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I use the Web 9 to 10 hours a day, for work and for pleasure and I get highly irked by crap websites. As catharsis, this post starts an occasional series in which I document usability atrocities.
The first culprit is Waterstone’s books. I went to their website to buy Lois Lowery’s “Gathering Blue” for my daughter. I usually use Amazon for buying books, CDs and the like but this book was out of stock so I tried another retailer and Waterstones said “Availability : Usually despatched within 7-10 days”.
First usability hurdle: I had to register before I could purchase. Why any site owner would put any hurdle in the way of someone wanting to give their money to them us beyond me. Jared Spool has a brilliant post on how removing the pre-purchase registration requirement increased a site’s annual revenues by $300 Million. Any ecommerce developer or marketeer who has not read this short article should be fired.
The second usability annoyance (after the three-part registration process that wanted phone number and date of birth!) was the email from Waterstone’s telling me the super-duper advantages of being a registered user (after my enforced registration) with no unsubscribe link or unsubscription mechanism documented.
The final usability annoyance was the email from Waterstone’s thirty minutes later telling me that my book was out of stock. Why didn’t they tell me that before I made the purchase?
I hate to see book companies go to the wall, but Waterstones have a deathwish.