Fat Yellow Men, Anyone?

The amount of money you spend on your website should correlate highly with its usability, right? It means, the more money you spend, the more brains are thinking for you so your website should be easy to use, right?


While I like the fat yellow men in the adverts, and think they’re cool even if Nic thinks they’re ugly as hell, Digi’s website is not user-friendly at all. The website is created to look cool but that’s about it. It ranks very low on usability because there’s just too many moving things happening at any one time!

As I’ve been a Digi user for the past 10 years, their service is much better than Maxis any day. Coverage is good especially in the hilly area where I live. I’ve no complaints about that.

But in terms of going online and navigating the Digi website, now that’s a different matter all together.

I presume it must have cost Digi a bunch of money to get some people to design the website. I know they want to appear hip and cool and be in the thick of today’s technology (hence you will see all those moving-zooming-flying bits which use helluva lot of Flash) but that should never be compromised with true usability. Maybe having Flash justifies the cost of building the website.

When you mouse-over the navigation menu (on the top), everything moves! The minute you move your mouse away, all the bits move again. Is that necessary? Why not have static navigation so that people can focus on what they want to find?

Oh and speaking about finding stuff on Digi’s website, it practically kills me. You won’t find what you’re looking for. I know I didn’t because I was stumped by so many things going on at the website. And I use websites regularly. I spend almost 8 hours a day online. And I cannot find the thing I am looking for!

And you know why this happens? Because the website is designed to look cool, not to serve the needs of its users. It’s an ego trip basically. The website forgets that the first reason for existence is to give users the right information, easily.

And you know what I did after I got frustrated when I couldn’t find the info I wanted? Simple. Go to Google, type in your query (start your query with a “how to”) and bingo – I got to a blog…yes, people, a blog which offered me the info I wanted about Digi. See the relevance of blogs? Blogs which are simple tools can do a better job offering me information than a “cool” website like Digi.

And when I first signed up to use my online account at their website, I didn’t know where to go. There’s no indication of online account for 016 users, until I found out that it’s at OCS (that’s Online Customer Service).

To use the OCS simply means you register an account online so everything can be done at your online account – be it viewing your itemised account, changing call plans, activating GPRS etc. Fine, I get the idea that it’s supposed to make my life easier BUT get this, how can I make my life easier if I don’t know how to get to OCS? Couldn’t it instead be “Your Online Account” or “Your Digi Account” rather than some fancy shmancy thing called OCS?

Plus, so much for Online Customer Service, you don’t get served at OCS; you self-service yourself! Ha! This is what’s called irrelevancy of term – when the words used do not connect with the user, the user won’t find that fancy thing you designed for them!

But to be fair, it’s not just Digi which has its online priorities all wrong. Corporate websites usually are full of bling-bling (“because you know, my CEO likes animation lah and without animation, the website will be so boring”) and information which is totally laughable. Real information is hidden or worse, never gets put online. Then people have to pick up the phone and call the company to find out more.

A usable website (a fave topic of Redbox Studio, by the way) is one that serves up the right information without the need for padding. Padding as in “we are committed to serving you” – of course you are committed to serving your customers, otherwise why are you in business? Tell us something we don’t know. Something honest, real, gutsy. Something that tells us, wow, we would really love to work with this company. Wow, we would really like to meet with these people – they seem to know what they’re talking about!

A usable website is full of commonsense – it pre-qualifies your prospects for you and allows you to automate most tasks and reduce the need for a clerk to answer calls (you may get lots of calls if people cannot find things they need on your website so getting lots of calls isn’t necessarily a good thing!). A usable website is your company profile, brochure, sales person, information centre all rolled into one.

Maybe Digi is the smarter choice but it sure isn’t being smart with its website!

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