My Bad Experience With Good Experience

October 3, 2006

Good Experience must be the classic barefoot child of a cobbler, unable to do for themselves what they do for others.

The Good Experience website says that their mission is “is to encourage the creation of good, meaningful experiences in business and life.” That says, “usability” to me, because that’s the mental slot I have to put them in.

I met the Good Experience guys back in the winter at in Atlanta. I gave them my card and vaguely remember telling them that they could put me on their mailing list. I was very surprised to get their first mailing because it was such a bad experience. It was all text (no html) with lots of naked links, lots of hyphens used to break the text up so that they could advertise job openings — just unreadable. I wrote Mark Hurst, the CEO, after my first disappointing experience and he explained that text pulled better for them.

I never read a single issue of their newsletter, and this weekend, I finally unsubscribed. I immediately got a “personal” email from Mark. He called me by my last name and asked me if I could help explain why I was unsubscribing. (Note: I try very hard to never let someone subscribe to my email marketing with poor information. If they have signed up with their first name in all lower case, I go in and capitalize the first word so that my marketing does not come through as, “Hi jim.” Since I know that the GE people had my business card, I was surprised, again, that they hadn’t gotten this right. I don’t remember the last time someone called me “Steif,” when they weren’t writing about me in an article.)

Anyway, I wrote back and explained that it was too hard to read the newsletter, as explained above. Mark replied that I could always go read it online and provided a helpful link. So I clicked on the link in Firefox and was confronted with the tiniest type that I have ever seen online. For completeness sake, I asked Taylor, our 22-year-old analyst, to look at it, and it was way too tiny for him to read, too. Of course, we could increase the type size, but is that a good experience? Eventually we figured out that if you open it in IE, it is not bad at all. So I guess Internet Explorer Users all get a good experience once they get past the email and Good Experience’s “personal” email.

To be fair – Mark really did reply to me in person. And it really is hard to do for yourself what you do for others, often because great gets in the way of good and you end up doing … nothing. Been there, done that.

Robbin Steif