Beautiful but unusable web design

Nespresso Coffee Maker

My delightful and generous husband gave me a fancy coffee maker for my birthday.  I like drinking a morning Italian caffè latte (a double espresso with non-fat milk) and don’t always have time to stop on my way to work to have one made. John thoughtfully researched and selected a Nespresso coffee maker. Each morning, we have been working through the sample coffees that came with the new machine. The Nespresso coffee does not have the excellent complex flavors of a Peet’s fresh cup but it is very good – at least as good as Starbuck’s. The machine is well designed, very quick, and relatively easy to use – although we are still trying to minimize the milk foam.

The problem arose when we used enough coffee capsules to want to place a reorder. This lead me to the web page and my current frustration. I believe that I have a candidate for the 15-year-old Web Pages That Suck competition. (If you want to know more about this, check out the books Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design (1998) and Son of Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design (2002) by Vincent Flanders.)

The Nespresso website is pretty, maybe even beautiful, but it is almost unusably indirect and pretentious. There are so many complex dead end web pages to get lost in that trying to place a simple product reorder is maddeningly frustrating. I currently have one half registered online account that is in conflict with my phone-in account – all of which has taken me two unreasonably long phone calls to set up. I really just wanted to order more coffee online, not have a phone conversation with customer service about whether the coloring of the Roma capsule was brown or maybe a greyish-black when compared with the Ristretto, the Cosi, or the Indriya. I have worked with too many excellent usability engineers to be faked out by this design-over-substance.  I am not quite ready to go back to ground coffee and filter papers, but I am close!

Starbucks and Medaglio d'Oro Coffee

Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson

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