Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's The Software, Not You

Great, classic David Pogue...

It’s the Software, Not You
It reminded me suddenly of the touchscreen kiosks at Delta. Now, I actually like Delta quite a lot, and think they’re doing a lot of things right lately. But the kiosks–oh, man.

You come up, you swipe your credit card. That alone ought to tell the kiosk who you are, and it should therefore know what flight you’re checking in for.

But no, it plays dumb. It asks you to key in your destination. So you type in “SAN” for San Francisco. And it asks you: San Francisco, San Diego, or San Juan? Oh, I don’t know–how about THE ONE YOU HAVE A RESERVATION ON!?

(Yes, yes, I know–you might have more than one reservation on Delta. But come on. Let’s say you have flights today at 3 pm, tomorrow at 5 pm, and next Friday at 8 pm. As you swipe your credit card, today, at 1:30 pm, does it really think you’re checking in for anything but the first one?)

But O.K. You tap San Francisco. And now–I kid you not–it wants to know what time of day the flight departs!

Are you kidding me? It doesn’t know the airline’s own flight time? Come on–it already knows what flight I’m on, so what’s the point of this exercise? For God’s sake, just check me in!

Whenever I encounter badly designed software like this, I stand there, slack-jawed, mind boggling, and wonder what on earth the designers were *thinking.*


SpaceMonkeyMojo said...

I have the same issues with phone trees - ESPECIALLY AT&T - where you have to enter your account # manually on the phone and then two other people ask for it when they get you.


Jake of All Trades said...

On one hand I understand that screenpop software is fallible and thus there will be times that the person who answers the phone doesn't know the info you previously entered, but for some reason at AT&T this seems to be EVERY single time.

At iNetNow whenever the screenpop server went down and/or stopped popping we'd turn off the front end IVR and just have a live person answer to save the customer from this hassle (as well as saving the agent the hassle of getting an earful and needing to explain it...)

SpaceMonkeyMojo said...

A great practical solution. Its not being asked in person that bugs me, its that I'm asked more than once.