It might be an oft-repeated thing, but it’s true nonetheless: a poorly-designed website makes your customers angry.

Tonight, Shannon and I were booking our honeymoon flights, and found that Air France had the best flights and prices. Little did we know how much suckage awaited us, and how much the website made me wish that we could find our tickets on another airline. Four examples of poor design that were memorable from the purchasing experience: it doesn’t even try to translate written-out locations (like “Malaga, Spain”) into airport codes but rather throws an error up and makes you find the link to pull-down menus full of locations; the seat selector doesn’t work in Firefox or Mozilla but also doesn’t offer you any other way to choose your seats and won’t let you proceed; when asked for a phone number, it throws up a cryptic error when a dash is included, but offers no guidance about the format it expects; and the “create an account” form claims that Shannon’s (completely valid) passport number is invalid. And while it was possible to work around the first, third, and fourth problems on my Powerbook, the second problem made us abort the purchase entirely and restart everything on a PC, a luxury that many other people might not have and that might lead them to just give up and go to a competitor.