Are you making your visitors do the work?

As a regular user of business websites, I think that few things irritate me more than sites which force me to take actions and make me think, before they’ll reveal their content. The most obvious of these is, of course, the website which insists you tell it where you are in the world before you can continue. Now, I fully understand that companies may want to display different information to visitors, depending on where they’re from. But the point where that question should be asked is the point where the information starts to differ. Visitors accept that. Otherwise, they’re just suspicious, and a fair number will simply leave.

Worst of all is when you visit the website of some global business, to look up the details of the regional office. from the outset, you’re asked to select your country from a hard-to-use dropdown menu, but this information isn’t then used at all: when you visit the “contact us” page, you still get a list of every office in the world, and if you fill in a “contact us” form, the country doesn’t get pre-filled.

And it’s not as if the technology to detect where the visitor is located (and automatically serve up the right information) hasn’t been around for ten years, because it has. Can you find a more irritating home page than this? Wow, they need me to tell them where I am, but they’re going to give me the same stuff whether I’m in New Zealand or Siberia!

Discussion

  1. Bob Squirrell

    Thanks Chris for highlighting this point again. Ever tried to enter your phone number in Google+ Settings? The default country in the drop down menu is United States (who would have expected otherwise?) but surprisingly, the list does not include United Kingdom! See https://www.google.com/settings/plus

    If you have a way to inform the Google+ team, you’d be doing residents of well over 100 countries a great service!

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