Have you ever felt like a website was playing a game of ‘Guess Who?’ with your location? My recent visit to to AAA.com was met with an insistent chorus of zip code prompts. I started with a straightforward deep link from the RI DMV to AAA’s driver’s ed courses. Little did I know, I was about to embark on a location-sharing odyssey.
Upon arrival, AAA.com greeted me not with a warm welcome but with a stern gatekeeper: a large modal demanding my zip code. No sooner had I complied than the driver’s ed page, apparently suffering from short-term memory loss, asked me yet again for my zip code. But the journey didn’t end there. After finally reaching a map page and course options, Chrome stepped in, asking—yes, you guessed it—to share my location.
In a span of 13 seconds, I was asked for my location three times. It’s emblematic of a digital experience that feels disjointed, like a large web system that forgot to send run user experience tests. It’s far from a holistic experience. Not to mention that the subdomain of the URL is “northeast”.
And it’s not just a matter of clicking annoyance. It’s the philosophy behind it. Each redundant prompt is a missed connection, a lost opportunity to show that AAA.com sees its users as more than just an amalgamation of geo-tags and dollar signs. I’ve captured this comedy of errors in a video for your viewing pleasure (and hopefully, AAA.com’s learning opportunity).
Now, I’m sure the webmasters at AAA.com, who I picture as digital wizards with a penchant for zip codes, have the best intentions. But here’s a friendly nudge: your visitors are on a journey, and while every journey needs a map, they don’t need to be asked three times where they’re starting from. Your website is a point of connection with your visitors. It’s how you reach out and shake their hand. We should remember that when building website experiences. Ask yourself how someone might feel if you ask their name three times in succession after meeting them in person. They’d think your looney or a robot.
In the spirit of the open and intuitive web we know and love, let’s hope AAA.com can streamline its process. After all, we’re here for the ride, not the roadblocks.