Recently I was shopping around wireless carriers to see what they offered, and I was treated to by-design awful web site navigation that I’m surprised anyone has the patience to deal with.
For most wireless carriers, the question of "HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?" takes way too many steps just to get the answer.
I’ll first start off with the easiest of the lot: MetroPCS. Load the home page, one click to the plans page and ta-da, everything is there with the exception of how much a phone costs (easily found by clicking the big "PHONES") on top. One site load, one click, done deal, you have plan pricing info. That’s the way it should be.
This is what MetroPCS’ price chart looks like:
Simple, easy, very legible. That’s the best there is for easy site navigation to answer the "HOW MUCH?" question. Every other wireless carrier site, at least for US service, fails miserably. How miserably? I’ll tell you.
Go to verizon.com, and immediately you’re asked where you want to go:
This is good because most people want to go to Wireless and couldn’t care less about the other choices.
Tip: Did you know? The fast way to get to the Verizon Wireless web site is www.vzw.com?
Okay, so I’m on vzw.com, I see "Plans". Okay, good. Click that. Now I’m asked for location information:
I understand why the site needs this info, however bear in mind MetroPCS detects this automatically based on your IP if in the US.
At this point I have to choose Individual Plans:
Note: "Seize the signal" is an awful advertising tagline. My first thought when I read that is the exact opposite effect, as in "You want me to break the signal?" Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be reminiscent of carpe diem, but it just doesn’t work.
Now I’m finally at the point where I see actual plan prices:
To get to this point took more than double the effort needed to get the same information on MetroPCS’ site.
These guys have a better site initially because it’s just www.att.com and the link to cell phone plans is directly on the main site, however..
..the link for the plans is so small it’s almost unreadable:
Bear in mind my browser is set to standard font size. The fact this text is so small is just ridiculous. Sure, we skip a click by having it right on the ATT.com main site, but this is negated by the fact you almost can’t read it no matter how good your eyes are.
On the next page, AT&T makes up for this by having larger more legible text with prices listed extra-large style:
I appreciate that the lowest price is listed first and doesn’t require location information, BUT..
..if you click Shop Individual Plans:
We’re now back to the itty bitty text with a teeny tiny form where you have to punch in location information, and then you get a chart:
The chart continues to have small text, but it’s legible for the most part.
AT&T’s site bounces back and forth from text that’s readable to almost-unreadable and it’s annoying.
You’re treated to this on first load of sprint.com:
Huh? I don’t give a crap about your "updated site". I want to go directly to wireless and get a price list. Sigh.. fine.. whatever. Click on "I don’t have Sprint service (yet)."
To get to wireless plans, you have to magically know it’s under Shop:
..or scroll all the way to the bottom and click the teeny tiny almost-unreadable Wireless Plans link:
And can someone please tell me why most wireless carriers have ridiculously small text for really important menu items?
At this point you’re forced to punch in a ZIP code to see any prices:
After punching in your ZIP code, you’re then treated to scrolling hell that includes very annoying canary yellow boxes with even more hard-to-read small text:
Now if you thought you could tick "Individual" and get a smaller, more manageable list with less scrolling, oh how wrong you were. Scrollscrollscrollscrollscroll.. and.. um.. "Dell Inspiron 11z Mobile Broadband Plan?" What is that doing here under "Individual"? Shouldn’t that only be listed under "Mobile Broadband"? Yeah, I think it should.. thanks for the useless scrolling, Sprint.
How do you deal with bad wireless carrier web sites?
Punch up the zoom setting in your web browser, because you’ll most likely have to because of the ridiculously small text throughout.
Plan on doing a lot of clicking, ending up in the wrong area, then doing even more clicking. I suggest making a sandwich before going to a wireless carrier web site to ease the pain slightly.
For any part of the site where you see "Feedback":
…click it and complain. A lot.
Or don’t bother at all and just go to the physical wireless retail store of your choice. Chances are you’ll have much better luck compared to dealing with the web mess that’s considered navigation for most wireless carrier web sites.
On a final note, I don’t even use MetroPCS as my carrier, but I haven’t seen any carrier’s web site that’s as good as theirs. One site load, one click, you know how much the plans cost.
Why can’t other wireless carrier web sites be this way?