Corporations, it is time for you fire your web designer yet?

This is a rant. I rarely do so, but I really can’t believe what I just experienced.

We need “brainless navigation”. Please.

Navigating to SingTel shop locationsI’ve been so frustrated – over the inability for me to search for the information over the Internet despite knowing exactly what I am searching for. I needed to find the SingTel hello! shops locations in Singapore. It was 1am and I was sleepy (now I’m not thanks to the frustration). I know where I will be tomorrow evening, and I just need to find the branch nearest to where I will be, so I can drop by and get some stuff done.

Started off at It was a corporate looking site. I couldn’t find anything about shop locations or what from the page. There was a search box. I searched “store locations”. Nothing.

Headed to and I searched “SingTel Shop Locations”. Nothing.

I searched “Hello! Store Locations”. I got a Hello Kitty website instead.

Frustrated already, I went back to, navigated my way through to the product I wanted to buy (a prepaid mobile card). That was easy. But that page did not tell me where I could get it.

Yes, that page ended with “Keeping in touch has never been easier!”

Yeah right. Easier.

I had to read to the FAQ page to find out where the cards are being sold. They told me that the card was available at their stores (and some other locations)… but they didn’t tell me where their stores are. It wasn’t of any help.

I clicked around for a few more minutes, still failing to find where they listed their store locations… and finally I ended up back on the home page of website. Then, I slowly mouseover-ed each font size 8 (or was it size 6??) menu, to find the link I was looking for.

They listed their store locations under the menu “This week’s hot deals”.

Why would a list of store locations be under “This week’s hot deals”? I really have no idea.

I found the information I want. I think the whole process took me at least 5 minutes.

The question is… how many potential customers would you be losing because of this 5 minutes?

I realised that the page was severely unoptimized. The title for that page was “Customer Service – Locate Us”. The reason for that was because it was a generic page for them to use to locate their stores, customer service counters, dealers and equipment service centers. There were no meta tags or whatsoever.

How many would search for “locate us” when you are looking for a branch location listing?

Truthfully, I’m quite disappointed. I really think corporations need to relook at their website, and get their web designers and programmers to learn at least the basics of SEO and usability.

These websites are most probably whitelisted with major search engines already, and making simple changes like changing the title from “Customer Service – Locate Us” to “Hello! Store Locations” will help so much, ease so much frustration, and save the time of the hundreds of thousands of visitors the site is serving.

Its a pity they think we can read their minds and know where to click. And this is not an isolated case. Here’s another one on terrible navigation on websites.

My rant is over. :mrgreen:


  1. Hi Kian Ann,

    I have to say that you are a VERY patient person. Being patient means having 5 less minutes to sleep!

    Frustrating, isn’t it?

    I share the same sentiment. I’ve never found what I wanted at within 3 clicks.

    And I know why.

    They built the site for themselves – not your, the visitors.

    As much as you don’t understand why they do what they are doing, these big companies with talented designers don’t understand why you search for “store location” and not “customer service”. You have to search they way they want you to search.

    Well, can’t blame you if you are searching at the 1am in the morning and feeling sleepy. Who on earth search at the time?! I do!

  2. Kian Ann,

    You are soooo right about this.

    Other mega-sloths (sorry this would be insulting to the sloths) include Starhub (by the way, who would actually benefit from the 30% Hubclub discount for the 3rd phone?! ) and a couple of mostly government or government-linked agencies.

    Fire the IT HOD, fire the lot!

    My rant is not quite over…

  3. Hi Kian Ann,
    You are really patient spending 5 min or more searching for something within a site.

    Research shows that avg people will move to another site if they can not get the info they what from the site with 3 clicks or less.

    For me, if I can not get the info I what from Singtel or other local sites, I will call them by phone instead or check with friends.

    I find this navigational problem quite common at the local sites here including those owned by the big companies.

    Sad, isn’t it?


  4. Hey Shi and CK,

    Thanks for dropping by. Yes. It is really such a sad thing.

    Actually, come to think of it, we DO learn about usability, human computer interaction and interface design in school – and I always thought these are the one of the more important modules.

    I really wonder what the graduates are doing! Haha…

  5. Tim!

    3rd phone?? ROFL! Aiyah, we are too rich mah – need one for business, one for family and one for “extra curricular activities” mah 😛

  6. Hi Tim,

    You’ve got a luxury travel site there,

    Beautiful site with good information on some of the most beautiful places on earth.

    I’ll dream of living in those resorts in Lijiang and Bali. Need to make more money first…

    Tim, do you have any idea where I can spend the weekend soaking in real hot spring resort near Singapore?