web designers: please think of the user

Here are my examples of hateful web interface from today. I have been looking at getting an EVDO device to replace using my RAZR as a modem. This led me to poking around on the websites of both Sprint-Nextel and Verizon.

I spoke with a Sprint rep in a web chat. I was annoyed when it tried to be smart and resize my main (many-tabbed) window to fit a new window beside it, a la the horrible Help feature introduced in, I think, Microsoft Office XP. The sales guy was helpful, though, and I made a few notes and then loaded some pages to look at on Verizon’s web site.

Then, Gloria and I ran off to see the Halloween remake. It was okay.

When I got back, I had about a dozen JavaScript “alert” windows to click through. Why? Each tab at Verizon’s site had three: “You’re about to time out!” twice, then “You timed out!” Why the hell are you telling me this, Verizon? My session browsing your phone catalog timed out? So what?

The most obnoxious part is, as far as I could tell, it kept throwing up more of these, once those were cleared. Look, I just wanted to leave the tab there for future reference. It wasn’t some sort of online banking, it’s an online cellular phone catalog. This, combined with the fact that none of their USB EVDO devices listed OS X support, led me to write Verizon off. (I was also annoyed to see that they offer the same Sierra 595U that Nextel does, but they don’t list it as a Mac OS device. This suggests that they won’t support this configuration, so they can go screw.)

Sprint’s only major crime had been the stupid web chat thing, which only required me to resize my main window once… until I went through checkout.

First, they ask for my main and alternate phone numbers. I entered my main phone number and left the other blank. It forced me to redo the form: “If you only have one phone number, enter it twice.” What?!

Later, it wanted me to enter yet another phone number, to decide in what area to give me a new phone number. (I have no idea why my modem needs a number, but whatever.) Why didn’t it default to my current number? Who knows.

Hopefully, I will get my modem on Tuesday and find out that it’s ridiculously fast, like (I think) Crome’s was at YAPC. I will keep it, and start pondering the expense of moving our voice phones to Sprint. I will be pretty bummed out if, after all this, it does me no good.

Actually, what I’m really wondering is whether it will keep a good EVDO signal all the way from Bethlehem to Philadelphia on the highway.

Written on September 17, 2007
🏷 cellphone
📱 phone
🤤 stupid
🏷 web