Monday, May 25, 2009

scrolling across at the BBC

2009 saw a major revamp of the BBC's website - and in my opinion it is a significant step backwards for a site I previously used as an exemplor of good practice [see also my comments 1, 2, 3 ]. This time it is a function that opens to the right of the existing page rather than to the left - causing the user to scroll across to see all of the content. Not good enough, BBC.
Footnote: August 2010 - the problem has been fixed.




Saturday, May 16, 2009

bait-and-switch is still around

About two years ago I feature several examples of what is known as 'bait-and-switch' [ see 1, 2, 3 ]. The idea is that you attract the unwary customer with some bait [say, a low priced product] and then 'switch' them to higher-priced goods when they respond to the bait. Whilst this is an acceptable form of promotion it becomes unethical - and in the UK, illegal - if the bait product does not exist for the customer to purchase.
Well, it's not gone away - as these two images show. The first is an email I received, the second is the web page I got when I clicked on the 'more details' link.





Thursday, May 7, 2009

nice integration

This email arrived today ...
I would give the idea full marks if not for the email not arriving until after five o'clock - which meant that I didn't read it until after the show aired. Yesterday would have been better.

Monday, May 4, 2009

get a better picture of what you're buying

Here's a clever application I came across on the andersonsofdurham.co.uk website. It's very simple, but allows you to look at different aspects of a product in greater detail - in this case, shoes. Nice.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

email : poor relation of communications … or just plain rude?

I've held off on writing this one to let the guilty party have time to come good - but time has been called on my patience.

I am subscribed to Auto Express, which arrives through my letterbox every week. Normally it is a good read - it keeps me up-to-date with all the new cars that I can't afford!

So, come the edition for the week commencing April 6th and I noticed a couple of errors.

The first was in a review for the Toyota IQ, bemoaning the fact that it has no luggage cover. Well, it does, but it is hidden under the boot floor.

The second was in an article about the UK's car tax system which failed to tell readers that two of the new tax brackets were being held at a lower rate for the next two years, with quite a hike in price after that. Pretty important I feel as the article advised folk to buy cars in those brackets for the 'lower' rate of tax.

So I sent two separate emails addressed to the relevant contacts listed at the front of the magazine.

In both I was polite, informal and in the cases of the second article expressed that I was going on information gathered from a number of sources which might be wrong and Auto Express might be right.

If you follow this blog you will know what is coming next.

Yep, no reply. Nothing. Not even an auto-response acknowledgement that they received my emails [I'm sure they did, my University's email system lets me know of any 'un-deliverable' mailings].

There have been two editions of the mag since I sent the emails - and there is no mention of any 'corrections' to the original stories.

Of course, their email system might have been down for a while or giving them problems - if this is the case a message in the mag apologising for any inconvenience would be nice.

So Auto Express,
as I have said on this blog before; do you ignore a ringing phone? No? So if you are going to list your email addresses I assume you are inviting communications via that medium - an assumption based on the fact you have an 'email of the week' on the 'readers comments' page - so reply to them. Not to do so is bad for business.

It is also rude.

Footnote, August 4 2009 - it seems poor, or no, response to emails is [still] a widespread problem, see Businesses still taking days to respond to website enquiries