Wednesday, 18 March 2009

"Golden Tickets" results

Well, news just in....

As I suspected, only a fraction of the Friends who actually book online tested the system last week, with apparently 600 waiting in the horrid grey waiting room. I don't think I've ever logged in on a booking day and found myself closer than 1000th in the queue, so perhaps testing at 3pm on a workday afternoon hasn't replicated the chaos of an actual booking day.

The waiting room has been moved to a new server, which they say worked well becuase people moved smoothly onto the main website. If that works on booking day, that will be a huge improvement because mostly you get timed out and thrown out of the site just before you get to a decent number in the queue and have to start again.

It's difficult to get across to readers how important it is to be first on the website on a booking day - because it is a race against the clock to find the tickets you want and pay for them before someone else does. Tickets for masterclasses and some Insight events go so fast, and you are also doing battle with the box office staff who are processing postal applications which means that as you sit in the waiting room for perhaps an hour or more, you can literally see your chances of getting the seats you want vanishing before your eyes.

For a supposed "World Class organisation", as they call themselves, there should be no waiting room.

And, goodness, even more news - they've managed to increase the number of concurrent users to - wait for it - 250. They call this "a significant increase on what was possible for booking period 3".

Well, let me tell you, I was told that 200 concurrent users was the norm until this momentus shift. 50 more concurrent users ? C'mon, hardly "a significant increase" and a drop in the ocean when you think about the proportion of the 56,000 or so Friends who might be trying to book as a rule.

Apparently over 500 Friends gave feedback which they describe as a "valuable insight into the way that many [Friends] use the website".

I'm not sure of the value of this testing at such a low volume, but next Tuesday is d-day for booking period 4 so we'll see what happens.

I don't even get the newsletter any more; since they made some template changes it just doesn't reach me any longer and the online office have to send me a link. I have told the Friends office but they have done nothing beyond suggesting that it must be my computer which is at fault. How then do they explain my receipt of the "Golden tickets" emails last week, also from the Friends office ?

Starting to gird my loins for the bun fight next week.....

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