July 18th, 2008
The bad user experience that turned a curious click turns into a maniacal rant…
I just have to post something about this insanely stupid campaign created by Futureshop and Intel. I help lots of people decide on computer purchases because I am the neighborhood ‘computer guy’. I think I have an idea what people want to know and what just confuses them. This so-called ‘computer buying guide’ on the Futureshop website is useless, confusing and, worst of all, is just a thinly veiled Intel advertisement. If I wasn’t an Apple user, I’d be inclined to swear off Intel just because of the smarminess and stupidity of this ad. Unfortunately, Apple is married to Intel now I can only complain about the spouse’s annoying behaviour.
It all begins with an innocent click…
I’m not a tech-fearing computer purchaser who needs help deciding on what to buy. If I were, I can see how it would be appealing to click here. Instead I’m just curious about what results they’ll give. Here’s my thought process:
- This seems a great idea. I wonder what kind of results it will give me. Will is suggest specific products like Apple or HP?
- If they do this right, it would a handy little tool.
Now let’s walk through the process and see what the results are…
The rest of the steps…
Let’s just give all the rest of the steps and let them speak for themselves…
The results: So here we are at the results page (see below). All I see is an advertisement for Intel processor technology. This text is generic, so it doesn’t matter what you punch in to the search, you’ll get something pretty much just like this with maybe the name of the processor changed. There doesn’t even appear to be a list of recommended products!!!
To be fair, there is a list of recommended products
At first sight, there doesn’t appear to be a list of recommendations anywhere. This is just bad user interface design, because it’s there, it’s just hiding down the page. First you have to read the ad copy telling you about wonderful Intel processors, then when you get to the bottom of reading that you will see the list… sort of.
Whoever designed this thing makes the disastrously wrong assumption that people are going to read past this text: “Based on your interest in certain categories, the Intel® Centrino® Duo is the ideal processor choice to meet your needs.” Sorry, this doesn’t have the scent of useful information, it has the stench of advertising. Most people aren’t going to get far in reading this. Personally, I just closed the sucker down right away, rather disappointed that I didn’t get any concrete results.
Then I took another look because I wanted to write a blog rant about it, and I discovered the concrete results hiding in there.
We can give the designers the benefit of the doubt once more and assume that they are designing this for people who really are hungry for help in picking a computer to buy, so maybe they will read all of this text. At the bottom of the text they will be rewarded with a list of recommendations. I don’t think the designers could have done a better job at hiding the list in plain sight.
Where are the photos?? People expect to see photos of the products in a listing of products. I had to look carefully to recognize this as a list of products. Hidden in plain sight indeed! How are visitors going to recognize it’s a list of products in the first place, let alone compare and remember without pictures? Sorry, but “Dell Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 1.83GHz Laptop” doesn’t draw my eye, is not memorable and makes it very hard for me to compare items.
What would I change?
First off, the list of results has to come first and have pictures of the product. Secondly, if you want to talk about the wonders of Intel Centrino technology, put something on the side with a title that says “Why these recommendations?” and then give reasons. For example, you need a dual core processor and at least 2GB because you want to do multimedia presentations. Oh, and finally, where are the Apple products in the results list? Get real and at least show people all the options that meet their needs and price range. Are they worried that with Apple products in the ring, it’s no longer a fair game?
In summary, I think this is a great example of how to confuse and annoy people. I, at least, was annoyed enough to blog about it… Well done!