Economics Media

Bad UI: NYT Subscription

I wanted to check out the New York Times subscription rate for the Sunday paper, so I turned to Google. Surprise! A glitch on the programming side (where are the testers???) means that the NYT lost a customer before she even saw the price of the service!

I reached the following form from the first Google link. Needless to say, I can move “no further” along in the subscription system, since NYT is asking me for an email address when there is no email address form field visible to me!

This screen shot is taken from Mac OX 10.5.x + Firefox 3.0.6*.

Update 2:
The page reached with the PAID link works. Note that I clicked the unpaid link first because I don’t often look at the ads.
NYT paid ad

Shall we ask again why “newspapers” are losing money?

In this instance, the New York Times has good Google-foo — it’s the first link in my search. But the link doesn’t work. Because I’m writing about this, I poked around to see if I could find something that worked. I went down the page first, then back to the top to look at the paid ads. The NYT was the first link here, too.

But they have to pay Google something (click through, conversion rate?) when there is absolutely no reason for this expense, except poor testing at home.

Not Mac/Firefox Problem
Note that the problem — no email form field — is not exclusive to Firefox. Here’s Camino (virgin form) and Safari 4.0.

Update 1:
Ah … there is no email field in the form. Here is a PDF of the HTML for that page. It looks like old HTML 4 — no doctype, some code ALL CAPS.

Camino screenshot

Safari 4 screenshot

And here’s MSIE:
MSIE screenshot
Courtesy Brian Westbrook

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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