Zipcar makes zero points with me for new website!

I’ve been using Zipcar now for about six months and for the most part I love the service.  Especially since I moved into an apartment building that has a bunch of Zipcars parked in the garage below.  For those that aren’t familiar with the company or it’s concept, Zipcar is a car-sharing company that rents cars by the hour which can be reserved within seconds once you’ve been approved for the program. 

One thing that I’ve always loved about Zipcar is that I can easily make a reservation or extend my current reservation right from my Motorola Q Smartphone.  Well, I could do that up until a few days ago. That’s when Zipcar launched "the redesign of its web-reservation and patent-pending "Z3D Knowledge Center." 

When the folks at Zipcar were hinting about this new system last month and allowed members to try it out, the first thing I noticed was that it didn’t work at all from my phone.  Not even in the "Full Desktop" view that I can normally use for even the worst designed websites.  I then went to send feedback regarding the new site, and the Operating System choices were as follows:

Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Mac
Linux
Other

I thought for sure this must just be an oversight during the pre-launch… that of course they would come out with http://mobile.zipcar.com (or the stylish http://m.zipcar.com).  But it now looks as though they just didn’t even think about it.  Now I’m not a web development expert by any means… I do have a fair understanding of the ajax elements though.  More importantly, I use plenty of mobile web applications and sites to know how important it is to make sure that mobile users can freely access your web site.  Especially if your primary busines is mobility!

To be honest, Zipcar does make it rather easy to extend your reservation over the phone on their automated system.  It’s just a couple of digits to press.  But, that’s only convenient if you are extending an hour or so and the car you are currently using isn’t booked after your slot.  Any situation that’s more complex really requires a view of availability… and that brings us back to the browser that doesn’t work on my phone anymore. 

C’mon Zipcar!  Is it really that sleepy in Boston?

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2 thoughts on “Zipcar makes zero points with me for new website!

  1. hmmm..Zipcar\’s new website has been working just fine for me, though I have not tried to access it via phone.  If it acts like you say it does, there\’s a problem.  Hope you gave Zipcar your user feedback.  And no, I don\’t think Boston is "sleepy"…MIT, Bose, and countless others are doing groundbreaking work in usability / user research / voice of the customer. 

  2. I most certainly did provide Zipcar with my feedback and was pleasantly surprised to get a personal response from their VP of Engineering, Doug Williams, stating that a mobile interface is in the works.  While this is good news, I wonder how they allowed the problem to happen in the first place.  Just last night I was in a situation that I really needed to extend my reservation for a couple of hours.  There was a reservation on the car following mine, but I couldn\’t tell when that was without speaking to someone and incurring an "assistance fee".  Had I been able to access the site on my MotoQ\’s browser I would have been done in less than half the time, and without any additional fees.  If I had never been able to access the site on my phone that\’s one thing (still not good though), but since it was something I had become accostomed to, removing the ability only makes for a frustrated end-user.  I wonder how they research that.
     
     

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