Vodafone's new website - a lesson in how not to upgrade a corporate website.

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 2-May-2007 20:45

Vodafone launched their new website this week.

Essentially they used their old content, added some flash new graphics and well.. they went live with it.

Therein lies the problem. If you employ monkeys and pay them peanuts you get a crap result.

Looking at some of the information on the Vodafone site it looks like this new website was ready to go live towards the end of March but was delayed. The problem is information that was updated on the old Vodafone site since then hasn't been updated on the new site.


Lets have a look at Google's cache of the Vodafone website last week here detailing You Choose. Now look at the new site here

If I was to read this I'd believe that TXT2000 is no longer a Vodafone product on You Choose. TXT1000 is now back! Yippee that respresents great value for money. But hang on here you say it is available. What's the deal?


How about this page here compared to the old cached page here?
According to Vodafone you can now send TXT's to 021/029 numbers as part of your monthy included TXT's. What a shame that's not the case and you'll be charged 20c if you send a TXT to a 021 or 029 number ported to Telecom. Where's the Commerce Commission when you need them? You finally edited the old site to reflect portability, did you run out of peanuts to feed the monkeys to get them to stay and update the new one before you cut over to it?

We can then go and have a look at the rest of the "new" site.

How about Push to Talk? Don't worry the pricing plan expired in 2005 or was that 2006? It's just sooooooo confusing.

Want to download some music? $3.50 sounds expensive for a music download but that's what the site says so it must be true... Or maybe it's the $1.99 listed on this page? I'm getting confused. Are you?

How about looking at roaming? This page links to this URL but unfortunately you get an HTTP/405 if you try it.

I'd list a few more but then I'm about to head off and watch last night's Boston Legal on my PVR.

How can a big multi national telco have such a poor website? These mistakes aren't anything new, the Vodafone website has been a disgrace for a long time. I've posted numerous blog posts in the past and despite Vodafone actually reading them (because mistakes I have pointed out have been fixed very quickly) it's obvious nobody in the company really cares which is a shame really. I'd even offered to proof read the site and look for errors in return for a month's free calling which is a bargain considering my bill is only around $100 but you're obviously not interested. Peanuts must be on special at Pak 'N Save this week. 


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Comment by paradoxsm, on 2-May-2007 21:11

Telecom's website is even worse.... No wonder we all use the smaller telco's whom provide such amazingly innovative and reliable service!

The "base plans" are even harder to find now.. go to this page

http://www.vodafone.co.nz/personal/plans-services/plans/

And select the drop-down list, nope, no base plans.... Get plans are in there and they are not even offered any longer!

you need to click on the left hand menu, "on-account plans" then it appears magically.

Yes the new website is horrid, Yet another "make it glitzy" attempt at the most possible rushed deadline.


Comment by paradoxsm, on 2-May-2007 21:17

Cont (got cut off!)

No wonder we all use the smaller telco's whom provide such amazingly innovative and reliable service! Along with with website that are both simple, and infomrative and perfectly functional in IE4 and usually have excellent account management portals that load in seconds!


Comment by juha, on 2-May-2007 21:39

Vodafone needs to be careful because the website is effectively an advertisement for the products and services it sells. Ditto Telecom.


Comment by chiefie, on 3-May-2007 08:33

Both companies need to consult an information architecture firm to sort out their web content information.


Comment by hamo, on 3-May-2007 10:14

I can sympathise to a certain extent. Sometimes you just don't get the help that you need to keep website content up to date. A web administrator/content manager can only keep the content up to date if they're kept up to date themselves. It's not always easy to institutionalise change in business processes to include web publishing or even monitoring, especially when it puts extra work on peoples' plates.


Author's note by sbiddle, on 3-May-2007 10:27

Vodafone

I must say I am impressed with the time taken to fix some of the errors! You Choose is now fixed!


Author's note by sbiddle, on 3-May-2007 10:28

You are still linking to an obsolete You Choose Plan brochure though.

http://www.vodafone.co.nz/personal/plans-services/plans/you-choose/you-choose-plans.jsp

links to this

http://www.vodafone.co.nz/personal/plans-services/plans/you-choose/youchoosejun2006.pdf


Comment by d_b, on 3-May-2007 18:17

You've got a bit of cheek.

Show us all the big corporate websites that you've migrated.


Author's note by sbiddle, on 6-May-2007 20:32

"You've got a bit of cheek.

Show us all the big corporate websites that you've migrated."

A comment like that indicates you possibly have some involvement in the upgrade.

If that's the case then why should I (as an end user) be able to pick flaws in a website that should have been checked thoroughly for accuracy (including every link) through before it goes live. The fact I can spot obvious errors (some of which have been there for several years) simply shows that there are idiots in the IT industry being paid big $$ and not doing their job properly. It doesn't matter whether it's a single page site or a 5000 page website. It's the face of a large multi national corporate and should be accurate. End of story.


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Steve Biddle
Wellington
New Zealand


I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.


I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)
  -Polycom
  -Cisco
  -Linksys
  -Patton
  -Zyxel
  -Snom
  -Sangoma
  -Audiocodes

*Telecommunications/Broadband
  -xDSL deployments
  -WiMAX
  -GSM/WCDMA
  -WiFi

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
   
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.


+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.


You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com

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