "which moron..." I think ad types call that getting attention.

10:49 AM, December 19, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

But being a wordsmith you'd know that.

10:50 AM, December 19, 2009  
Blogger CJ Hurst said...

A kind but unexpected description.

Is there more fun to be had as a consumer than sending a letter of wrathful complaint?

2:18 AM, December 20, 2009  

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