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October 27, 2010 / fayafshar

How long before you give up on a website?

They say that most people spend less than 1 minute searching, browsing and clicking through a website before giving up and leaving.

Recently CityRail streamlined their long term ticket purchasing process, by selling tickets without getting any customer details, and then asking customers to go onto the CityRail website and register their details in case they lose their ticket. This sounded like a great idea to me initially, because i didn’t want to hold up other commuters waiting inline behind me while i filled in a long paper form (which is why they went electronic).

The problem is, the CityRail website makes this impossible to do. There is no way of figuring out where to register when you land on their homepage. None of the global navigation drop down menus include anything about registering. There is nothing in the footer either.CityRail NSW homepage

I even tried clicking on ‘My CityRail’, thinking there would be some logging in mechanism that might then let me register my ticket, but no luck.

My CityRail landing page

Even the FAQs list is of no help. My last hope was ‘About CityRail’ thinking there might be something useful in there, but no luck.

So its ironic that this huge revenue collecting organisation tells commuters to ‘remember to register online as we won’t be able to help you if you lose your ticket’ but effectively makes it impossible for commuters to register their tickets.

It almost sounds like they prefer not to honour refunds for lost tickets, judging by the design of the website. After all, it would be a win for CityRail if i lose my $1,630 ticket and then buy another one to replace it with!

Something as important as this should always be accessible either from ‘My CityRail’, a tool bar of some sort as well as the footer and homepage in general. It would be so easy to fix and reduce the frustration of end users, if some usability testing had been completed on the website. And i’m sure this fix would reduce the number of calls to their contact centre as well!

PS: after clicking on every link i could find on the site, i eventually clicked on ‘Tickets Online’ which took me to some sort of login page, which had a link to the registration page. It took 30 minutes to find, so perhaps the idea is that all commuters will have no choice but to click around top find the registration page… afterall the tickets cost a fair bit.

So to back to my original question, how long before you give up on a website?? I guess it depends on how badly you need to find a solution to your problem and how much time you have on your hands.



Leave a Comment
  1. Scott Dunstan / Oct 28 2010 9:25 am

    Great post Fay

  2. fay afshar / Oct 28 2010 9:40 am

    Thanks Scott 🙂

  3. Franki Chamaki / Oct 28 2010 12:25 pm

    Totally agree with you Fay and good post.

    Its very difficult to find that registration plus the online experience is seamlessly integrated with offline (ie train station). They need to be complete review of the customer experience pathways to purchasing tickets including creating persona for specific ‘types’ of train users and map all their need including pre-paid and registration. Its seems things are half baked.

    Love you work.

    • Franki Chamaki / Oct 28 2010 4:00 pm

      Updated, I meant to say “online experience is NOT seamlessly integrated”

      • fay afshar / Oct 28 2010 4:18 pm

        Thanks Franki, yes i totally agree

  4. Mike Feghali / Oct 28 2010 4:26 pm

    Thanks Fay, great post.

    Did “They” say that? 🙂

    • fay afshar / Oct 29 2010 9:49 am

      🙂 yes yes i know i should have qouted the exact source, but i honestly didn’t have a week to search for the Neilsen stats. I needed to publish the post while it was still fresh in my mind.
      But we all know how impatient users are online 😉

  5. koonkii / Jan 3 2011 10:11 pm

    Cool post Fay, I didn’t know you had a blog =P

    I thought the same thing when I first tried to register a ticket lol
    I always forget the password coz it made me use one that I don’t normally use
    So annoying! =\

    • fay afshar / Jan 3 2011 11:34 pm

      Ahh yes, the good old impossible password requests. Don’t get me started on websites/apps that ask for passwords with ridiculous rules. They don’t initially tell you what the rules are, make you think up a password, press Submit and then throw an ugly error saying “your password must be 5.5 characters long, with upper case and lower case use, as well as numbers, and while you’re at it, throw in some $#%^&@!”
      I should blog about this…. hehe

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