The Power of a Poorly Designed Website

I’m sure you have seen the MN Sure healthcare commercials that is encouraging people like you and me, to sign-up before March 31 to enroll in healthcare savings.

A reliable source had this on his large list to do since the first of the year. I share his experience.

As the solo owner and operator of his business, my dad, Keith knew it would make sense to sign-up at MNsure.org especially after owning his own business for over 15 years and not being able to find affordable insurance. My mother works nearly full-time at a locally owned store and isn’t offered benefits. My parents pay almost as much as I pay for rent on my townhome in the Twin Cities for their monthly health insurance. Seriously.

Keith logged-on to MNsure.org several times over the last month and read about the process before just jumping into the registration process.

He started at 8 AM yesterday and moved his business route back just an hour to get this done and off his list.

The website says it will take 15-20 minutes to finish.

The first problem he encountered was the M002 online service message.error message mn sure

After many tries and exiting out and restarting his 2-year-old PC computer he called the 1-800 number. The first question he got from the operator was what browser are you on?

He was on Internet Explorer 11. As many developers know IE11 is a standard practice,  The IE11 changes help, in part, prevent poorly written user-agent detection mechanisms from (incorrectly) identifying Internet Explorer as an earlier version. As a result, sites that rely on modern standards display as intended.

The MNsure.org operator told my dad that the website was compatible on Firefox or Chrome. He was told to google it then download one of them and that should be the fix or at least help the process.

So Keith downloaded the Chrome browser.

He got to start the form! A few pages in he was looking for the NEXT button for several minutes. Because the size of the website and the right aligned button was pushed so far to the right of the screen with no horizontal screen bar, it wasn’t visible. He’s on a standard 20 inch screen, with a 2-year old PC– there is no need for that problem. Luckily I was near by and I showed him the quick trick of zooming the page itself out to make it smaller to see the NEXT.  ON a PC (Control + Shift – ).
This trick luckily eliminated a call to the 1-800 that is open just 8 AM to 4:15 PM. Who doesn’t work Monday to Friday those hours? When would you talk to customer service?

I took a look at the form myself and the form size was OK on MAC Safari, but I was surprised on how poor the form’s UX was. The alignment of the form fields and titles are horrible. So are you asking me for my middle name or last name on the first line? Simple spacing change could help this.form on mn sure

After getting through most of the website, Keith saw the SAVE button and thought it was a great idea to SAVE just in case another error or something timed him out. He hit SAVE & EXIT and was moved out of the entire process back to the homepage. Shortly after hitting the button he realized he should be fine, he will just log-in again and go back to his drafts or find a resume. He has a log-in and password where his sign-in info should be. That is why they make you sign-up right?

Keith logged in to his MNSure.org account to find there are NO DRAFTS, RESUME or SAVED areas on the site to find anywhere.

So he called the 1-800 number. It is now 11 AM.

The operator said that Keith qualified for a specific NAVIGATOR because it sounds like he is having some troubles online. Keith was given a phone number to call his NAVIGATOR who will schedule a time to call you back and talk him through his site problem.

thepromotedeasyprocess

When Keith called his NAVIGATOR he/she quickly said they were booked up to March 31 and had no openings.

Keith quickly asked the NAVIGATOR if he could just explain his simple problem of finding his RESUME or SAVED DRAFTS. The NAVIGATOR seemed knowledgable and was nice but they had never heard of where this info was saved.

She advised him to start over.

This 20 minute process turned in over 4 hours and Keith had to get to his customers and start his work day.

MNSure.org would have to wait again.

Not only did I feel the pain of this process but there is no excuse for this to happen to anyone.

A website should:
– Always be programmed for a 15-year-old up to a 75-year-old to operate
– Be tested on all standard browsers (like IE) and eliminate issues with up to date browsers
– NEVER have a SAVE button if there is no way to access the information again
– Have experts, like NAVIGATORS, but please don’t send someone to them if they are fully booked up
– NEVER change the shape of a logo

GOOD LOGOScreen Shot 2014-03-21 at 3.33.44 PM

BAD LOGOScreen Shot 2014-03-21 at 3.33.28 PM

I did offer to finish or restart the form for Dad.

Thanks MNsure.org for making this hard for an educated and busy business owner to apply for your assistance. I know he’s not the only one.

Was this done on purpose? Let’s just hope not.

Remember it’s not always your computer– it could be the website.

Always curious,
Tricia jo

Tricia_BW_thinking_2

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2 thoughts on “The Power of a Poorly Designed Website

    • Thanks Steven. Looks like you have some legit quick fixes. Appreciate you sending and letting others know how to improve their experience. -TRICIA

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