Friday, October 10, 2008

IT and oldies

Victor Keegan, who writes for the Guardian has had the same problems with the registration process of the Finerday web site. If anybody from Finerday is reading this blog please, please drop this over-complicated procedure. It looks clever but it is not suitable for the target market. Dick Stroud


Howard Bashford said...

This is Howard from the Finerday Team. Thank you for your great comments. For the record, Finerday is just a quite beta launch at the moment, in order to run final tests. Most of Release Two and a revamped landing page will go live shortly.

Some interesting real life experiences on the new GrIDsure password patterns include:

1) Many of our older users have never used "traditional" passwords, so this is not "different" to them.

2) It is simple - only four spaces. Our users find this very easy to remember, and as importantly, four digits are easy to type in, if you are not used to using a keyboard. Far easier that an eight or ten character password.

3) None of our users have found this difficult.

4) Many of our users are not just older users. In the family unit, we have found the younger grandchildren (8 to 12 years old) are appearing to also be using Finerday to invite their friends. Security is paramount.

5) Traditional / experienced users, like you and I, often tend to already use several sites which already require passwords. Feedback so far has shown that we either use the same password everywhere (which is dangerous) or try to remember multiple passwords (which is difficult). Because GrIDsure is so different and simple (only four spaces) people tend to remember it easily - several experienced users have used the word "refreshing".

I hope these findings are as interesting to you as they were to us. We are looking forward to going fully live shortly.

Lilla Harris said...

This is Lilla from the Finerday Team. I have worked in healthcare and care homes for twenty years and am responsible for helping to develop

Ironincally we seem to have raised a few initial eyebrows of experienced users with regards to using password patterns. However in reality I have not found any problems with older users. I was talking to a 82 year old user this week and she simply said that anyone of her generation has probably knitted and assured me that knitting patterns were far more complicated.

We also have many old users in our pilot care homes who have used Finerday with a traditional password format and with the new password pattern. Many have some difficulty with dexterity in her hands or fingers and find entering four characters much easier.

We did consider, and trial, giving the choice between using traditional passwords and the password pattern, but in practice this choice tended to complicate the user experience.

We try to listen to all comments and learn everyday from our older membership. In a way I have to smile, they seem to be finding the use of a "new" four digit password pattern simpler and more acceptable than experienced users. Good for them!

Dick Stroud said...

Thanks to the guys from Finerday for their comments. I would be the first to admit that my mindset, as somebody who spends more time than is healthy glued to my PC, conditions my thinking about how technology is used.
I will be writing about the grid password process in a new blog posting.

A key (perhaps the only) measure of success of any web activity is the impact it has on the visitor traffic. Hopefully Finerday is monitoring the amount of web traffic that is getting to the password page and then abandoning.

Since the web visitor will, by this stage, taken the time to complete their personal details, the abandonment rate should be very small. Hopefully in the 5-10% range.

When Finderday is live and is achieving a decent level of traffic, it would be interesting to hear from them about their registration abandonment rate.

It is a fascinating subject.

Chris said...

This site just never seems to be working. I've seen various bits & pieces posted around the net about it but it seems to me that it's a triumph of style over substance. Looks nice (iPhone, anyone?) but just simply doesn't work. Or didn't when I was using it when it was briefly up & running late last year. Brief flashes of the site being up & running in the past few months (looks like ANOTHER launch is upon us sometime soon then...) seem to indicate that the whole gridsure pattern thing is being abandoned in favour of a standard password system... How ironic, when reading the comments from the finerday team above!

It seems to me that this is one of those "seemed like a good idea over a coffee" type ideas that they just can't get working right. Probably the age old problem of trying to develop it all on a shoestring and using endless different development companies, promising bits of equity left, right & centre! I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it re-emerge in the next few months after yet another "rewrite".

My major problem with the site, when it was running, was a complete and utter lack of thought of the usability. It seems that the (fairly obviously technically-deficient) owners have confused "make the user click on 14 links where 3 would do" with "usability". Maybe a dual-pronged approach with a slicker interface for the tech-savvy members of the family would help?

(What's the betting that the website owners will reappear and claim that they have just a thing in development...? ;-))

Also, I must say that I am suspicious of what seems like a lot of "vapourware" that I read about this site. To name but one, the whole "translated into Welsh, Punjabi & Polish" thing they have on the BBC site. What rubbish! If they had that, it would be online already! You don't get a site translated then hide it somewhere! Were they after a funding pot for ethnic minorities or something?

Same old same old dot-com claims from a small team of desperate entrepreneurs trying to find some equally desperate VC to invest in a half-baked idea, it would appear to me.