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Is There A Hall Of Shame For Usability?

(Disclaimer: The following post will be the tallest post I have ever written)

If you’re wondering what that blue line a few paragraph down is, I’ll start by telling you that it’s not a blue line. It’s the Wi-Fi agreement for Kohl’s free in-store Wi-Fi access. No, really. If there isn’t a hall of shame for usability, there should be. I’m no user interface or user experience guru, but I’m pretty sure that I can recognize a bad interface experience when I see it. Which brings me to something as simple as Kohl’s free Wi-Fi login page (which you can see in all its glory after the break). So that blue line is actually a thumbnail of the scaled down version of the full user agreement image which you can see here. Just to get on Kohl’s Wi-Fi.

The image that I’ve posted is scaled down to 240 × 23508.  That’s scaled down from the original 640 x 62688 that I screen grabbed with my iPhone (which was not easy let me tell you). Not only did it take at least five minutes to screen cap, but to re-assemble it took more time than I’m going to admit.

So let’s take a minute and think about this. You go into Kohl’s and want to hop on their Wi-Fi. No biggie right? What most people do is probably the same thing they do when they see anything that looks like a EULA; scroll to the bottom, ignore it, and agree. Scroll past all sixty two thousand pixels of agreement.


Swipe, swipe, swipe (repeat 20 more time) and you could easily have agreed to anything if you scrolled down and did’t read the agreement. And I’d be willing to bet big money that virtually no one actually does read the damned thing. Who has the time? Does anyone in Kohls’ legal or IT departments think that people actually come into their store, see the agreement, spend the next 15 minutes reading it, and then start shopping? Am I supposed to grab a coffee, find a seat, and peruse this novella while educating myself on Kohls’ policy on cotton from Uzbekistan (it’s in there) or the clean diamonds trade act (it’s in there too)? How does this even apply to me using their Wi-Fi? Shit, all I wanted to do was get on Wi-Fi so I could check Twitter and email so I don’t hit the damned data cap on my overpriced Verizon account.

Sixty two thousand pixels.

Welcome to Kohl’s.

Whoever thought this up and green lighted it should be dipped in honey, rolled in sugar, and tied to an ant hill. Why would I need to swipe through the Magna Carta just to get on Wi-Fi? Kohl’s can’t seriously expect anyone to read this, at least not in its entirety, so why bother putting it up in the first place? At best, the only reason I could come up with is that Kohl’s lawyers must believe that by putting every possible “cover your ass” clause and warning under the sun in front of their Wi-Fi access, that they believe that they’re indemnified from any damages that might occur. When I go to Starbucks, Panera, or any of the increasing number of places that provide free Wi-Fi, I am typically greeted with a single page of text, maybe a checkbox to agree to their terms, and a button to sign on. Quick and easy. Exactly like Wi-Fi. Why can’t Kohl’s do that? Do they know something that all these other places don’t?

So if anyone can explain to me the logic behind this, I would love to hear it.


One thought on “Is There A Hall Of Shame For Usability?

  1. Really really annoying… I don’t know what they (and some others like them) are thinking…
    Next time you can use the really useful Awesome Screenshot (iOS 8) for iPhone.

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