Bad Web Design #1: Symantec MySupport

Update on 1/17/2007: There’s a follow-up to this post about a call I had with a Symantec employee and this issue.

Having created web sites and applications for a number of years now, I’ve developed a pretty good nose for bad design. Sometimes I find little things that bug me, and other times they’re blatant and obvious. I’ve decided to highlight some of these frustrations on this blog so that maybe, just maybe, this problems will be fixed someday.

The first offender is Symantec’s MySupport site, a place where you can submit and view support tickets for the company’s products instead of spending over 1 hour on hold (and counting) with their 800 number like I am right now.

Here’s the ticket submission form, the main reason for using MySupport. Look carefully at the lower right where it’s highlighted in red (click on the image to see a bigger version):

Symantec MySupport Submit Case Form

Whoever made this form didn’t put any thought into it. Notice those three buttons. The one you want, the one that submits your problem to the Symantec help desk, is sandwiched between two buttons that have destructive actions. Both “Back” and “Cancel” delete everything you’ve entered in the form. It’s way too easy to accidentally click on one of these instead of the submit button.

I know this because it happened to me. I spent close to 15 minutes entering all of the license keys and product codes they ask for in addition to detailing the specific problem I was running into. Then, I went to submit my request, only to end up at the previous page – I clicked the “Back” button instead of “Submit”.

What’s so frustrating is that it doesn’t have to be like this. Arranging the buttons so that “Submit” is isolated from the others doesn’t take anymore work than how they’ve currently designed it. It’s pure laziness, and it shows a lack of concern for Symantec’s customers.

This is especially frustrating when you think about the context of the form. If I’m going through the trouble of creating a MySupport account and then logging a detailed technical problem I’m having, chances are I’m probably not that happy to begin with. They should be making the process as simple and easy as possible instead of creating more bad will.

I have no doubt I’ll have plenty more of these examples of bad web design to share in the future. If you’ve got one yourself, drop me a line in the comments.

Just an update: As I’m finishing this up, I’m still on hold with Symantec’s “customer support”. That’s 1 1/2 hours and counting. Thankfully I can do other things (like writing this) while I wait…

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