Usability Woes

Just a few minutes ago I logged into my online bank account to check my account and reconcile transactions. But before I did, I accidently requested the wrong page via the Commerce Bank "Access My Accounts" drop-down menu (as found on Commerce Bank's Home Page). I suggest you re-enact the same mistake that I just made.

  1. Go to the home page
  2. Find the "Access My Accounts" drop-down
  3. Select "——————————"
  4. The page will automatically redirect you to the chosen page

The page you've requested either does not exist or has moved.

What??? Really??? You mean to tell me that there's no "——————————" page? What if I need to check the balance on my Long Dash account?

C'mon, that's a little absurd isn't it? When that happened to me, I was a little upset. Of course I didn't mean to select that line, but it could happen to anyone visiting the web site. No one wants to get an error message when they really haven't made a mistake – on the web, that's kinda like getting a detention when it was another person talking. And while it's good to have customized error messages like that, there's a few things that they could do to make it better.

Read the message they post:

The page you've requested either does not exist or has moved.

We recently redesigned and added to our site. If you reached this error via a bookmarked page, or followed a link from another site, it is likely the page you requested has moved. If you typed the URL in directly, please check it for accuracy.

Visit our Home Page or Site Map to find what you need.
  1. Let's list the page that the user was trying to find... in this case, their error message would make them look like dummies.
  2. Tweak the body copy. The site has been redesigned for quite some time now and if there are still that many old bookmarked pages, why not look at your site logs and create some automatic redirects from the old page(s) to the new ones?
  3. Linking to the Home Page and Site Map is a nice idea here, except when you actually go to the Site Map page, you have to know what division of the bank you're looking for. Not really user-friendly, this needs to have nearly every page link on the site so users can read it all and make a selection – not guess again.
  4. Of course, this would almost be a non-issue if they chose to do the easiest fix – put a little snippet of Javascript on the menu selection that would void the page trying to redirect to the error page. If you can somehow manage, if you also try to navigate to the "Login to..." selection, you'll get the same error.

Overall, it's not a huge issue and it didn't prevent me from using the site. But, on the internet, you only have a few chances to really capture your audience and NOT upset them. It's small things like this that could upset someone enough to not want to use the site. Don't make users question their intelligence or site-using ability, make it so dumb and easy that someone who doesn't know how to program a VCR can check their online bank account.

+ original post date: August 14, 2005 12:28 PM
+ categories: Web Stuff


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Oh Seth...only you (no actually I would too) would take 20 minutes to gripe about a problem that only took 8 seconds out of your day. But if it wasnt for the folks like us pointing out the stupidity of the world, where would we all be you know. I know we'd be here ---- ---- ---- ----.

+ author: steve
+ posted: August 15, 2005 07:13 PM

I know. I know. But this is a part of my job. And I feel that I should enlighten others about simplistic usability as well. So... ahem, Steve... GOMN!

+ author: Seth
+ posted: August 15, 2005 07:57 PM

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