Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A pox on corporate web sites

Going to the theatre in Hammersmith tomorrow night so we're looking for a Wagamama where we can eat first. This ought to be simple. Searching on the interweb leads us to a corporate site which invites us to choose a continent and then, having narrowed down the world to manageable land masses, wonders whether we are interested in eating noodles in Leeds or London. Slowly and agonisingly – how much I hate drop-down menus – it's evident there isn't one anywhere near. When the web design company presented this no-doubt expensive website design to the Wagamama board, did anybody say "and why would any of our customers ever be interested in finding our restaurants by continent?" They could have added "and why do we have a pointless Flash animation featuring a jumbo jet?" and will anyone be persuaded by our slogan "positive eating and positive living", let alone interested in what's going on in our "noodle news" section? But they didn't. They just said "that's brilliant", signed the cheque and never looked at it again. I've looked at it four times because that's how many times it's crashed my browser.


  1. Oh, that's a bit harsh. I think corporate websites have a sort of charm or their own.

  2. If you use Google and type Wagamama Hammersmith in you get a list of Wagamamas and other places in Hammersmith. Or just type Wagamama London to Google and you can jump straight to the Wagamama UK locations list - not limited to London though.

    What a solutions-orientated guy I am.

    (I have no patience for elaborate, slow, inefficient and self indulgent websites either)

  3. Just get fish & chips.

  4. Why ANY corporation thinks potential customers want to sit through a tedious Flash animation before getting to the useful information is beyond me - I've often wondered how these are demo'd to the people picking up the tab - I'll bet on a local server somewhere, so that the suits can't see what a brain-numblingly slow experience it'll be for the average punter accessing it via the internet.

    See also corporate-wide applications in multi-national companies where it responds just fine if you're in the same country as the HQ, but with a 30-second lag time anywhere else. Grrrrrr!

  5. I hate Flash-driven websites. If there are any photographers out there I want to tell you that this art director gets very annoyed when he can't download images from your fancy web portfolio to show his editor because it's in Flash.

    I know there is a Wagamama on every corner in London but there are only two in the USA, both in Massachusetts. I just happen to be having lunch with the wife at the Harvard Square one today.

  6. In defence of web designers... yes there are some "web designers" who don't understand what users actually want out of a web site (too busy doing wonderful things in Flash) but there are also some clients who don't listen to the advice they're given.

    I've lost count of the number of times I've had to do something to a web site that is simply mind-numbingly stupid.

    It's become such a problem that if I'm 'forced' to do something against my better judgement, I ask them to put it in writing - so when the complaints roll in they can't blame the "stupid web designer" and demand I "fix things" for free.

    Don't get me wrong, I make extra money out of this arrangement when I get paid to put things right - but I'd much rather just do a great job the first time.

  7. You should be patronising a local, independent restaurant anyway. You bad man.

    Wagamama treat their staff badly and steal wait staff tips.

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