Digital overwhelm

So much of what we need to do on a day to day basis now depends on accessing online systems.

Many of these systems make you wonder if anyone from the organisation ever tried to use them before they went live. Obscure instructions, awful design, and lazy coding (there are only so many ways to write a phone number why can’t you code your bloody web site to recognise the format I just used?)!

Even at work the corporate support systems, welfare, staff training, HR and IT support, are now buried behind similarly badly designed intranet sites.

And the worst is, when you eventually give up trying to use their awful web site, and are sitting in the interminable queue to speak to someone at their call centre, they play you a repeating message telling you how easy it is to use their bloody web site! No it’s fucking not!!

Dealing with all of this has a significant cumulative effect. People give up. We stop trying to do things. This is not good…

9 thoughts on “Digital overwhelm

  1. The digital utopia we were promised has only served to divide rather than connect. We are now irreparably fragmented; either struggling with forms on websites or selecting option after option on automated phone systems before the dial tone cuts back in and the call is timed out. Language is not always kind or connective.

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  2. On the other hand, things have never been so good!

    While there are many services that are still lagging behind, new and improved ones pop up every day. I was able to pay my water bill in Italy almost literally with one tap, without having to set up any account. Another click for a prescription at the pharmacy. Real time data streaming from the NHS to my phone. All kind all goods and services delivered to my door. Flying cars, magic trains… we live in the future!

    Don’t be so grumpy 😉

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  3. Totally agree. This is what a group of us were all saying last night at a social gathering. I don’t know if you heard but our second largest telco here in Australia was hacked and over 10 million peoples personal data was stolen. Everything, names, birthdates, licence numbers, passwords, Passports, you name it. It’s the biggest news item here as companies and governments scramble to get their cyber security tightened, laws tightened for breaches. Enormous fines imposed for companies. People are scrambling to change their passports and licences but they can’t change any other details like their birth dates of course. All this has made us realise how our lives are online now.

    Initially I toyed with the idea of setting up a personal cloud – not storing anything on Google, Apple or Dropbox or sites like that. But in all honesty, every site we go into there’s a piece of “us”.

    As for online design of sites, that’s true. Yesterday even our vet was saying that he’d at for something more to know that he has a person he can speak to 24/7 in case something happens and he needs it fixed but these are far and few between. Now you can expect to be on hold for hours. I’m not sure if it’s automated processes or lack of staff. In Australia it seems to be the latter. Businesses are hemorrhaging staff as they leave in droves. I’m not entirely sure how this is going to pan out but it’s making me realise that I need to be as self sufficient as possible, hoping I don’t need any services quickly. Trying to protect myself as best I can. Thing is, I also know it’s an impossibility.

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    1. Paolo is right, some things are amazing, but it does all feel fragile.

      My wife works in communicating the importance of cyber security so I get to hear all the horror stories but what worries me more is the increasing prospect of data combining in autonomous AI and two plus two making five in ways that constrain our freedoms.

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  4. Oh Euan, such exceedingly extreme frustration. My husband once was on hold to speak with someone regarding a return and refund ”
    Be right back” it took FOUR hours! He was funny though, he put the phone in his pocket, and any time he passed me by he did a little dance to the recorded music that kept playing over and over! That jocularity was a one of though. To speak to a human in a timely manner seems impossible, and yes of course the web sites are equally annoying. xoxoxox

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