Security features and user annoyances

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Technology
June 30th, 2003 • 10:15 pm

I am a regular customer of the Chapters Indigo on-line store here in Canada (although I am starting to use more and more) and have always been annoyed by several aspects of the design of their web site.

Yesterday, I decided to go one step further and file a complaint:

From: Pierre Igot
Received: 06/29/2003 05:18pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT – 4:00 )
To: Site Feedback
Subject: Site Feedback

When I go to the site and go to edit my wish list, I’m asked
to log in using my user name and password. Fine.

Then I browse and add things to my shopping bag and
click on “Check Out”… and I am asked to log in again!

What gives? It doesn’t make any sense. I’m already logged
in. Why do I have to enter my user name and PW again?

Please advise.


I had little doubt about the kind of answer that I would get, and today I received exactly the kind of answer that I expected:

From: Juvy (General Inquiries)
Date: Lund juin 30, 2003 14:47:36 Canada/Atlantic
To: Pierre Igot
Subject: Re: Site Feedback <<#12627-212586#>>

Dear Pierre Igot,

Thank you for your email.

In regards to your questions about logging in, we would like to inform you that this is a security feature we have on our website.

For security purposes, the website will ask you to log in again when you are ready to make your purchases.

We appreciate hearing from our customers and value the information and feedback that we receive from you. We are always working to improve our site to make it as user friendly as possible.

I would like to confirm that your concerns have been forwarded to our management team.

Should you have any other questions, please let us know.

Thank you for choosing Chapters Indigo Online.

Best regards,

I just love the way that such people are instructed to present user annoyances as “security features”. I couldn’t resist sending the following reply:

From: Pierre Igot
Date: Lund juin 30, 2003 15:06:38 Canada/Atlantic
To: Juvy (General Inquiries)
Subject: Re: Site Feedback <<#12627-212586#>>

Thanks for your response. However, I’m sure you realize that what you call a “security feature” is just an annoyance for the user, and that many other commercial sites, including the widely used, do not have such a “feature” and are, as far as I know, just as secure as your site.



Can’t blame me for not trying!

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