I admit it, I like pizza. When I eat pizza, I usually go to Pizza Hut because of their delicious stuffed crust. Usually I would order online because I don’t particularly like talking to someone on the phone, and can take my time to order what I want and see the different options. In the last week, Pizza Hut has launched a new Canadian e-commerce site.
I’m going to throw out there that the launch of this product is one of the worst I have ever seen, both in the launch and execution of the new product, and in the new site’s user experience. From start the end, from logging on to picking up my pizza, the experience was diabolical. How so?
1. Not migrating accounts
When I get to the website, I have to create a new account and re-enter all my personal information. Seriously Pizza Hut, what multi-national company does not migrate the accounts of its own customers from one e-commerce system to another? I have to start from scratch, entering my personal information? Really?
2. The user experience is crap
New website are generally supposed to be better than those they replace, not worse. I go to the homepage and am asked whether I want delivery or pickup. Fine, great. However, clicking on one of those buttons expands the login dialogue down off the bottom of the page. This form would easily fit in the window if it was moved up. Sloppy.
Next problem is that the entire pre-ordering user interface is within the dialogue box on the screen. Why? Why are you asking me for my location, my full address, to select my store – all in an on-page dialogue box that I constantly have to scroll within? The last step of this UI disaster is the following page:
The messaging on this screen does not make sense from a user experience perspective. There is one button labelled Pay Now at the bottom of the screen, yet I have not even selected what I want to order yet. Lacking no choice except the Pay Now button, I click on it.
Next, I’m greeted with a menu of sorts. I want to order a pizza, so let’s look at the options. I have the option to select a particular pizza, or to create my own. Before, it was easy to select the type of pizza you wanted. I could select stuffed crust, half Hawaiian and half Supreme – all with one click for each option from the same page. It was obvious what was on what side, and I could even customise each half separately by adding or removing ingredients. I really don’t care what my pizza looks like, and I’d trade a fancy looking graphic that shows me what it will (not really) look like for some actual usability.
Above is the new ordering page. This is much worse. Why?
- I have to click multiple times – 3 times in fact, on a small right arrow to get the stuffed crust I want. This was a one-click operation before. I cannot see all the options at a glance. Same with the sauce.
- Before I could select a type of pizza (e.g. Supreme) and then change the other half to Hawaiian with one click. Now, I have to customize the entire pizza. This is more difficult than before, requiring me to remove the ingredients that are not on both sides and manually add them back to just one side. Before, I could just click left or right side under the specific menu item and it would update. With the new site, the menu item is removed from the menu on the left once it is added. Fail.
- If I don’t want to do the above, I can order a custom pizza. This just gives me the same screen, but with nothing on the pizza. Fine. However, before I could just select half A, half B from this screen and have my pizza in two clicks. These options are gone on the new site, requiring me to now remember what is on each side of my pizza and manually adding each ingredient. Fail.
When I’m finally done this, I add it to my cart. This is consistent with a regular checkout process, showing the cart total as a verification step before finally submitting the order. Best page I’ve seen so far. Placing my order tells me 14 minutes until ready for pickup. Great.
Sadly my complaints with the new ordering system are not quite over.
3. The buttons
Buttons are a very basic UI element on websites. Look at the big read buttons in the first two screens on this page. Do they look like buttons? Yes. Are they clickable like buttons? No. This site was built so that only the text on the button is clickable. So it’s not actually a button, it’s a text link on the background of a button – leading to many misclicks as users try to click on an unclickable button.
This is such a basic mistake, and is especially bad given this is released on a new product launched by a large company like Pizza Hut. Come on guys, did you even conduct user acceptance or QA testing?
4. The kicker
Yes, there really is a kicker – even after all that. I’m hungry, more so by the fact that the Pizza Hut ordering experience was so mentally draining and frustrating. I arrive at the store and the conversation goes something like this.
Me: “Hi, I’m here to pick up for Frank.”
Lady: “Erm, we have no pickup orders right now”
Me: “Well I just ordered it online like I always do” [Thinking “Oh.My.God.Fucking website”]
Lady: “Nope, no pickup orders.”
Me: “Well, ordered it and it said 15 minutes. Do you think it has something to do with the new website you guys have just launched?”
Lady: “New website, I don’t know about any new website. Our website is pizzahut.ca”
Me: “Right….okay I want a blah blah blah”
Like fucking seriously Pizza Hut? After that shitty experience, the order doesn’t even get sent through? Talk about an epic failure in a product launch.
5. The icing on the pizza (cake)
I was curious. I wanted to see whether their old site was up while writing this blog post so I could show you before and after screenshots, but it was not. Or even whether I could order through the old site and still get a pizza. But no, instead what the geniuses had done was redirect the old website to a non-existent page on pizzahut.ca.
Yes, they actually redirected their old ordering system to a 404.