An utterly depressing, but ultimately enlightening example of what not to do when designing an online experience
Badly designed software and bad user experience can make the user feel that they are in a Kafkaesque nightmare. Here’s an example that will make your eyes water.
Often when you encounter a bad user experience that is truly awful, so achingly depressing, it sucks the life force from you. You end up dead-eyed and quite unresponsive to loved ones’ concerns.
Badly designed products can do this, especially when it gets in the way of an essential task, and turns into a Kafkaesque nightmare.
It was with some amazement that I came across this example recently after doing some research into the murky online world of job application pages.
The company in this example uses third party software to manage their candidate applications through the careers page.
This software is not made by a small company, but by a well-known enterprise company. In my experience, ‘Enterprise’ says a lot about quality and lack thereof.
This is a supreme example of what not to do when creating a product, service or user experience.
It inelegantly sells itself in its own horrific fashion.
I am not interested in shaming other designers and developers, I have never done so, and do not know who was personally involved in this. As designers, we’ve all had our share of pushing out subpar design, because of time pressures, lack of resources or sheer boredom. Even the ones who love to promise 110% on every project, have messed up. Yes, I know who you are. And some disclosure, I design software in this sphere.
Let’s begin our user ‘journey’
I want to apply for a job at this company. I view their site, who they are and what they do. Interest piqued.
I then view their careers page. Everything looks good. A bright, attractive website. Nice images. I’m feeling motivated to apply for a new job with these fellows.
I navigate to the careers page. Alright a bit hard to read, but I can understand it. I click on a job that interests me.
I read over the job spec. Many responsibilities, but looks promising. I think I’ll apply.
Wait a minute. Is this a different website? I need to create an account?
I’m applying for a job, not joining a dating agency. Not liking this, but I’ll go with it for now.
Do my eyes deceive me? What is a bloody Captcha doing here? Empathy is definitely lacking here.
Oh no, is my browser not showing this page correctly? Does that mean there is a better version?
At least I only see four steps. At last, it’s giving me some feedback. Next…
Are they serious? A user ID? I plough on.
Christ on a bicycle! Three required security questions? Is this a test of my endurance or some twisted sense of humour? I plough on.
At last some light. I can now preview all the useless information I have filled in.
So what was I doing? I’m really hungry. I’ll just get a cookie.
Congratulations! So do I have the job? It’s more like “congratulations on wading through the questions”.
Wait, do I have to log in? LOG IN????
Ah, that lovely soothing login screen again. I love grass and it makes me feel as docile as a cow.
I’ve given so much. I must log in.
There it is. The job spec again. Didn’t I just apply for this many moons ago? What have I been doing for the last five minutes and thirty-three seconds?
Let’s apply for the sheer hell of it. What could possibly go wrong?
I’m panicking now, like a small child being lowered into a swaying boat.
They must be joking? Must I actually fill out this form?
Inputs to the left of me, inputs to the right. I can’t comprehend what is going on here. I might just give up. I’m sure they’re nice people and it’s a great company, but I need to make my dinner.
I must be a masochist. I fill out my details through sheer rage.
Oh, do I have to fill out ‘Notice of rights’ inputs?
Have I missed anything? Not sure. It’s hard to focus in on anything as this page is soooo full of stuff.
I click submit. Ummm. Errors?
Oh stupid me, I forgot to upload my CV. I didn’t see it first time round.
Wait, where is the submit button gone? Honestly, I saw it there a minute or two ago. Am I going mad? Hallucinating?
The button still hasn’t deigned to greet me.
Oh, fuck it!
Make dinner and realise how much I like my job.