User experience hall of shame, part 3: ba.com


Top of the list of things that make me angry is persistent unnecessary stupidity. Clever people repeatedly doing things wrong. People doing things the hard way when the easy way is actually better.

The classic example for me is the National Rail timetable website that stops you enquiring about trains that have already departed. Somebody has written this code into the form. So now you can’t look for the train your wife is on so you can pick her up from the station. Why? I mean why not? Why would you expend the effort of writing that code to stop people doing something they want to do? It would have been easier to do it right, but some sub-genius has gone to the trouble of putting a barrier right where you want to go. Fool.

Anyway, today’s teeth-gnashing site is ba.com. For BA, updating your account details is a privilege not a right. All your account details are on one big form and if you enter something that fails their labyrinthine error checking it resets all the changes you have made in every field and lets you type it all in again (after you have tried to guess from the illiterate error message what it was you did wrong in the first place). Thank you for the honour of correcting me in my mistaken impression that I KNOW WHERE I LIVE.

In a spirit of humility I have tried to suggest a small change to the account details page:

“I just tried to amend my account details using your website. Twice.

The first time it told me my company name was invalid even though I had just told it this were PERSONAL details. Of course it also RESET all the other information I had changed SO I HAD TO TYPE IT ALL IN AGAIN! Great job, web people!

So I typed it all in again and clicked on Submit. This time it just said Invalid Request. No other information to help me.

And of course it had RESET all the other information I had typed in.

Have a guess whether I bothered typing it all in again.

It is in your interest for my details to be correct. So WHY DO YOU MAKE IT SO DIFFICULT?”

Perhaps a little of my inner frustration might have come across. BA, I apologise for my intemperance. You are probably right and I am probably wrong.

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2 Responses to “User experience hall of shame, part 3: ba.com”


  1. 1 Neil February 9, 2007 at 10:02

    Want to see a really, REALLY bad website? Then go to http://www.clarks.co.uk/ and try to find out where your nearest Clarks shoe store is.

    I gave up in the end, and bought my shoes in M&S. I wonder how many shareholders of Clarks know that the company website is actively sending business to their competitors?


  1. 1 The Park Paradigm » Why do they make it soooo hard…? Trackback on January 20, 2007 at 00:17

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