Ambiguous login instructions

Queries, errors or glitches regarding Exetel's public web site
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goanna300
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:02 am
Location: Alice Springs

Ambiguous login instructions

Post by goanna300 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:47 am

Hi all,
I am taking advantage of this successful login to address the recurrent issue of failed logins.
The reason is your own login field labels. To me they seem inconsistent and ambiguous. I am quite sure there is a method to your madness and that I would eventually understand if it is explained carefully to me. However, *another explanation is not what I'm asking for*. I don't visit the site often and whatever you tell me I'll forget, in-between visits. [call it cognitive decline, password fatigue, whatever].

When I log into forums from the Home page, I use my forums login and password.
When I try to add a post I am sent to a login prompt which asks for my service number.
Above the username field I am told that my username will suffice.
When I try in turn:
Account name
forum login name
service number -
Each is refused.
When I finally succeed I am intrigued as to what I've done right. I don't have this trouble with other websites I can think of.
Can I suggest re-phrasing the field labels, fixing anything that needs fixing, updating the "from June 2010 we are requiring registration.."
I have created sites & systems myself and very often been lucky enough to sit behind a colleague as they try to navigate my own clumsy GUIs. When I see them click, ponder & sigh, I usually thank them and re-design. Exetel does not have the same reliable feedback. But you can probably get a good idea from your access logs as to what all we users are doing.
Could your excellent team please set aside an hour and re-think your communication?

[BTW, usability is not always tied to success! eg when I read out statistics showing Whirpool Forums as the most visited Australian-hosted site, my government web team co-workers gasped in disbelief, saying how much trouble they have in navigating that site!]

Klaas
Posts: 609
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 1:48 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by Klaas » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:58 am

Hmm, I have no trouble logging in at all.

First log in with forum username and forum password. At this point I can navigate and read the forums.

If I want to post, I get another login page, and enter my service number and service password (the same username and password that my modem uses to connect to Exetel).

Done.

The instructions seem clear enough to me.

goanna300
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:02 am
Location: Alice Springs

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by goanna300 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:48 am

Klaas wrote:Hmm, I have no trouble logging in at all....
The instructions seem clear enough to me.
Klass,
When you have made, as you have, 1800+ posts, you are probably no longer viewing the site as a newcomer does.
Which, I'm afraid, means you should disqualify yourself from the task of predicting what users are doing.
There do exist guidelines (ie truckloads of textbooks!) on usability.

I say, Exetel team, please open up the phpBB user interface and add such contextual help as you find necessary after a sincere re-think.

BTW, Klass, your simple synopsis would make a reasonable start:
"First log in with forum username and forum password....
If I want to post, I get another login page, and enter my service number and service password .."

However- it's no substitution for standard user/group permissions. Users can browse, only clients can post.
One system GUI guideline is that people learn to use your own GUI from all the GUIs they've already been using.

What everybody but me seems to know how to use is Face book. I'd guess that if Exetel emulated some of FB's navigation or authentication then there would be more happy visitors and even more, helpful contributors.

PS: "Cognitive decline /dysfunction" (ie ageing) is an emerging disability sector for whom web-masters are now supposed to implement accessibility measures just as much as they would for the blind or those who type with a pencil held in their teeth.
When an Exetel user wants to contribute to a forum, it's now considered unacceptable for that user to need to go through several steps (hyperlinks, looking up their access number & password) - and still remember clearly what it was that they had wanted to say in the first place.
Dr Karl says something like, "Man was well adapted to hunting the woolly mammoth- [but less able to cope with complex mental tasks].

You can keep the lazy way: [the customer is always wrong]
-put in the small print, "Read the Forum Guidelines first";
-even eliminate the less intelligent users by contriving a deliberately tricky interface.
-Or you can do it your own way like the Sherman Tank-style Whirlpool Forums, which we all love anyway!

Klaas
Posts: 609
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 1:48 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by Klaas » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:39 pm

If I recall correctly (being in my 50's, and no doubt subject to cognitive decline /dysfunction :) ) the two step access process was brought in to allow non Exetel customers to read the forums, but not to post, and this was brought in only in the last couple of years. Before that anyone could register and post.

I think this was deemed to be more explicit than using the built in permissions in phpBB to restrict posting to Exetel customers.

Do you have any pointers as to the authentication method used by Facebook - I have a Facebook account, and it seems to be just username and password, which is little different to the forums here. If I'm wrong, than it may be useful posting the method/process in Exetel's suggestion box.

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Dazzled
Volunteer Site Admin
Posts: 6002
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:16 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by Dazzled » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:59 pm

It is too awkward, and needs attention. The mods have asked for simplification, but there always seems to be something more important for the coding staff. I am hoping still.

You will also see a login problem with John Linton's blog. Even when logged into the blog page with your Exetel password, you won't necessarily be able to read comments or add them.

I once had browsers that wouldn't log in. My solution, for what it's worth, and I come here a lot, is to use Opera, site-preference masked as Firefox, with both the service name/password and forum name/password stored in the wand for the same web page address. The wand then handles it.

Klaas
Posts: 609
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 1:48 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by Klaas » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:39 pm

I've never had problems with Safari, either in Mac or Windows flavour, both here and with John Linton's blog. I have had the problems you mention with John's blog when using Internet Explorer and just put it down to IE's rather loose interpretation of standards.

goanna300
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:02 am
Location: Alice Springs

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by goanna300 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:57 am

Dazzled wrote:The mods have asked for simplification, but there always seems to be something more important for the coding staff.
Thanks, Dazzled.

Skills shortage, like the rest of this country. Strangely though, I don't quite think of Exetel quite like I do of any other telco.
You know what? I can live with the tricky login. Any other telco would have out-sourced their web admin stuff long ago to another country like India where they did make enough babies in the 80's to cope with all their IT skills needs of this millennium.
Exetel does it in-house, keeps prices down and we still benefit from a reasonably informative self-help forum.

I can hope & wait with you all.

ForumAdmin
Posts: 3663
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by ForumAdmin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:04 pm

I will ask the appropriate people to see what can be done.

Franpa
Posts: 433
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 11:44 am
Location: Australia, QLD

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by Franpa » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:25 pm

Looks like the username was re-worded to Service number when logging in to make a post, I guess this issue is resolved then?
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ShaminG
Exetel Staff
Posts: 960
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Ambiguous login instructions

Post by ShaminG » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:20 pm

Looks like the username was re-worded to Service number when logging in to make a post, I guess this issue is resolved then?
I believe It's still the same process,

- login to forum with the forum credentials
- When you want to post, login with exetel member's portal login details

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