A five minute trip to retroland

Oh! I’ve just had a bad online experience. Nothing too traumatic, just a website of a sort you really don’t see that much these days – the sort that is so achingly hip it’s impossible to use. It would be sweetly retro if it wasn’t so irritating.

It’s one of those websites that leads the user on a journey. Unfortunately it’s a linear journey and if you want to tread a different path, tough. You are doomed to sit there, clicking “next” and accepting what you’re given.

How can’t we use it? Let me count the ways: Half the navigation just disappears when you move from section to section, so you can’t skip blithely between stationery and gifts, you are forced to click back and return to products first. If you want to give up on the web site and find a store, then you must go to the front page. I’m in a good mood, so I’ll barely mention the category confusion: perish the thought that you’d give stationery as a gift. There’s no royal road to geometry, and no royal road around this website either.

Half the navigation just disappears

Once you are looking at the stationery, the only way to navigate is using the “next” and “back” buttons on a greyed out disk.

My brain is melting.

It would be infuriating if it wasn’t so odd and – thank goodness – so unusual these days. I can’t even be bothered to be irritated by the vastly inflated billings charged by whoever designed it and built it. Most of these triumphs of design over usability have gone. This is like time-travelling back to all the unusable but gorgeous sites of the late 1990s.

The past is a foreign country – take yourself on a wee five minute trip to retroland.

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4 responses to “A five minute trip to retroland

  1. Perhaps it’s some visual reminder of some other aspect of life – commuting, for example. I hope you didn’t buy anything.

  2. “The past is a foreign country,” LP Hartley was right. But doing it differently isn’t always doing it better 8)

  3. I just wanted to leave a quick hello and let you know that I was here, but I was insufficiently motivated to visit that website. Just couldn’t get excited about it, but thought I would let you know that I read your post anyway and that I wasn’t just lurking as so many people do. This is part of my new strategy, to always leave behind a sign of life on every blog I visit, unless they are so bad that I just can’t.

  4. No Omega Mum, but I was looking for a 1″ kraft paper box file, like the ones I bought from them last year. Oh well. I didn’t encourage them though.

    The thing about websites of the past, Shrink, is that they really are gone. Nothing as ephemeral as pixels, unless it gets a brief second life in the Way Back machine.

    Irene, you don’t need to say anything, but it’s always lovely to see you here.

    Aphra.

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