Thursday, 19 January 2012

TAM - multinational website - why so hard?

I always try my hardest to make my websites simple, beautiful and most important usable. I make mistakes in my designs occasionally obvious ones. Luckily working in a team tends to stop these mistakes making it into production, and my pride makes me test to a pretty good standard to avoid any howlers.

I know how easy it is to make mistakes and as such I feel I can be reasonably forgiving of the random websites I visit. Time constraints can often lead to poor code and design. However, when I visit a large multinational company that has a really poor website then I can really start to get angry, multinations should be employing highly competent staff on high wages, I have to assume that people are still happy to pay peanuts and cope with the results rather than try to improve the web further. Another type of site I often have problems with is government websites where I often have to turn off javascript or go through the code to find out where the browser should be going to and not where it is taking me, but that is another story...

I currently consider TAM airlines to have the worst website ever. Now it is perhaps not technically the worst website ever made, but its design led me to take 4 hours to book 2 tickets on a direct flight from Campo Grande to Sao Paulo, something that realistically should take 15 minutes max.

Sadly I had to cancel the trip, which is only possible from the website, this again took me 2 hours and as an aside is only possible to do in Portuguese.

Booking a ticket should be a simple task, but poor form validation, lack of details retention in forms and a very poor information structure lead me to take a huge time to complete the task, leaving me utterly frustrated even after I had finished my task.

Cancelling the ticket again took a huge amount of time to complete and according to the person on the phone has to be done on the website. I did not receive any confirmation email and so phoned TAM to confirm that this had been processed successfully.

I wrote a pdf on some of the TAM website problems, but after 5 pages I decided that it would take far too long to go through even 10% of the issues with the website so I cut it short. I have included the link in case you are interested in some vaguely more detailed issues of their site (perhaps some of them are petty but seriously 6 hours spent on a site unnecessary has made me petty :) ).

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