Friday, 4 December 2009

Do you speak broken website?

Every so often I get the urge to learn a foreign language. Normally when I spend some time in the company of someone who, despite having learned English as a second language, speaks better English than a lot of English people I know.

The last time this happened I came across a piece of software called Rosetta Stone - it claims to teach languages in an "intuitive" way, and has an endorsement from Eddie Izzard, which is quite impressive to me. However it costs a small fortune (~£400 for a full course) which put me off at the time.

Recently though it was bonus time at work (woohoo!) and I was reminded about Rosetta Stone. So I did a bit more research.. and found one or two reviews that talked about a concern of mine - that Rosetta Stone's "intuitive" method completely avoided teaching grammar, leaving you with a good stock set of phrases for various situations, but little ability to develop your knowledge beyond that point.

Another product seemed to deal with that - Tell Me More claims to be used by substantially more European governments, universities and businesses, and will happily tell you all about grammar if you ask. Iiiinteresting..

So tonight I decided it was time to just go for it - out came the debit card, onto Tell Me More's website goes the browser. After being redirected to the correct site for buying in the UK, I started entering my details. I tend to have things delivered to work (cos most of the time I'm there, not at home - clever eh?) so I had to enter a separate delivery address. The website invited me to check my details - it listed the correct addresses, but had me as "Miss" on the delivery. Oops! Must've filled that in wrong - "amend".. I set it to "Mr". Invited to check my details again - I'm still "Miss". Hmm. I tried to fix this a couple more times but the site was adamant. Whatever, it's only an address label. Next stage! I entered my payment details - and was sent back to step 1. Getting quite peeved now. Payment details again.. back to step 1. Right. RIGHT.

Off to the "contact us" page. I entered a polite message suggesting that I expect somewhat better service when they're asking me to part with £400, and hit the send button. Javascript errors galore! *sigh*

I went back to the front page. "Contact us". "Consumer". I'm presented with a slightly different contact form. This one has a field marked "Date:" followed by SIX boxes, marked "Day", "Month", "Year", "Day", "Month", "Year". You want two dates? Which two dates? I only have one birthdate, so it can't be that. If it's the date I got really fucked off with your website, that's today. The date I went to your competitor and gave them £400 - that'll be tomorrow.

(In case you were wondering - German)

No comments: