Archive for the ‘User Experience’ Category

Dear T-Mobile, thanks for wasting my time!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Dear T-Mobile,

In my life, I am blessed in many ways. I have a wonderful family; I am part of several great communities; I have a good job I love with people I respect and learn from every day; I have a roof over my head and enough food to eat.

However, like many other people, the thing that is in shortest supply in my life is time. And the time I can’t afford most of all, the time that drives me crazier than anything else in my life, is the time I am forced to waste dealing with other people’s incompetence. And this is why I am writing to you today to register two complaints, one general and one painfully specific.

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Another reminder of why I so “love” Paychex

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Because I am a boring old fuddy-duddy, I was spending the minutes leading up to the New Year trying to reconcile my 2013 medical flexible spending account (FSA), i.e., to match up the FSA transactions listed on the Paychex web site with those listed in my financial management software and confirm that there were no incorrect transactions in either location.

Alas, after several passes through the transactions, there were, in fact, several that I couldn’t reconcile, and even taking those into account, the reconciled balances were not matching up. However, rather than make yet another pass at trying to make them come out even, I decided to go watch the ball drop with my kids.

When I came back to my office, I had been logged out of the Paychex web site due to inactivity, and the transaction history page I’d been looking at was wiped clean. It wasn’t even available in my browser cache, because the Paychex web site is *shudder* entirely implemented as a Flash application. “No problem,” I said to myself. “I’ll just log back in and bring up the data again.”

Alas, when I logged in, I discovered that the web site had rolled over to my 2014 FSA, and none of the data from the prior year was accessible any longer on the site. (more…)

Have you enabled do-not-track?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

For a while now, the web browser vendors and major purveyors of targeted internet advertising have been working on a proposal for allowing users to prevent web sites from tracking their online activity and using it to “customize their web browsing experience,” a.k.a., displaying targeted advertisements which are, theoretically, tailored to the person viewing them.

Web tracking and targeted advertising is big business. In fact, some would say that without it, most of the free web sites you visit every day simply couldn’t exist. Facebook, HuffPo, Reddit, Gawker, etc. all pay the bills by selling advertising that is carefully targeted to individual users based on their past web browsing activity.

“Do Not Track” advocates say that users should have the right to preserve their privacy. Opponents, on the other hand, say that it improves everyone’s web experience by making it more likely that the content and ads they see will be interesting to them, and that (as noted above) without targeted advertising, many web sites simply could not afford to continue offering free content. Advocates respond by saying that whether someone’s web experience is targeted should be their choice, and that if targeted advertising becomes less profitable, web sites will be able to find other successful monetization strategies.

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Bad UX example of the day

Monday, February 13th, 2012

My employer uses Oracle Financials to manage its books.

The user experience of Oracle Financials is truly awful. We’re in the process of upgrading to a new version of the application, after using the old version for several years. One would think in the interim Oracle would have hired a decent UX designer and some UX developers, but I’m afraid not. Although a few things are slightly improved in the new version, other things are worse, and there has clearly been no overarching effort to overhaul the UX, which absolutely, positively, needs to be thrown away and redesigned from scratch.

Today’s example of bad UX, taken from the new version of Oracle Financials to which we’re in the process of upgrading, comes from the very first screen you encounter, i.e., the login screen:

How is this bad UX? Let me count the ways: (more…)