Verizon’s UI

Since we’re in the process of mov­ing, I’ve spent a lot of time switch­ing util­i­ties to the new apart­ment.

For a few months now, I’ve been pay­ing our Ver­i­zon phone & DSL bill online, because it’s easy and I don’t need to dig up my check­book. How­ev­er, Verizon’s online bill man­age­ment leaves much to be desired…

Verizon.com welcome screenWhen you log in, the account sum­ma­ry dis­plays the amount you owe, list­ed under “Pay­ment due” (see screen-shot at left). So, I would peri­od­i­cal­ly log in, note the dol­lar amount, and after a few clicks, a cred­it-card pay­ment was sub­mit­ted.

There is a prob­lem with this sys­tem however—the bill sum­ma­ry info is tak­en direct­ly from your last print­ed bill, and is in no way reflec­tive of any pay­ments made since the billing date. This result­ed in us over­pay­ing month after month.

Gen­er­al­ly, it seems to me that a brief account sum­ma­ry should show your up-to-the-minute bal­ance, and click­ing “View Bill” should show your last print­ed bill (which may not show recent pay­ments). This log­ic, how­ev­er, seems to have escaped Verizon’s web team.

Verizon.com page shown when you click View BillInstead of the cur­rent bal­ance greet­ing you after log­ging in, you’re forced to click on “View Bill”, and scroll down the page to a curi­ous­ly phrased line that reads: Total Cur­rent Live Bal­ance as of 9/11/2003 is : $0 (see screen-shot at left).

Total Cur­rent Live Bal­ance. Does that sound like an after­thought, or what? Why on earth would this bit of infor­ma­tion be found in the mid­dle of a past bill, and not on the billing sum­ma­ry?

I can only sur­mise that a lot of users like me start­ed com­plain­ing about the con­fu­sion, so they had one of their back-end devel­op­ers insert a bit of code, with­out both­er­ing to hire a UI per­son and ask them if what they were doing was intu­itive.

Though it may seem like a small issue, I think it is embar­rass­ing­ly bad—because it could cre­ate a neg­a­tive per­cep­tion that online Ver­i­zon pay­ments are a has­sle. And, it’s not going to con­vince users to switch to “Paper-Free Billing”.

Attn: Ver­i­zon, I am avail­able for UI con­sult­ing.

0 Responses to “Verizon’s UI


  • No Comments

Leave a Reply