Saturday, December 15, 2007

Interface from Hell

Regardless of technology if an interface is poorly designed, the usability of the technology is compromised. I do not care if it was built using Commodore Basic, Web 1.0, or Web 2.0, if it is poorly designed people are not going to use it or will get extremely frustrated. Case in point. I use online banking from by bank for the past year and have tolerated their stupid interface because of its convenience. However, this week's problems really broke the camel's back. I discovered with horror that my online monthly payment for a key payment was not sent. So I had to immediately call the company to issue a payment and apologize for not getting the payment to them on time. After fixing that problem, I started investigating why this payment did not go through. The account was active and set to monthly payments as I had set. Everything seem to be fine. There was plenty of funds in the checking account. It said click here to learn why the payment was not made. So I did and the results was blank, of course I could have guessed that. I tried to get an online chat with customer service, but of course their site was down. I finally contacted my personal banker and she got hold of a live person. The online banking person said that the monthly payments was turned off and had expired which I could not understand since I just set it a couple of months ago. She said that it expired and the information was available online. I was skeptical. So I search for over an hour and there was no information indicating that the payment had expired. There was no information on the status of the account at all. In fact, I discovered there was no interface even to change your payment from a monthly payment to a one time payment if I needed to. Also there is no interface that display all the key information in one location, you had to hunt through 4 levels of screens in order to find one piece of information and go back to the home page and go through another multi-level set of screens to get another piece of information. The only way I could find to change an account from monthly payment to a one-time payment was to delete the account and reenter the information. How stupid!!!

As a results, the bank now has one pissed off customer. A piece of software can be the most powerful application on the planet, but if it is going to be used by humans, companies must invest into human interface design. If not, it is just a bunch of 0s and 1s.

1 comment:

Chris Blatnick said...

Great points, Richard. You're right...there's nothing more frustrating than a poor user experience!

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