I’ve just fought with www.thetrainline.com again. I hate that site. It makes it SO difficult to buy a ticket, but unfortunately it seems that all the websites selling UK train tickets are run using the same underlying, flawed, system. As an example, I can’t search for train times without logging in. Why? What’s the point of that barrier? And then I get a list of train times to my chosen destination and the prices for the return journey, and it says I might be able to get the tickets cheaper if I combine single tickets. Why can’t it work that out for me? In what universe would I think, “oh, I must buy this more expensive return ticket”? It’s like the government’s farcical idea of choice in public services: “I choose the crappy hospital”. And then, when I go to look at the single fares, it won’t let me go back to the return fares without starting my search all over again.
My favourite bit of bad design, though, is with the credit card check out. Most, if not all, credit cards put the expiry date as a month / year combination, in digits. For example: 07 / 04. TheTrainLine doesn’t want you to enter that. No, in a rare moment of trying to be useful, they have spelt out the month in text. So I have to think about which month is the 7th month and choose July. Not a big deal, but where’s the usability? Honestly, it drives me nuts.
Happily, just as I was getting really wound up, I was asked to fill in a (badly designed) user survey. I let rip. Ahhhhhhh.