27 Jan 2012 10 am eastern

Dyson to NY: drop dead

DYSON’S WEBSITE won’t sell me a vacuum cleaner. It claims New York, a U.S. state it provides in its own drop-down menu, is “not a valid state.” I have previously ordered Dyson products from the Dyson website and shipped them to a different address in New York. I have an account and everything. But the website won’t let me ship products to my office. This is just one of about a dozen errors that wasted half an hour of my life today.

Filed under: Usability

20 Responses to “Dyson to NY: drop dead”

  1. paul said on

    i see stuff like this all the time – but i live in a 3rd world country as far as internet shipping goes (canada)… surprised this happens for NY.

  2. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Punchline: Ordered from Amazon. Took fifteen seconds. Will arrive Monday. Dyson has created the greatest vacuuming experience in the world. They make cleaning up a pleasure. But their web experience falls far short of their product experience and therefore betrays their brand. The website is very, very pretty, and that is in keeping with the brand experience. But nobody should waste half an hour on a company’s site and leave still unable to buy that company’s expensive product.

  3. Matt Velic said on

    I feel your pain: I live in Washington, DC, and you wouldn’t believe how many sites forget to list us at all. Granted, we’re not an official state, but still…

  4. Ray said on

    That sucks.

    Ha ha…. HAHAHAHA…snort!

    Some times I slay me.

  5. Whitney Hess said on

    That is completely infuriating and sadly not uncommon. Simplehuman is one of my favorite brands, their trash cans are second to none — thoughtfully designed, beautiful to display in your home. And yet their website is complete off-the-shelf, unconsidered dreck. Product-based companies need to wake up in 2012 and come to terms with the fact that their website is a product too and a natural extension of the customer experience. These companies should value interaction designers as much as they value industrial designers. Hiring a few would go a long way.

  6. Melanie deDon said on

    Dear God. And its even a drop down… I mean… seriously?

  7. Don Ulrich said on

    Jeffrey, did the drop down work for other states? Did they correct the issue?

    @Wendy – A good web property takes quality control everyday. I am amazed that people still don’t understand the web as its own medium. Do you think as we strive to create interaction for clients that they need to be educated as well? That part of the interactive experience begins with the people who manage the property. Interactive skills still seem to elude us.

  8. Mike D. said on

    Dyson has done an incredible job of creating the perception of *quality* in their products by virtue of the *visual design* of their products. I bought one a few years ago after my old vacuum wasn’t cutting it anymore. I remember the lavish exhibit in the Design Museum in London I had seen several years earlier talking about how the wind-tunnel thing worked and how it was light years ahead of vacuums at the time.

    While Dysons may have had some advantages when they were introduced many years ago, the only thing they rule at now is looking awesome in your place. Are they a good vacuum? Sure. But you’re paying more than a 100% premium to get something that looks better but works worse than the several alternatives. Take the Shark for instance:


    4.5 stars on Amazon and less than $200. We replaced our Dyson with a Shark several months ago and it’s comical doing the comparisons. We have two cats and we’ll run the Dyson over the rugs until it doesn’t pick anything up anymore. Then, we’ll run the Shark over it for about a minute or two and the entire canister is almost full of new “stuff”.

    Anyway, just sharing in case any Zeldman readers are looking for a new vacuum. The Shark owns.

  9. Mike D. said on

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    Just pitchin’ in!

  10. Ryan Hayes said on

    Donate the money instead of being a self-centered American, perhaps?

  11. Lloyd said on

    Read the last few pages of James Dyson’s ‘Against the Odds’ autobiography (1997) on how he was not convinced by email or the whole web thing. (‘computer messages are the pits’ etc.)

  12. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Thank you, @Ryan Hayes. I thought the problem was that Dyson’s website had a usability problem preventing them from selling their product to a committed would-be purchaser. But you’re right. The problem is that I’m a self-centered American. I don’t need a vacuum cleaner. I should donate the money! And you can come suck the dirt off my studio floor.

  13. Daryle G. said on

    Two or more things going on here:

    A. Their website sucks, sadly not in the proper Dyson way.

    B. Website designer is a Patriots fan.

    C. Happy Cog has a clog in the door as the lead design firm for the website redo.

  14. Jameos said on

    Tried a few bagless suck-machines, and was not happy with any of them. The amount of cleaning you have to do to get rid of the crap it sucks up, the filters you have to wash, etc, were a real pain. Went back to a bagged Bissell, and am very happy with it.

    Lame on the dropdown. :)

  15. Rhett Soveran said on

    I read the previous post first and then this one. The juxtaposition is quite stark. I’m glad you’re back at it, but I could’ve used some easing in. All this jumping in head first. ;)

  16. James McBride said on

    Badly designed web forms drive me insane. It might be listed under #firstworldproblems but it is infuriating. Web forms need a little 1-800-how’s-my-form number listed underneath so we have someone to call and vent at…

  17. Don Ulrich said on

    Hi Jeffrey:
    did some leg work this is what I found:

    Send a confirmation of account email while I was still correcting *errors* in the form.

    FF on OSX asked me if I wanted to remember password for *zip code?*

    ahhh could this be the issue, I got this error when trying to ship to a phoney addy in NY State: Address not listed

    “We can’t ship to New York or Illinois addresses where the address isn’t verified.”

    It seems that they have a complicated interaction with respect to the form it attempts to verify addy, zip, and even the location within the addy. e.g. upper suite etc. They also have a huge dropdown of titles e.g Mr. Mrs etc. strange.

    If you are going to have in depth addy verification then you have to do the leg work. There is another flip to this. How many rules is government going to add to internet purchases before companies simply can’t keep up?

    BTW the registration email that was sent prematurely was a generic one liner and did not reflect the information sent. Although my error experience was slightly different it looks like a systemic issue within the logic of the code.

    Something that looks as simple as addy verification is complicated and just not design but unit testing is involved.

    LOL just sayin’

  18. Don Ulrich said on

    Oh now WTF I was going to edit my billing shipping/billing details and it told me my basket was empty! Looking for a big hammer…… I wonder how many sales they have lost besides yours. WOW

  19. Don Ulrich said on

    I tried again. As the world turns, now the original form pops up with my zipcode in it WTF! somebody got paid for doing this work?

  20. Jameos said on

    Cripes, just go to Walmart and buy one.

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