In my blogpost yesterday I discussed some of the issues with Ireland.com. Forget price, (and where it was built) for a moment lets just focus on usability, here is a summary of the analysis I’ve read over past day
Comments on my own blog
“Just tried using the search box to find Hotels, minimum three stars, in Republic of Ireland, Dublin, Ballsbridge — NO RESULTS MATCH YOUR SEARCH”
I took two scenarios (a) what if I wanted to book a hotel in Dublin – what choices are there (b) what is there to do in Dublin. In both cases I was amazed how bad the ui (and the data) was when compared to other tourism sites. When I did find the proper search, eventually, it returned hotels for nearly everywhere else but Dublin. Eventually I managed to produce a list of hotels in Dublin. There was no ability to refine search by cost, map, review (no way that was clear on the navigational route I ended up on). I couldn’t find how to search for “things to do” by location in an obvious manner. The navigation around the site is abominable.
We pretended to be a couple of potential visitors to Ireland and wanted to see what’s on. We were simply having a look to see what two and a half million buys you in the way of excellent British Web Design.
and ending with
My friend walks outside and plunges his head into a bucket of freezing water while I check the maximum, reasonable, allowable dosage of aspirin.
She gives this description that really sums up the difficulties
would like to mention , parenthetically, apropos of nothing, that there’s a place in North Sligo called Maugherow. It has so many roads, byroads, boreens, lanes, back alleys, driveways that look like roads but aren’t, tracks, trails, boulevards and cul de sacs you could drive around it for weeks and still never find the place where you started. It has been said that some people have gone for a drive around Maugherow, never to be seen or heard from again*.
Annie’s whole piece and the mind numbing problems she encountered and the time she spent on Ireland.com are well worth reading
Stephenie Francis has an expert UX take on it. She forensically evicerates The User Experience taking it apart , noting among other things ”I felt a bit stupid and no user should ever feel stupid”. Its how I felt myself at times while using the site.
There is a lot of excellent analysis in Stephanies piece. Including one point I should have picked up on, and will come back to more generally in another post
But working with an agency remotely does bring challenges with it for workflow, communication and ultimately cost so if you’re going to do it, it needs to be worthwhile.
Again the whole piece is worth reading.
Jamie Farrelly blogs on The Disappointing Launch of Ireland.com in his Internet Marketing Blog
The criticism ranges from the wryly observed
Tourism Ireland claim that there are over 1,700 images of Ireland on the site. Well, that’s great isn’t it? You might as well have 1,700 images of cats on the site because people will never be able to find what they’re looking for.
To the rather more serious issues
As most people that read posts on my site know, SEO is really important for any website. I took a look at the source code of this page and I was shocked that there was just one keyword used. This page isn’t even buried deep on the site, it was on the homepage. I can only imagine what some of the others pages that are near impossible to find are like.
By the way has anyone looked at it in other languages? I’d be interested to see how that piece of it stacks up.
* apologies to anyone from Maugherow. The analogy to navigation is too hard not to use.