Issues with public sector check out processes for booking tickets

It’s bee in the bonnet time!

I go to a fair few exhibitions in musems and galleries and have been known to book online. However the last few weeks I have been driven to distraction by the quality of the checkout procedures.

I hate to name names but these guys have really could do better:

The Natural History Musuem has the ever excellent Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition on at the moment. I went to buy some tickets but for some reason they now want me to register. I was so annoyed that I emailed them to complain and suggested some articles that they might want to read. I wonder how many visitors they have lost by forcing visitors to register?

And its not just me a friend tried booking online and – ‘Well, I tried to book tickets online, but apparently there is some problem. So I called to get a message saying that this line is “occasionally staffed every day between 9 and 5” and I can leave my details and a preferred time and they will call back within 24 hrs…

it’s just so annoying. In the message they also refer you to book online! They better call back before tomorrow morning…’

The British Film Institute ticket booking system has foxed me a number of times as there is no logical sequence to know what to click on – the so-called ‘go’ button does not help either.I know how it works now but a bit of faith is needed to know that my membership discount is applied right at the very end of the checkout.

Sorry British Museum but I cannot work out why on your website you use the phrase ‘book online’ when I am clearly online already. Then take me round a number of clicks before I am forced to guess how to choose a date. In the meantime I had two pop-up boxes asking me to become a friend. After I clicked no the first time I did not expect to see it again.

Why is the Barbican automatically adding a donation to their fund – which you have to uncheck if you don’t want to contribute. I would not mind if they explained what the fund was for in the first place.

Dare I mention the Royal Academy who I have also complained to in the past as their checkout system can get into a bizarre loop of not letting you see what you have booked for. The only reason I don’t use it anymore is because I am a Friend which makes life a lot easier.

I am not sure if there is a pattern here? A desperation to collect money and contact details? Surely there are some basics that they should all be following? Lack of user testing? Or are expensive designers selling fancy features?

Hopefully this does not sound bitter and twisted as I love all these venues but as they said at school ‘could do better’.







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