web efficacy and self induced spam

Some time ago (last Christmas), I bought a Target gift certificate for my mother-in-law at their web site. During this transaction I was somewhat rushed and neglected to un-check the obligatory “Please don’t spam me” check box. Since then I have periodically been reminded of my oversight by Target’s incessant need to remind me about their “great deal!”.

I have tried many (>5) times to remove myself from this list. The only outcome form this seems to be a significant increase in my frustration with their web team.

Every time that I follow the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of their e-mail I am brought to a page that has several friendly checkboxes with names of several affiliated stores next to them. I click the checkbox like a good little robot and the click submit. The form then send me to a nice little page that relays their thanks in a message that reads, “thank you, you will be removed from the list…”

Now the problem is that the statement “will be” leads me to believe that this will happen in the foreseeable future. Seeing that my first attempt at removing my self from this self-induced spam list was back in February I have thusly lost all hope and resigned to labeling it as spam and sending it to my “Junk mail” folder.

Obviously this is mostly my fault that I am being subjected to this annoyance. But, please can we all agree taht if a company is going to go through the trouble of providing the obligatory “unsubscribe” links and accompanying web page that it should function as the user expects it to.

to take this discussion a little further, I was with a client at a local Starbucks. I say that it is local but it is actually 4 miles away from my home and there are 2 other locations in between. While were were meeting we were to go over some of the functionality (MovableType) of his web site. Since I don’t have a permanent account with T-Mobile I frequently sign up for the “day pass” options if I need to meet with a client and go over things like this.

Now this is where the irritation starts.

While we were casually talking about business stuff I was filling out the form to “refill” my account. things went like this….

# Filled out the form with Safari’s autofill
# Form was returned for several blatant errors that were all my fault
# Checked and corrected the form that the T-Mobile site returned me to
# Form was returned for various missing credit card information that I am certain was there
# Return to and repeat steps 3 several times
# Finally the form accepted the information after I manually RE-selected the items from the drop-down (form) menus that were in question.

For my client it was a breath of fresh air. I laughed hard when he said, “It’s good to see that even someone that does this stuff (web design) has a hard time with it sometimes.”

For him it was a relief, for me just another irritation of someone else’s poor design. It really pays off that I spend so much time with the Information architecture of the entire site and especially the forms that I build.