Battered-User Experience. Oh my goodness, are they serious?

Okay, I know it's kinda early on a rainy Saturday morning, but this one deserves a post for sure. I noticed an email from someone who is in my network on a particular web service. I clicked on it to read, and investigate what the deal was. In short, my visit to Ecademy[dot]com was a time sink at best. This is a classic example of poor user experience -- and quite possibly "abuser experience" would better describe my visit.

As I waded through their sign-up "process" I began to get an uneasy feeling... Was it the poor interface design? Maybe all those blinking advertisements -- which seemed to have little or no relevance to me as a user -- were putting me in a hypnotic trance? Wow, this thing is just painful, and seemingly designed to shove as many ads down a user's pipeline as is technically possible, and still have a bit of room for content on the screen. Hmmmn, radio buttons strewn about, check-boxes placed after text and in a disorderly fashion, at least 35 items in the left column navigation, and on it went...

Possibly the worst abuse of them all was this: user's have to opt out of the smorgasbord of crap the site has signed them up for (these folks have been "invited" by the way, and are guests the service wants to turn into loyal paying customers), and then comes the big one -- you are forced to choose one of their paid subscription services (which by now you probably don't want). By this time, I was frustrated and heated up enough to realize what was going on... So, despite that fact that I was given a free month of service at their mid-level price, I chose the "Free Trial" which apparently (and conveniently?) only lasts for two weeks before timing out. Okay, so now these losers have my email and want me to be associated with this crappy service? Wrong!

My brain had now warmed-up enough to quickly figure this out. I changed my email account to one I no longer use, which they then logged me out and forced me to log in and then verify. This will be changed again to a phony email shortly -- I'll beat them at their own slithery game. It's funny that I can't find any way to quickly cancel or delete this account...

If this is how they plan to "entice" new customers to sign up, I've got two words for them and they're not, "good luck". Save yourself the headache when someone invites you to a sip of their snake-oil-like service, and push the invite to your spam and blocked senders list.

Oh, and by the way, stay out of my inbox.

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