Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Internet

eBay Denies New Design Is Broken, Blames Users 362

Posted by kdawson
from the just-test-the-darn-thing dept.
krick-zero writes "eBay recently rolled out a new page design. Many eBay sellers are reporting issues with missing description text, resulting in lost sales. Buyers are reporting the same intermittent issue, on multiple platforms, with multiple browsers. After complaining to eBay customer service, one user got this response: 'I have reviewed several of your listings using my computer and had several of my coworkers view your listings as well and we are seeing the complete listings. Many times when buyers are not able to see the whole description or just bits and pieces it is due to browser issues they are having. A lot of times if they simply clear out their cache and cookies or change browsers (i.e. change from Internet explorer to Firefox or vice versa) they no longer have this problem.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

eBay Denies New Design Is Broken, Blames Users

Comments Filter:
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:47PM (#29402531) Journal
    God ferbid they spend a dime on honest to goodness black box QA testing on all platforms and browsers.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:49PM (#29402541) Homepage

    It seems to have a lot to do with the way they name their Javascripts and stuff. But once I clear cache and cookies, it goes away for a few weeks or a few months. That's probably when MS changes things again. This doesn't happen on most sites... seems most that it happens on ones that are, I am guessing, breaking some sort of rule.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Compholio (770966)

      It seems to have a lot to do with the way they name their Javascripts and stuff. But once I clear cache and cookies, it goes away for a few weeks or a few months. That's probably when MS changes things again. This doesn't happen on most sites... seems most that it happens on ones that are, I am guessing, breaking some sort of rule.

      It's probably proxy caching (possibly browser caching). As a large website you're supposed to set the appropriate caching options, or "Cache-Control: no-cache" if you're lazy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuoteMstr (55051)

        Or better yet, set resources to never expire, and instead incorporate a hash of the resource into the name of the resource. That way, clients can cache each resource forever, but will automatically get the new version when the resource changes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Skapare (16644)

          That still doesn't work if the original content failed to be completely delivered, and was not detected as such because no length is sent (because it's effectively dynamic because some script is pulling the content out of a database). The script quits. The browser got empty content and cached it. Now cache hits pull up empty content.

          The script on the server end needs to collect ALL the content before sending any, and count all the bytes, construct an HTTP Length header, then send the headers and content.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by QuoteMstr (55051)

            Oh, of course. Plus, you need the server-side infrastructure to keep the hashes current and to ensure that everyone that refers to a given resource refers to the latest version. That doesn't come for free. Still, when the system works, it's elegant and quite efficient.

            By the way: you don't necessarily need a content-length header. You can use chunked encoding [wikipedia.org] instead. If the script encounters an error, can you close the connection without sending the terminating chunk, which will (or at least should) cause

  • by NitroWolf (72977) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:52PM (#29402549)

    I've had similar problems and it always comes back to the javascript they are using. If I change the way the JS is allowed via AdBlock or NoScript, things start working... if I keep it at my normal settings, the descriptions disappear.

    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:22AM (#29404025) Homepage

      NoScript? I'll laugh if it turns out this problem is caused by NoScript or ad blockers. First rule of supporting a complex website - tell users to switch these tools off, clear their cache, cookies and try again (also, privacy proxies/porn filters)

      No competent computer user likes to be told to do this routine sort of thing, but the unhappy fact is that there are a lot of people out there that are somewhere between total n00b and web expert, who use tools that screw around with website contents in flight and then can't figure out that it breaks things. I've had to clean up NoScript created messes before. The number of support complaints it created was amazing.

  • There was a short period of time when companies actually made sure their products were usable by people.
    That was in 1970s.
    Electronics then were not complicated, but sophisticated enough. And Walkmans would actually work.
    Because Open Standards were harsh.
    Like the standards for an audio tape or even an audio CD.
    They were expected to work with ANY player as long as it met the standards.
    That is why i could take a take from my boom box, plug into a walkman and listen on way to school and back.
    Or how LP records

    • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:01PM (#29402591)

      The problem here is there are open standards for web sites, published by the W3C. HTML4, CSS, DOM.

      If eBay would follow the standards and perform some basic testing on the common browsers which all happen to be easily available for testing, they could assure the site would work for everyone.

      They're going beyond the standards and trying to do some browser-specific scripting no doubt, or utilizing features that are buggy in some browsers and beyond the basic standard.

      All this to try and be cute. And make their pages feel more dynamic.

      If they weren't doing this, nobody would be complaining, noone's experience or ability to use the site for it's intended purpose would be getting degraded.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by freedom_india (780002)

        Of course they would do.
        If i were a tape player manufacturer, i would try to "enhance" the features by offering non-standard features: like LP recording (twice the capacity at half the speed, thus making it unplayable on any other system), etc.
        The fact is that punishment is absent when you don't follow standards.
        If Sony made a walkman that didn't hold a Tape, it can't advertise it could hold a Tape(false adverts) and the market would instantly punish it for it.
        How do you punish a monopoly like eBay?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MaskedSlacker (911878)

          How do you punish a monopoly like eBay?

          Sell/Buy on craigslist.

        • by mcheu (646116) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @03:00AM (#29403349)
          In this particular scenario, it seems like Ebay is punishing itself. The buyer can't get the page to work, so doesn't bid on the seller's stuff. The item either doesn't sell or it sells for less. Since Ebay's fee structure is a listing fee plus a percentage of the final sale price, they stand to make less if they choose to ignore this.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erroneus (253617)

        Perhaps it's my geeky-nerdiness, but "function first, flash second. if flash compromises function, remove the flash."

        • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @12:09AM (#29402871)

          I would agree with that.

          But a lot of people seem to prefer keeping the flash, even if it compromises function a bit.

          The Google home page design philosophy seems to be the exception to the rule, most businesses follow the Yahoo philosophy, meaning more flash = better, sometimes even better than working 100% correctly.

          Wanting things to just work and be simple, fast, and efficient as possible seems to be a totally nerdy/geeky thing.

          Most of the marketing and business people who make actual decisions seem to think flashiness is really really important, even if it means the site's coding will be much more complex, a good bit slower/less efficient, more memory hungry, and have some bugs.

        • by indiechild (541156) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @12:51AM (#29403009)

          Most of the time, form and function can co-exist very well. It's just that eBay's developers are too lazy/incompetent to do it right, like the majority of web designers/developers.

          It never ceases to amaze me how many "professional" web developers can't even write a basic HTML and CSS page without a dozen+ errors and sheer semantic idiocy (like using tables for layout).

          • by denmarkw00t (892627) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @02:41AM (#29403295) Homepage Journal

            It never ceases to amaze me how many "professional" web developers can't even write a basic HTML and CSS page without a dozen+ errors and sheer semantic idiocy (like using tables for layout).

            While true, you can't just blame the web developers. I've had at least 10 years of experience in web development, starting with mostly HTML and experimenting with CSS when it was just hitting the web, but experience doesn't count for much in the industry. So, I had some classes at a state university that didn't treat web design as a profession until recently, and transferred a couple years ago to a technical institute that does provide a BA in web design.

            I'm at the end of my scholastic career, but I can assure you that despite what has been taught at my school, about 5% of the people in the web design curriculum will actually be prepared based on what they learned at this school, and most likely they had prior experience in web design (like me). We learned Flash and the other Adobe apps, some (and I mean SOME) HTML, a touch of CSS and thats about it. Javascript? Nope. W3C standards? They don't mention them. Setting up and / or using a web server? HA! Not a chance.

            It's sad, but its true - creating a usable Internet depends on education, and we can't depend on people to learn that themselves - some like myself have, but many more take the route that "if I take it in a class I'll know everything I need to know," and these people will be the majority of developers working at eBay and other web sites.

            That scares me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          Or, more succinctly, "function over form."

          Way too many people prefer "form over function" - I chalk it up to a completely self-centered view of the world "if it looks OK on my computer, it must work fine for everyone else too." They also seem to forget that they are in business to make money and every single customer that can't use their website is a lost sale, "pretty over profit"

    • by Strider- (39683) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:19PM (#29402675)
      <sarcasm>The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.</sarcasm>
    • by Swampash (1131503)
      There was a short period of time when companies actually made sure their products were usable by people. That was in 1970s. Yeah, like the DC-10 and the Pinto.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        Both of those machines filled their respective niches admirably.

        The DC-10, by being an incredibly robust and versatile airframe (Mid-air re-fuelers are typically DC-10s, as well as the microgravity laboratory aircraft (a.k.a. vomit comet)). The pinto by being an affordable, safe, relatively fuel-efficient automobile.

          I fail to see what the point of that was.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MartinSchou (1360093)

          The pinto by being an affordable, safe, relatively fuel-efficient automobile.

          From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

          The safety record of the Ford Pinto has become a landmark narrative on the evils of amoral companies putting profit ahead of customer safety. The articles and news stories about the Pinto released at the time generally portray the car as more prone to fire than other cars of the time. They also portray Ford as callous for knowingly and willfully ignoring safety concerns.
          [...]
          Through early production of the model, it

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by zippthorne (748122)

            I say it was safe, because the actual incidence of fire-related fatalities resulting from rear-end collision (the failure mode which supposedly was completely ignored by ford in their cost-benefit analysis), turned out to be lower than other cars in its class. The risk was overblown, and ford was correct, in hindsight.

            It is a very good example though of getting people worked up over FUD and giving a car company an undeservedly bad reputation. Every car company always weighs the costs of additional measure

    • by Kingrames (858416)
      Let me see those rose-colored glasses for a moment.
      I mean how hard is it to make sure your hammer does its job? there's no quality control in that. As things get more complicated it becomes FAR more difficult to make sure they work as intended.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357)

        Obviously, you have never used a hammer seriously. I have. I am very picky about my hammers. What many slashdotters might call a "hammer", I would probably throw into the trash. I mean that very seriously - I have thrown hammers into the trash, because they were unfit for any serious use.

        Junk aside - for what purpose do you need a hammer? I own about 15 different hammers, but I'll be damned if you'll get a ball-peen hammer to drive finishing nails with, or a chipping hammer to drive 16D nails with.

        The

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MaskedSlacker (911878)

          I only use one kind of hammer: sledge.

          Of course, I never build anything either. I just like breaking stuff.

    • Get off
      my lawn
      you crazy kids
      putting more
      than one word
      on a line.

    • by quanticle (843097)

      Even in the '70s there were many computer and electronic systems that were pretty fundamentally hostile to user interaction. If you read 'The Design of Everyday Things', you'll find numerous examples.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @01:22AM (#29403089) Journal

        Yep:

        - Floppies ranged in size from 8 inch to 5 inch to 3.5 inch to 3 inch
        - Computers were available from Atari, Apple, Commodore, Texas Instruments and not compatible with one another
        - Movies might be sold on videotape, or videorecord, or laserdisc, or film
        - Music might be sold on records, or 45s, or 78s, or compact cassettes, or 8-tracks
        - Game systems were Odyssey, Atari,Intellivision, Magnavox
        - VCRs could be either VHS or Betamax or Umatic

        Any view that the 70s were somehow free of format problems is merely nostalgia. There were plenty of of problems with formats.

    • by Quothz (683368)

      There was a short period of time when companies actually made sure their products were usable by people. That was in 1970s.

      Yes. All companies during that decade had perfect products, a feat never achieved before or since. A Sears n' Roebuck stove from 1898 was as likely to be a piece of crap as a Zippo lighter is today.

      Electronics then were not complicated, but sophisticated enough. And Walkmans would actually work.

      Oh, electronics. My iPod works fine. So does my TI calculator and my Motorola cell phone.

      The rot started with Sound Blaster. It was an Industry standard as opposed to open standard.

      Yeah, Sound Blaster was notorious for shenanigans like EBCDIC. Oh, wait, that was someone else, long before Creative Labs existed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dstar (34869)

      The problem is not a lack of standards. The problem is failing to follow standards.

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @01:09AM (#29403053) Journal

      >>>Because [1970s] Open Standards were harsh. Like the standards for an audio tape or even an audio CD.

      You wrote a nice soliloquy but it's based on a false premise. The examples you list were Not standards. Audio tapes and CDs were *proprietary* formats owned by Philips and Sony/Philips respectively. And in the 1970s there was a giant war between 8-track and compact cassette. Also Betamax and VHS. Also 3" versus 3.2" versus 3.5" floppies.

      You are seeing in the golden haze of nostalgia a time period when "everything just worked" but that never existed. Format wars and differing formats have always been a problem. (Yes even the inventor of the phonograph Edison had to deal with rival formats.)

  • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:54PM (#29402555)

    Expecting users to switch browsers or clear cache to see page text is absurd.

    If users can't see description text, they have a bug in their application.

    By the way. I'm not at all pleased with the new eBay design.

    They think they're being all fancy, cute, and Web 2.0-like i'm sure.

    And in the process... forgetting about the quality of the user experience and ease of use (which includes not having to switch browsers, clear cache, cookies, re-login, and other voodoo "self help" techniques), which basically are hallmarks of a low-quality, poorly done, poorly tested web site.

    And straight up, that sucks, and shows unprofessional behavior on eBay's part IMO.

    It's not the least bit hard to hire and train CSRs who won't blame the user for everything, and who'll actually help determine what's going wrong, and get the user in touch with someone to report the bugs....

    Blame the user, or their choice of browser is the absolute worst thing they could possibly do. In a decade when standards-based is the norm, and REAL web-sites are tested and qualified with the major browsers, including IE7, IE8, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc, and any malfunction of the site is the site's problem, not just the complaining users' problem!

    • by jo42 (227475) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @12:04AM (#29402855) Homepage

      As a occasional eBay user that posted an item last weekend, I can definitely say eBay is having problems.

      1) Late last night, my listing and many others kept coming up as not being available.

      2) Sometimes the description for a listing is shrunk down to half a visible line of text.

      3) Sometimes the description for a listing is nothing empty space where you scroll down for three or four 'pages' only to find the eBay footer with nothing else, no place a bid button or whatever is usually at the bottom of a listing.

      I've seen this on Firefox 3.5.2 and 3.5.3 after clearing all cache, cookies, whatever, then logging straight back into eBay.

      IMO the eBay UI continues to suck even more. I can't believe no one has built anything to compete with them.

      Though, the great deals from Hong Kong and China on various bits and bobs are definitely worth it. $5 including shipping for something that sells locally for $35 is worth the two week wait. $85 for an ARM9 development [ebay.com] platform with LCD touch screen - gimme!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kchrist (938224)

      I attended a talk a few years ago given by one of the designers at Ebay. He stated categorically that Ebay does not do user testing, and that he personally doesn't feel it's useful.

      Says it all, really.

  • bad plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:54PM (#29402561) Journal

    ONe of the worst things that you can do as a company is blame the user/customer... that is unless their plan is to assume that their users are idiots and therefore wouldn't go elsewhere or they haven't thought this out at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by schon (31600)

      ONe of the worst things that you can do as a company is blame the user/customer.

      Really? It seems to work quite well for Microsoft. :)

      • screwing the customer works fien for near monopolies but not so well when you consider the fact that Ebay isn't the only game in town any more. If they screw up too much people might start using craigslist and alternatives more.

      • by quanticle (843097)

        Microsoft may screw their customers, but it does not blame them afterward :/

  • Sold from 1999 to 2003, and got fed up with eBay and their ignoring feedback from users. Now they seem to have taken it seriously and still screwed up yet another revision (5 years plus in the making). Go eBay, e-i-e-i-o.
  • I thought that it was just me. I have been worried that I had a bit of spyware or something, pages are just not acting right, but only in ebay.

  • by rm999 (775449) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:00PM (#29402585)

    Interesting how in the before/after diagram, they zoomed out the old item page to make it look less clear. Also, they chose a crappier picture (and an entirely different product).

    This is the kind of sloppiness/deviousness I expect fat-burning pill advertisements, not a big corporation like eBay. They should have shown the same product at the same resolution so people could objectively see the differences.

    • They should have shown the same product at the same resolution so people could objectively see the differences.

      THey *should have* but they probably realized that there were few if any advantages to the new system and decided to obscure this fact. Now they've been ratted out and their blunder is on the first page of Slashdot. Oops?

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:01PM (#29402589)

    Excessive use of fragile and unreliable, non-standards-compliant Javascript? Check.
    Excessive use of meaningless graphics, slowing browsing and usability but reducing the number of successful page changes by clients? Check.
    Obvious uselessness for those with visual problems? Check.
    Unnecessary re-arrangement of straightforward design to force a "new paradigm" as part of some advertising exec's "new vision"? Check.
    No improvement in user experience or actual usable features added? Check.
    Disable current generation of sniping tools, forcing them to hire engineers for at least 30 minutes work to update their clients? Check.

    Driving people to the plain-text, plain-language, you can even rent cheap hookers there traffic of Craigslist? Check.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:03PM (#29402597)
    From TFA:

    2. Inadequate Pictures. Pictures are an invaluable tool for buyers and eBay pictures were considered inadequate due to small size, poor quality, and overwhelming emphasis on text information.

    "No shit, Sherlock", but eBay's cure was worse than the disease.

    With the "new hotness", I now have pictures that obscure the auction listings when I'm scrolling through items because Javashit thinks I'm hovering over the image (bad! stop doing that! I didn't ask you to do that!). If I find an item of interest and want to look at the pictures, I get a pop-up window (WTF?) with a slide-show-like sidebar (worse!), and since the whole shebang requires Javashit to display anything, and that very same script denies the ability to right-click-saveAs the image, it's now considerably more difficult to actually compare the image of a product with a reference image.

    For that matter, it's now practically impossible to compare two images of the same item with each other. When eBay used URLs that pointed to .JPGs, you could middle-click them to pop the image open in a new tab for viewing or saving. With the "new hotness", you're middle-clicking javascript:void(), and nothing happens.

    None of which addresses the root cause of the problem: 99% of the time, it's a crappy cell phone picture taken at 640x480, or generic clipart from the item's manufacturer, where you're lucky if it's 320x200. That's not eBay's fault, that's the sellers' fault.

    If you want to solve the problems with images, stop hiding them behind Javascript-reliant slide-shows. Less Web 2.0 crap, more usability testing. Fucking web designers. It's no longer an auction listing site, it's a web technology demo. Hey, web designers, maybe if you stopped this continual race of trying to keep your resumes well-padded and buzzword-compliant at the expense of end-user usability, your customers might not leave you in bewilderment and disgust, and you might not need to hand your resumes out as often.

  • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:08PM (#29402613)
    Javascript causes a new interface to act up, be unreliable and unpredictable on all browsers across all platforms? Now where have I heard that before?
    ;)
  • by McFortner (881162) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:10PM (#29402627)
    Their new layout has a 100% feedback and hundreds of people have it as "A++++++++++++++!!!"
  • by whydna (9312) <whydna@noSPam.hotmail.com> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:12PM (#29402647)

    I went to a presentation a few years ago by a pair of eBay's senior engineers where they were discussing their architecture and technology. They explained their Java-on-Windows two-tier architecture (web front-ends which are handling all of the business logic, database backends, little-to-no caching, etc). They explained how they have pools of servers for handling different page types (i.e. search vs. gateway vs. help, etc) and how they sometimes have brownouts in some pools because they mis-predicted the number of servers they needed in that pool.

    During the Q&A, somebody asked them, "what's the biggest challenge that you guys face?"; the response was "fitting enough information in the browser's cookie... 4k really isn't enough information for us". A follow-up question was asked about why they didn't just use a session-id key and store as much data as they want in a database or cache, etc. They basically admitted that they didn't have the technical strength to build something like that at their scale.

    I asked them why they allow users to post JavaScript in their posts as it basically turns all of eBay into a cross-site scripting bug. I know for a fact that sellers have been able to include JS in their posts which can record the max-bid of the buyer. Sure, it's against the TOS, but only if they catch it. Their response was that it's what their customers (read sellers) want.

    The point I'm getting to is that eBay, despite having one of the most popular websites in the world employs some bass-ackward technical solutions and business policies. What's reported in this doesn't surprise me at all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:53PM (#29402805)

      I'm not surprised. The good engineers left eBay a long, long time ago. I've seen so many eBay resumes and bios over the last few years, and nearly all of them were junk. The whole organization is so bloated, no one sees more than a small part of the operation, and their hires don't really require more than basic knowledge of java and web applications.

      In previous years, you'd see a fair amount of coders with decent university degrees end up at eBay, but in the last 5 years, you see people even less impressive than Oracle hires (if that's possible). All the flotsam and jetsam of schools you've never heard of from countries all over the far side of the world, with long histories of short-duration jobs.

      Around 2004-5, Yahoo hired many of their best people. More often than not, if you see a resume/bio that says someone worked at eBay for a few years, and then suddenly became a "Sr Eng Mgr" at Yahoo in those years, it means that they were above average coders whom Yahoo paid a lot to jump ship. Because of Yahoo salary guidelines, they had to give them fancy 2nd-tier management titles in order to pay them more than a certain amount.

      Probably more than you wanted to know, but my opinion is that eBay staff jumped the technological shark a long time agao.

    • Same story here... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Posting AC to protect the innocent...

      A few years ago my company's software (Windows/.NET-based) was in use by eBay for some functionality. They had some dedicated Windows boxes set up to run it. One time they had a problem with it, and getting even basic diagnostic information out them was impossible (even though they were escalating it as some big emergency).

      The relationship ended after they decided they wanted to re-architect things and move our stuff closer to their back end. I was on the conference

    • by MojoRilla (591502) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @12:35AM (#29402953)
      In terms of storing things in cookies instead of the backend, I can understand their reply. Why did GMail have an outage a few weeks ago [blogspot.com]? Because the load balancing layer, which from what I can tell is required to steer you to the server your session is on, wasn't scaled properly to accommodate new code, some of which was designed to help improve service availability.

      Unless you design things very carefully (and the larger the site the more carefully this stuff has to be designed), creating server sessions can mean exposing your users to single points of failure. It can also mean subjecting users to bad user experiences when their session times out.

      Storing sessions in memory cached in a single server, with a router to get you to the right server, backed by a clustered database seems like a good solution, but is complex and can have performance problems. Which seems to be what happened to Google. Also remember that cache layers are great for reading, but problematic in a situation with lots of writing (for example, Ebay).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Storing sessions in memory cached in a single server, with a router to get you to the right server, backed by a clustered database seems like a good solution

        No, it doesn't. It sounds like a mediocre solution.

        The proper solution is to replicate sessions across servers [ibm.com].

  • by GTarrant (726871) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @11:21PM (#29402683)
    I guess my thought is, it really doesn't matter if it's the user's fault or not.

    If you're a company selling something - a product or service - it's up to you to make it simple to use for the people that are trying to use it (or at least, the people in your target market that are trying to use it), or lose their business. It doesn't really matter if they're doing it wrong. If they come to your site with the same browser and system they have always used and suddenly it doesn't work, well then the fact that it's the browser that's implementing something wrong doesn't matter to them because the site worked well before. Maybe it is. Maybe there's a minor thing the site implements wrong.

    I look at this and feel like this is simply a classic case where you have a team of developers that are doing the website at eBay, or any major corporation, and they like having jobs. So at some moment in time there is a necessary site redesign, and they spend months, perhaps years, working on it. Then the site goes live, they spend the next few months to work out the bugs, and there's the question "OK, so, what do we do now?"

    So the obvious question is "We start work on the NEXT-NEXT generation website! We'll start on it right away!" And this cycles over and over, because if you say to management "You know what? The website we have is pretty damn good, functional, and we've worked most of the bugs out - there's no need to upgrade", the next thing to say is "So we don't need a gigantic web development team, right?"

    This is the only reason I can think of for some of the upgrades I've seen at major websites the past year or so - websites that were previously functional, easy to use, fast, etc. and are now buggy, overladen with crap, etc.
  • CraigsList does it right. Very simple interface, and displays fast and reliably.

    Shame even Slashdot doesn't. I'm using classic index, and that's greatly helped, but still see little "x"s, such as next to most every menu item on the right hand side - on my browser, for example, "Prefs" is followed by a space and "x".

    I don't understand what all the Javascript and other extra nonsense in most sites (some noteable exceptions are interactive apps, such as Google Maps, which works amazingly well) is needed for ot

    • by Myopic (18616)

      There are a number of posts in this discussion saying what you said, but I can't say I agree. I remember the old Slashdot, and the new Slashdot is a big improvement. I've never had a problem loading the site or having it work incorrectly, although years ago I had longstanding problems with Slashdot. Also, I like the new eBay layout better than the old one. It's nice. Moreover, I generally like the new wave of advanced website interfaces, which I find much more compelling than plain HTML pages.

      That's just my

    • Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

      by argent (18001)

      I have been finding it harder and harder to avoid being thrown willy-nilly into the new Slashdot beta interface. For a while I was getting half-beta half-vanilla, until I complained on another forum and it got to a slashdot developer that way.

      Now I'm finding that links to articles from comment pages take you to a different URL which always shows a "rich" interface whether you have it enabled or not.

      Slashdot... dump the beta, and drop the fancy user interface. You're better off without it.

  • The comments given by one rep in customer service doesn't really equate to eBay as a company blaming users. Clearing cache and cookies is pretty much an eBay rep's cookie cutter response for any such problems, and if that doesn't work they try other things. Or it could be the rep was just bad, didn't get a memo, or that they hadn't filed a bug yet.

    Trust me, I'm no fan of eBay, but I don't think it's valid to say the company is blaming users for the description errors based on that one rep's comment alone
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @12:39AM (#29402967) Homepage Journal

    I complained to them about a year ago before the new design because you couldn't see stuff if your screen resolution was not high enough. They blew me off in a round-about way. Thus, this is not new.

    I wish these websites would have a KISS Mode, where all the browser-busting eye-candy could be turned optionally off. And no, I don't mean these guys [wikipedia.org].
       

  • Ebay SCAM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2009 @12:51AM (#29403011)
    Years ago, I had an ebay account with two negative feedbacks. Instead of trying to get them removed, I just opened a new accout. My new account was in excellent standing for more than 3 year and I was a platinum power seller. I was given an ebay account manager along with a paypal manager because of the monthly volume I was selling. One day, my platinum power seller account was closed and I called to see why. My manager said that my powerseller account had been linked to my first account, which was not in good standing and was closed by ebay. It takes ebay 3 years to link accounts? I've had the same address and IP address for the past 15 years. I asked what I had to do in order to reopen my powerseller account and I was told by my ebay manager, that I had to resolve the 2 negative feedbacks on my original account (which was more than 4 years old by this point). I managed to log into my original account with my managers help (because I no longer used that email address associated w/the original account). Once I logged into my original account, I emailed both buyers and asked if they would be willing to remove their negative feedbacks. Both customers agreed. Both customers left negative feedback because they felt as though they overpaid. I offered to give them $100 each to make things right. I called my ebay manager back and told him both buyers would remove their negative feedbacks, which he told me, would put my original account back in good standing, which would re-open my powerseller account. The following day, my ebay manager called me and said too much time had passed for me to resolve these feedbacks and ebay would not allow my customers to remove them. I appealed this all the way up to the office of the president and got nowhere. I will join any class action lawsuit out there in an effort to get reinstated on ebay. My customers always recd their merchandise. I paid over 5k per month just in ebay listing/selling fees. That should tell you the volume I was doing. This doesnâ(TM)t include the fees I paid each month to paypal, which of course, Iâ(TM)m banned from them to.
  • the sad truth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rakslice (90330) <rakslice@@@gmx...net> on Sunday September 13, 2009 @03:23AM (#29403425) Homepage Journal

    In many organizations the size of eBay, the front line support staff has more of a chance of having the pope over for dinner than they have getting specs for their company's software changed to incorporate user feedback. All they can do is accept the software, broken-as-designed and all, and help users work around or cope with the brokenness.

  • by nicolaiplum (169077) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:09PM (#29408007)

    This is not a technology problem. This is a business problem. If you are running a shopfront, online or offline, in a competitive marketplace, you need to make it as accessible as possible to all the customers you want. For eBay, that is "everyone" (for a hot-dog stand, it is also "everyone"; for a Rolex dealer, it's only people who can afford a Rolex). The higher you make the barrier to entry, the fewer customers you will have.
    Now if you're a person wanting a partner to sell your stuff with, do you want the stupid partner, or the smart one?
    If you're a customer wanting to buy, do you use the easy website that works, or the one that doesn't work right? What incentive is there for you to use the hard-to-use site?
    eBay thinks they have incentives (product range, large base of existing users, etc) to overcome these things. They may be right. They could be wrong. It's their business choice to make it work less well for some people. If they are unable to make it both work better for some people and well enough for others, they may have a serious business problem; if they choose to make it better for some people and worse for others, that's a courageous business choice. If it makes them, or their sellers, less money, it's stupid.

"Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside desperate to get out." -- Montaigne

Working...