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Specifying registration is a waste of time

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I was urged to take a look at the British Council for offices site, www.bco.org.uk, but I fell into a doze waiting for it to upload a sort of question mark array of apparently deeply significant symbols which, when clicked, turned out to be links to random bits of stupid marketspeak.

Then on to Callenders, the roof people, at www.callenders.co.uk, where, according to the blurb, architects can specify and place orders online. But, uh, oh, you have to register.

Jeeze. OK. Full stops in each of the fields for name, address, position in company and so on and then click at the end. Hey Presto, an error message: 'missing URL'.

OK, hit 'Back'and try again this time with username 'snore', password 'thisispissingmeoff ' (yes, they want a password! ) and e-mail address zzzzz@hotmail.com and full stops for all the rest and. . . back to the same error message. Now I have nothing against Callenders but it should slap the heads of the nincompoops who insisted you have to register before you are allowed to visit, specify, etc.

My informant thinks registration is a big turnoff and I have to agree. Like the sinister cookie, registration is often initiated by web designers to make the site's client feel really significant. But passwords are for the playground - not for the front-end of a company's marketing effort. I mean, just think of that last-minute rush as the junior gathers names for the tender list.Does Callenders really believe that the junior will remember a password from even three months ago, or go through the lengthy process of entering correctly every little detail of their lives?

This column has been chided for last week's encomium on lighting people Erco's site and for missing the interesting coincidence that there is a Czech firm at www.erco.cz/action.htm which produces novelty condoms. They are hand coloured. 'We are making also different shapes and designs by proposal of our customers.' Ah, the Velvet Revolution.

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