Digital Spit-Fire Interface Rage3 min read
I am an ordinary man. Most people call me mild. I take things in stride, enjoy life immensely, and am generally quite nice. I still listen to Hall & Oates for Pete’s sake. But when the simplest online interaction goes awry, a startling metamorphosis occurs. I become a monster.
Case in point…
I want to pay my mobile phone bill. But the carrier’s site is slow, molasses-in-January slow. Which password do I use? I need a security code. The site times out. I get a new code and try again. The site times out. The third try works, but the infernal site still won’t effing load. This should have taken seconds. Seconds! Did I mention I’m trying to give them my money?
This happens a lot.
Your chat bots regularly hurl me to different departments, each more clueless than the last. Forms throw inexplicable errors. You maliciously hide contact information on purpose and pretend you’ve done me a favor by breaking my browser’s back button. I seethe with anger.
I also have questions. Why are links the same color as text? How many of your promotional reviews are fake? Could you perhaps jam more crap on the screen? And where in Bill Bixby’s name is my freaking account number?
Everywhere I turn, I am assaulted by pop-ups, ads, interstitials, modals, sticky sign-ups, auto-play videos, prolific spam, endless content, broken functionality, inane jargon, and relentless robo-calls. Thank heaven and David Hasselhoff I was saved in the nick of time by your long-winded mission statement.
I search your Help section and find nothing. At least it seems like nothing since I have to scroll 80 meters past your “award-winning” design before seeing actual help content, which it turns out isn’t remotely helpful. Out of sheer desperation, I call your automated customer service line. Now I want to strike down upon thee with furious anger and great vengeance.
Don’t even get me started about your mission-critical app. It looks and behaves exactly like it was built by programmers for programmers. I know why. It was. And I swear upon Isidore of Seville, patron saint of all things internet, if I have to create one more unique PIN to finish this accursed FAFSA, I’m going to lose it.
Bad data, keyword stuffing, insipid stock photos, hieroglyphic captcha, useless search results, gratuitous anything, another ten dollars per month. Is this the promise of the internet? Abominations! Felgercarb! You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you!
We are fed up.
Tolerance for maddening digital products goes only so far. Remember, I’m ordinary. If I give in to fits of interface rage, chances are others do as well, including your customers. At some point, their frustration will out. They’ll flock to your competitors, if only to avoid bursting blood vessels. And I can’t go for that. No can do.
So what are you going to do about it?
Make better user experiences. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you’ll need to change minds, build new skills, and cultivate new processes. You’ll probably need to hire new folks. But hell’s bells, there’s no way all of that is harder to justify than perpetually alienating your customers.