User experience: the importance of the little things

Given my past experience of Yahoo’s compatibility with Mac I didn’t really expect to be able to use Safari to listen to the LAUNCHcast Radio link my brother sent me; but I did think they might correctly identify the browser I was using rather than being presented with this error:

Sorry, we are unable to support Netscape 6.0+ at this time.

So I thought I’d try it in Firefox seeing as that seems to be more widely supported but no, up pops the exact same error message.

Then just out of curiosity, I fired up the ancient and deservedly unloved MS Explorer. Unsurprisingly, no LAUNCHcast radio, but a different error message, and this time one that at least recognises that I am using a Mac:

Sorry, OS 8.5 or higher (not OS X), Netscape 4.5 (not 6.0+), and Windows Media Player 7.0+ required

It’s this sort of lazy disregard for user experience that annoys me far more than the fact that it is impossible for me use one of Yahoo’s services. 

They know I’m using a Mac. They know I’m running OSX. Why don’t they tell me that this service is not available to OSX users the first time I try to access it?

Something so simple as an error message with the correct information in it would avoid putting the user through the hope/disappointment cycle that comes from a message that implies that while this browser doesn’t work maybe another one will. A cycle that is repeated with each browser that is tried.

Yahoo may not care about the time the user wastes seeing if they can actually access the content, but they should care about subjecting the user to easily avoidable repeated annoyances because that’s the type of experience that sticks with you, that helps form your long-term opinion of a company, and not in a positive way…


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