I can fix this: Vodafone’s borked mobile broadband system

July 9th, 2010 § 0 comments

I decided a while ago that instead of ranting on Twitter about borked sites, I’d be more constructive and e-mail the company with issues and suggestions. Now, this works really well for startups/Web2.0 sites. Not only do they have ways to contact them prominently displayed, they actually read and respond to communication. Not quite the same with ‘corporation sites’. Save for a couple of instances (MSFAustralia for example) they don’t wanna hear from ya. So here’s my solution – presenting the Pro Bono series!

Vodafone’s (prepaid) mobile broadband gets the honour of being the first to be on the recipients’ list. Vodafone have a desktop app that you have to install in order to get connected:

The ‘View Usage’ panel in the image doesn’t actually give you the total amount of data you’ve used in a credit period. Which is kinda important when on a prepaid account with usage limits. Also, what’s with the 3G and GPRS columns? I don’t understand why I need to see that, unless it’s an advertisement of sorts – “oooh look at how much 3G you got!” Trust me vodafone, when I can’t load Gmail in basic HTML mode even while on 3G, it doesn’t count for a damn thing.

The real pain point comes when one clicks on ‘Check Prepay Balance’ or any of the options in the Service Info section. Clicking on those takes you to a web page. (In the image I’ve mistakenly highlighted ‘Other Programs’ as well. Those don’t redirect to a web page) A generic page, which has nothing to do with the option you clicked on in the first place.

Now listen up Vodafone, here is what should happen when I click on ‘Check Prepay Balance’: show me the balance in the desktop app. A lesser option would be to redirect me to a web page already logged in and displaying the relevant info. The least desirable option would be to redirect me to a log in page where I will be redirected to a page showing the Balance immediately after I log in. Notice how launching a generic page IS NOT AN OPTION. Making me jump through hoops just makes me feel you’re wasting my time and precious data limit. Not to mention how painfully slow pages load when your network is crawling.
The same applies to all the other options in the Service Info Category. I don’t see why the desktop app doesn’t already handle these, but if you have to redirect me to a web page, log me in, and send me to a page directly addressing the option I’ve clicked on.

Oh, and one last thing – EVERY TIME the desktop app launches, the software goes through an update loop. There are never any software updates, and it does it even if I use the app everyday. Cancelling it doesn’t stop it. Honestly, sometimes it’s like this app was built just to annoy.

Dear Vodafone, please fix it.

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