Yesterday afternoon I noticed a tweet from reader Tina Plunkett asking where she could top-up her HOP card on Ponsonby Rd.
HALP I'm in ponsonby, where hop top up? #Reallyshouldknowthis
— /ɛkˈstɔːʃ(ə)nɪst/ (@tina_plunkett) November 7, 2016
While this isn’t something I ever look up, I knew I’d seen it on the AT website before and as I had some spare time I thought I’d try and be helpful by looking it up for her. I was out at the time so this meant doing so on my phone but I assumed it would easy enough.
I knew I’d seen a list and even a map of retailers in the AT HOP section of the website which was located under Bus Train Ferry on the AT Website so I started by navigating there. But here’s where I came unstuck, I couldn’t get to the AT HOP section as on the mobile version of AT’s website, it doesn’t exist. Here are a couple of screen shots showing the AT HOP section nowhere to be found.
So there’s an image I can click on to get a HOP card and there’s a whole heap of fine text that I assume is there for legal reasons but no links to the any details about HOP, like where they can be topped up. To do that you have to dig through the menu icon at the top right of the page (in the first image) but even then, it’s not intuitive or easy to find.
As a comparison, here is the desktop version showing the heading sitting just under the Real Time Board on the left hand menu. That isn’t to say the desktop version is great either, personally I find it a cluttered, junky mess and I get the impression that AT simply don’t care about the customer experience of those who may want to use it.
I think the issue here is broader than something seemingly important missing from the mobile version of their website but goes to the wider issue of how AT interact with customers. I tend to know my way around the AT site fairly well as I’m often looking around it as part of posts I’m writing – and is why I knew I’d seen the HOP section and map. But even for me, I find the website a mess and often completely unfriendly to users. I can imagine someone who’s a bit PT curious and sick of sitting in traffic every day going to the AT site, taking one look at it and deciding it’s simply all too hard.
I’m sure many of you have seen better implementations of equivalent websites for other cities. If you have some outstanding examples of getting it right then let us know in the comments and I’ll look at another post so we can give AT some ideas for improvement.
While on the topic of HOP retailers, looking at them for this post also highlighted once again just how few places there are to top-up a card – something I don’t think about as I normally top-up online. As you can see from the map there are some huge areas where there are not many places to do this. Outside of the rail network, locations to top-up are sparse.
And I won’t even go into the garbage fire that you’re presented with if you log in to your AT account.