I logged into the JB Hi-Fi online store this morning, to check their opening times. The screen that flashed before my eyes took my breath away. The background colour and the enormous fonts come leaping at you, with a startling effect. Offers, discounts, yada yada yada, buy from us, the screen screams. As for me, all I wanted was store timings for the store at Albert Street. Look as I might, I simply could not find it. Neither store locations nor store timings.
In a desperate final attempt, before giving up, I started to scour each line on my monitor. Most of them were elephant-sized fonts, so it was easy enough to figure there was nothing there. By sheer determination, I continued on to the fine print on the left side of the page. As I read each of the items on offer and nearly gave up, I noticed a tiny mention at the end of the long list of offers. It said "at convenient locations" and it had a link! That's it! Click on it and you have your store locations. Boy, they sure make that hard to find, don't they?
It takes you to a page where you now pick your state (fortunately it defaults to where you are at) and street. Click and there is all the information I wanted. Oh wait, all? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No Sunday? It's not open today? Damn! Again, out of frustration, I read again. Hang on, what's that there? Before Monday. There's "Today". It's open today. Woo hoo!!
|Today (22/8)||10:00am - 5:00pm|
|Monday (23/8)||9:00am - 7:00pm|
|Tuesday (24/8)||9:00am - 7:00pm|
|Wednesday (25/8)||9:00am - 7:00pm|
|Thursday (26/8)||9:00am - 7:00pm|
|Friday (27/8)||9:00am - 9:00pm|
|Saturday (28/8)||9:00am - 5:30pm|
As someone who has been part of some 'behind-the-scenes' for event management activities, computer screens and an avid online customer, I know that the presentation on the homepage of any website is critical to it's popularity. The sitemap is very important. Some customers may not be online-savvy, they might just be there to see how to get to a 'real store'. The website needs to tell them what they can get out of the store. The advertisements can flash on the sides or at the top of the page. Maybe even a pop-up. Adverts flashing all over the screen, on the front page is a big NO. It is a definite turn-off.
I can't help but wonder what the developer was thinking when he coded the screen that way. Maybe the store wanted that and his hands were tied. In that case, what was the web team of the company thinking? Each time I go on there, I say a little prayer "Oh dear God, help me! Save me from this barrage of colour and text! Help me find my stuff soon so I can get off quickly!"
Anybody listening? If you design a web page, please go easy on the eyes. Have mercy on your customers.