Thursday, November 10, 2005 Customer Hostile

I am a sometimes coin geek. I recently went to the Royal Canadian Mint website because I wanted to order a roll of the new quarter that honours veterans. The site is 100% flash. The print is relatively tiny. Everything happens inside a little un-resizable box. Animated transitions make everything pointlessly slower. Sometimes clicking a link makes the page go blank, then briefly display a progress meter, then go blank again, and finally transition into the destination page. In short, the site flagrantly and joylessly revels in each of the Top 10 Web Design Mistakes, and probably coins (yesh!) a few more. I can assure you that I experienced some definite psychophysiological activity. I'm no expert, but it may have been sympathetic excitation of the sort associated with the fight-or-flight reaction, as measured in this study on Human Computer Interaction. Maybe the Royal Canadian Mint website is actually a longitudinal art project. But don't worry: despite the horrendous user experience, I managed to order the coins.