User experience fail, Intuit

This one’s a little old, but still worth sharing. Intuit released a new version of QuickBooks Online a few weeks back, and while any update to that clunky bit of web app is welcome, trying to use the “upgraded” version came with a free package of frustration.

First: The previous version had whined that it wasn’t compatible with Firefox, so I had always had to open QuickBooks in Safari. This time, when I went to open it, suddenly, Safari was all wrong. “Your version of Safari is too new! You need to use some other, lamer browser.”

Try using Firefox

Then: When I wanted to print checks – and bear in mind that printing is something I am able to do from Firefox quite readily now – QuickBooks snapped back “you can’t print from QB in Firefox without a plugin, fool.”

QuickBooks won't work on Safari - try Firefox

And then: When I located the PDF plugin needed to print, the Mozilla add-on site protested: “Your version of Firefox is too old! You need to use a newer, better version.”

Upgrade Firefox to use QuickBooks

The entire process took almost an hour. Logging into QuickBooks Online and printing checks usually takes me less than 10 minutes. That difference isn’t going to break my business, but it was a pain in the ass on a day when I really didn’t have the extra 50 minutes to spare, and more to the point, it was an unnecessary waste of time. That’s no way to treat paying customers, Intuit.

And here’s the lesson for the rest of us: it’s no way for us to treat our customers, either. Why not take a few minutes to examine our practices and make sure we’re not making our clients and customers jump through hoops just to keep doing business with us.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 3, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    That’s what should have been an odd experience, or it would have been years ago, for Intuit products. In the UX field they had a huge rep as being very customer focused, with an easy to use interface, whether it was QuickBooks or MacinTax/TurboTax.

    And I’ve met some of their UX people at conferences and they’re good and talented at what they do, but in recent years Intuit seems to be slipping quite a bit. The humorous slogan in the industry used to be WWTTD? – What would TurboTax do? and that was the gold standard. It seems more like aluminum foil now.

    The kinds of things you’re seeing ought to be part of their error- and issue-finding process. My company’s internal UX team is involved not just up front, designing when requirements are being created, but also during development and throughout the QA process to ensure that not only did the application get developed the way we designed it, but does everything work right as the user goes through the whole product. They aren’t testing enough and I guess they’re getting complacent. It’s sad.