Thursday, June 26, 2008

They wouldn't lock the doors of their shops ...

... so why lock me out of their online store? I would rate this practice one of the worst in web design.

American discount store Marshalls - or more specifically, their web site developers - have decided that they cannot possibly display or sell their products without the use of the Adobe Flash player 9. What rubbish. Just use the last version that more [potential] customers might have. Or even the version before that. Or just don't use Flash.

I have said this repeatedly elsewhere - but I do not have 'administrator' access at work, so must call in tech support to download new software [so I can go shopping !?].

At home I can download stuff - but if it was my wife rattling at the virtual doors of Marshall's online store, she would not know how to do so.

County-less in Sunderland

I was filling in an online application form and was required to indicate which county I lived in. So I clicked on the drop down menu and got this ...

For those of you that aren't from these parts, Sunderland is in the county of Tyne and Wear - which isn't listed. In itself this would be bad practice - but sadly, the form was on the web site of the UK's post office. Oops.

Bonjour, hallo, hola, ciao ... I'm English

Airlines again, and it's Brussels Airlines again. Do I need to say anything about this email?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Duke of URLs?

I was just checking up on what some of my employer's competitors were up to, and clicked on this ad from the University of Liverpool:
Clicking on the link gave me this landing page:Which is not a good example of a landing page [but that's another subject] - so I checked the URL to see if there had been a mix-up, and this is the URL of that landing page:

http://www.liverpoolonlinedegrees.co.uk/2/prequal2.jsp?&CCID=8554203049143&QTR=ZZf20050707102342Za8554Zg171Zw0Zm0Zc20
3049143Zs3086ZZ&CLK=472080623020320922&ac=003&ai=96FFA7F4C34F96456D2BDD3DCDA37C44438920C9&ad=727690405&sp=&fb
=masters%20degree%20online&redirected=Index&CLK=472080623020320922&CCID=8554203049143&QTR=ZZf200507071023
42Za8554Zg171Zw0Zm0Zc203049143Zs3086ZZ&ZN=ref&ZV=ZZf20050707102342Za8554Zg171Zw0Zm0Zc203049143Zs3086ZZ&KY_T=

Yep - that's an incedible 439 characters. Seems a tad excessive to me.

Not only that, but I didn't want to fill in the form to continue [hello web designers at Liverpool Uni, ever heard of the sales funnel and/or persuasive architecture?] so I deleted everything in the URL with the exception of http://www.liverpoolonlinedegrees.co.uk and pressed 'enter' and was presented with the same page, only with a [mercifully] shorter URL of:

http://www.liverpoolonlinedegrees.co.uk/2/prequal2.jsp;jsessionid=Uy0x5NBHrl2E9EIQOuVLfQ**.app2-all2?redirected=Index&
CLK=0&CCID=&QTR=&ZN=&ZV=&KY_T=

So it would seem that the 'questionnaire' page is actually the 'home' page of Liverpool University's online degree web site. Hmmmmm, nice.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

not very professional domain name practice

On the radio this morning I heard an ad for Fiat vans. At its end the voice over advised listeners to go to 'fiatprofessional.co.uk'. OK so far, special mini-site for an ad, that's good. My problem is this:

When I was at school there were certain words that the teachers used in spelling tests because they were tricky. Things like; achieved, successful and ... professional. With this word it is an issue of how many Fs and Ss there are. Naturally, being the smart chap that I am, I can spell 'professional' [thank you, grammar school education], so I typed in the domain and got this page:
However, professional is a tricky word - so I tried the obvious misspellings, and this is what turned up:
So here's the thing: Considering how much this entire ad campaign must have cost, registering these three would have been a drop in the ocean [less than 50 GB pounds]. They could all have been redirected to the 'proper' site so that anyone who did misspell the word found themselves on the right page. That is reason one for registering those domains. Reason two is to stop any nefarious folk registering them and putting other sites on those names - sites that might not be complimentary to the brand.

On the plus side, fiatprofessional.com takes you to a 'global' page where you can select 'your' country [but, oh yes, misspellings on the .com haven't been registered either].

I've got more advice on registering the right domain name on my web site.