I’ve spent quite a bit of time this weekend going through old reviews and double-checking things on restaurant websites like hours and phone numbers. I am, to say the least, quite annoyed.
Scenario #1 – at home:
Why do I have to wait for some long flash file to load when I just want the address?
Why, once the file does load, do I have to dig through the entire site to find the address or hours? Why is this most basic information not on the front page? Why, if you even have a menu, is it listing the “late summer specials”, when I’m looking out the window at rainy winter day. Why am I being shown “Holiday Events”, when it is March? Is this rocket science? If you aren’t going to keep your events page updated, why have one? How about just putting “Sample Menu” instead of “November 2009”? I know blogs are all the rage right now, but why is your most recent entry eight months ago?
Scenario #2 – on my cell phone:
Why do 85% of restaurant websites only have flash? Let’s think about this. I’m downtown, wondering where I should go to eat. There is that little Italian place in northwest… is it open on Monday? Let me check… Oops! Their site only uses flash, which means it is inaccessible to most mobile phones.
Where are most people when they want to find restaurant information? When I’m out with friends looking for somewhere to eat. What do I use? A Cell phone!
Restaurants need to get a clue. Flash websites are pretty and cool (and I’m guessing expensive?), but, um, if Apple, html5 and Microsoft have anything to do with it, flash is dying, and isn’t likely to be supported on most mobile platforms (or anything else) in the future. At least pay your developer a little extra and give me a link to a “plain text” version.
Instead of trying to dazzle and lure us in with fancy websites, how about you just give us your address, phone number, maybe even a CURRENT’ish menu? Dazzle me with your food, not some damn music that comes blasting out of my speakers at 1am! I’m looking at you, Bluehour! Scared the hell out of the dogs.
Earlier tonight I had multiple windows open, with different music coming out of each one. Laughter and dishes clinking from , and a porn thump thump from the “sophisticated” Bluehour – it sounded like a freakin’ Roman orgy. The focus of the Saucebox website? The artwork. Seriously – pop-ups of all the artwork in the restaurant. If you looked really close at the bottom of the window, you could see tiny labels with “menu” and “kitchen”, neither of which show you anything about either one. Hovering over the menu section sends arty pictures zooming out at you while the bass track beats in the background. But then I forget – Saucebox isn’t really about the food, is it. I will give Bruce Carey Enterprises credit: once I gave up and closed the window, I realized all the information I wanted in the first place, was hiding on the front page, but, silly me, I clicked on “enter site” by mistake.
I like Kinara Thai Bistro, but the website is insane. Yes, there is a “skip intro” button, but it’s kind of like a car accident you have to look at. There are these weird orange snowflakes falling from the top, the logo fades in, the sign comes up from the bottom, a swing that says “now open” drops from the top and flashes… over and over… I can click a button to skip the intro, but then it opens a new window with the hours and a bunch of different buttons, including one that doesn’t do anything. I click on “menu”, and get a page that says “click to see our menu”. Hello?! I just did that! I do it again, and I get a whole new browser window opening – except in Firefox, where nothing works right. Finally I’ve got the oh so cleverly hidden menu (if I have Acrobat installed), but have to dig back through three identically labeled tabs to try to figure out which one has the bloody phone number so I can call in my order. At that point I just need a drink!
At the Paley’s Place website, I get an invisible hand drawing a picture of the veranda, which is cool, but I really just want the hours. A soundtrack of conversation and, inexplicably, what sounds like cars and bicycles driving by entertains me for the time it takes to load. I’ve had lots of nice evenings on that veranda, but from this soundtrack I’m thinking dust and exhaust. There is a bit of text that says “click to skip intro”, which I do, frantically, until I realize they really mean I should click on the Paley’s sign above. By then it’s too late, so I wait… and wait… for the artwork to load, the sound of traffic lulling me to sleep, until, I finally get “click paley’s sign to enter” (not click here), but it’s on the other side of the page. Feeling like I’m playing a video game, I mouse back over there, click the sign, the front door opens with a loud, annoying squeak (is this place haunted), the audio get’s much louder, and FINALLY I get an awesomely cool but impossible to see menu window (about 10 lines high), that has a tiny scrolling thingy that is a pain to use. I can click on a different button, which loads a .pdf in another window, but with all this low conversation and the gentle roar of the traffic, all I really want to do at this point is to forget about dinner and take a little nap.
If I browse to the site on my iPhone I just get a message that my device needs to be upgraded. I cheated and put the direct url to the .pdf file, but it loaded halfway and crashed my phone. Froze it so badly I had to do a hard-reset before I could use it again.
Really Paley’s, I love you dearly, but your website pushes my last button.