Tag Archives: tesco

Less is More And Always Will Be (Unless You’re In Marketing)

One of my favourite usability horror stories (from 2002)  was how Tesco, having created an easy-to-use, accessible, light-weight version of their shopping site called “Access”. Unfortunately Tesco’s big wigs were disappointed to discover  that everyone was using it.

Everyone was using it because it was quick to load, was ad-free, simple to use unlike their real online shop. Building  your shopping list was such an arse-ache of a task, that doing it quickly and simply in the accessible version was a breath of fresh air, you’d have been daft not to use the accessible version.

So what did Tesco do? They deliberately hid the accessible version, making it difficult to find.  They actually stopped people buying stuff they wanted so they could market stuff that customers probably didn’t want. Genius.

In a similar vein, I noticed that the TVGuide site now has an iPhone version, that doesn’t have horrible ads, is clearer to use and quicker. I wonder how long it is before the marketing dept. shuts it down?

TV Guide UK TV Listings – UK’s No 1 TV Guide for iPhone.


Closing down sites because customers like it and because they work is one well-worn strategy for doing great business online but there are others. My bank recently decided that repeatedly cocking up the login/password on their bank accounts was one sure-fire way of making sure people didn’t actually take any money out. This credit-crunch beating genius is what I’ve come to expect from UK corporates . What will they think of next? I can’t wait.

p.s That’s a handy tip at the bottom isn’t it? Just knowing that little gem made my futile efforts to log in to my account so much more enjoyable…

Modern Life Is Rubbish (Again)

Ironically, this post begins having been locked out of my Flickr account since Yahoo took it over, so I’ve not been dumping my phone photos like I used to. I’ve found that my phone camera is a sort of visual memory. I often look back at it, amazed at the sights I’ve seen, taken a picture of, and then completely forgotten I’ve been there.

Double ironically, I tried Twitxr for a while, but the forgotten password routine doesn’t work…

I was astonished to find a hand-dryer in Kennedy’s bar in York that actually worked! It fires a thin jet of air and you lift your hands up and down through it.

Note: Kennedy’s has crap beer btw. Why can’t pubs do good beer (for me) AND good wine (for Sophie)? Is it so impossible a combination to manage?

It’s amazing that a hand-drier that works has taken so long to be invented. I can’t imagine what the first demo of the very first hand-driers must have been like, with people nodding their heads and putting in orders for something that warmed your hands slightly but made enough noise to reassure the girls in accounts that you’d actually washed your hands. And then dried them on the arse of your trousers.
This joy at finding something that worked for once was tempered by the fact that a few minutes earlier I’d been subjected to one of my biggest usability hates of all time, modern taps.

Why oh why do people like taps that are so difficult to use and need de-coding and experimenting with before you spray a huge jet of water all over your groin? Something the lovely hand-drier above won’t be able to sort out unless you take your trousers off and lift them up and down through the fine jets of air.

So, then on to the station, where there used to be an independent coffee shop (that did delicious toasted bacon rolls…and not in a bloody microwave) which has now been replaced with a Costa Coffee (the one on the bridge with the big clock).

They’ve tarted the place up a bit, replaced bacon rolls with sellaphane and cardboarded breakfast solutions but worst of all, off-center saucers that make a cup almost uncarryable! I await the injury claim court cases eagerly.

And finally… Every little helps…. You know that the saying, “Every little helps…” comes from a victorian cartoon in which an old lady was taking a leak into the sea, uttering the now immortal Hoskins/Wogan words.

And knowing that somehow makes everything make some sort of ironic sense.

p.s There is also another footnote about the WYSIWYG editor in WordPress, which seems to have got to the pinnacle of Mount Good Enough To Use But Bad Enough To Drive You Bloody Loopy….