Making a customised version of your website, tailored specifically for mobile phones is a challenge. This morning I had the misfortune to come across one of the worst I’ve seen — and from people who certainly have the resources to be doing a far better job. Accor Hotels.
How to do it wrong
I wanted a simple bit of information — the telephone number for the Lombok Novotel — so I picked up my iPhone (as I planned to call them from it) and Googled “novotel lombok“.
Bingo! Pretty much just what I was looking for. So I clicked on the number 1 result for “Lombok Novotel“. The result however, wasn’t quite what I expected. After being redirected through a couple of domains, I ended up at an advert for an iPhone app.
The app sounds kind of interesting, but all I wanted was the phone number, so I opted for “No”… thinking I’d get the hotel page for the Novotel on Lombok. But no, instead I got a hotel promotion page for two hotels, one in Berlin and one in Prague.
As neither Berlin nor Prague are all that close to Lombok in Indonesia this was … unexpected. It seems that the app had totally forgotten what I arrived looking for and I was going to have to start from scratch. So I scrolled down a little and got the search prompt. Given it was a search, I just typed in Lombok.
Fool that I am, I didn’t notice the asterisk next to the “Check-in” field (afterall I didn’t want to check-in, I just wanted a phone number). Likewise I didn’t bother with the other fields. You know where this is going right?
Yup. I had to enter a date of arrival (even though I didn’t have one). So I did.
Finally! This is the hotel whose number I’m looking for. Of course the telephone number isn’t displayed, so I risked a click on the hotel’s name.
So just seven screens from the initial Google page I was able to find the telephone number of the Novotel Hotel on Lombok, which, should you care to know, is (+62) 370 653 333.
To add to the misery, there doesn’t appear to be a way to override the Accor website’s mobile detection, so even though I really wanted to, there was no way for me to access the “traditional” website on my phone.
This is extremely poor usability to round out what was a thoroughly crappy user experience. Accor could and most definitely should be doing far better.
How to do it right
In comparison, if I clicked on the Google page on my laptop I was taken to this page.
And there you go, (a bit blurry I know) the phone number for the Novotel on Lombok. One Click! Fancy that! Google really does work wonders sometimes!