How not to design a web site

Every time I try to buy a train ticket from the Trainline in the UK, I get angry. It just has too many brainless avoidable problems, such as:

  • The site is unbearably slow and clunky, particularly compared to something like Expedia
  • It only seems to work well on Windows PCs running IE
  • The error messages are of the classic Microsoft “Something went wrong, and it could be one of these twenty things, or something else”; and
  • It lets you try and buy cheap tickets before telling you that only the expensive ones are available.

All this is annoying in itself, but when you consider that the railways are competing against airlines for business, you would think that someone would try and sort the situation out. Apparently not. Even the market hasn’t worked (a common complaint in the rail industry) – when a better, speedier competitor (QJump) opened a couple of years back, the Trainline bought it.

I’m beginning to think it might be run by Microsoft.