Let’s talk about a horrible user interface. You know, the kind that makes you wonder if you’re just completely stupid, because you can’t find the “buy now” button? I recently tried to pay my water bill online, and the UI was awful, and my water bill is still unpaid!
First, we thought we could pay online because they let us opt for electronic statements and online bill pay. We can go online and view the statement, so I was looking for the “Pay a Bill” button, directly beneath the total. No such button. I found it odd, but then I thought that maybe I’d missed something on Account homepage. So, I’ll just click on the “Account” link, right? Wait… where’s the “Account” link? Ohhh, maybe “Home” and “Account” are the same thing, since I’m signed in to my account. I click the “Home” link, and it puts me on the homepage for the company, not my account. And, apparently, now there’s a link for the account page? Ok, fine, I’ll click that so that I can find the “Pay Bill” button. Upon clicking the “Account” link, I’m prompted to sign in again. But I never signed out! After signing in again, I see my bill, but STILL no place to actually pay it. I go back to the company homepage that has a button to “Pay Bills Online”. But the description above the button is a sales pitch for apartment managers on why they should buy the online bill pay product to make it easier for tenants to pay. This makes me think that we don’t actually have the ability to pay online, and they’re just showing electronic statements for… fun? CSR? Branding? At this point, I’m thoroughly confused, so I think I’ll just try one more time, because surely, I’m smarter than UI in 2011. After diligently searching for a few more minutes, I give up, and decide to sign out. But, there’s no “Sign Out” button. So, wait, how do I get out of my account? Now I’m just frustrated and annoyed. I can’t even sign out of the stinkin’ account, so I use the broken method of going to the company homepage.
In short, these people need a serious sit-down with a UI professional. The whole site was ridiculously confusing and unhelpful. If my apartment isn’t signed up for online bill pay, can you at least tell me that, so I don’t click all over your whole site trying to find a way to pay you? Can you put some descriptive buttons in a few key places? Don’t be this company, confusing and frustrating your customers, and losing a sale!