Christian Heilmann

Trying to buy a ticket for Henry Rollins

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006 at 10:41 am

Update: The performance was great and I met Henry outside later on for a quick chat. He really is as down to earth as you’d expect. The venue, however, was a joke: Boiling hot and there was no space for your feet (on the most expensive seats).

I am always amazed how hard some web sites make it for you to order a ticket for a show. This Sunday, Henry Rollins is performing at the Hackney Empire in my neck of the woods (I found out by pure chance, seeing a small flyer on a bus-stop). Now, I go to the Hackney Empire web site and get a splash page with an enter button before reaching a nice looking flash interface (what is the use of the splash page?).

I need to select the genre from the menu on the left which is OK enough – although having the current month as the first option would be a nice touch – what is the point of checking shows in the past?

I select Comedy and sure enough Henry pops up. If he hadn’t been the first to show up I’d have to use a flash scroll bar on the right to scroll down. Below the show’s photo are two links (with pointing hands to the right of them): “More info” and “How to book”. I click “How to book” as I do want to book, and get a panel sliding up from below offering me the obvious choices to book “In person or by phone”, “per post” first. Hello? I am online! The next choice is “online booking” which tells me to “Simply click on the show you wish to buy ticket for and follow the instructions on screen.”
In short, clicking the “how to book” link this was a pointless exercise – unless you don’t want to book offline.

I get rid of the panel via the “close this window” (what window?) link and get back to the show to try to “click on the show you wish to buy a ticket for”, but neither the photo of Henry nor the title of the show is linked. Instead, I have to click the “more info” link, which pops up a panel with exactly the same information as the listing and a massive “book here” button.

Clicking this button opens a new browser window listing all shows playing at the Empire at the moment with only a “buy tickets” link in the last column of the table row to buy them. There I have to find the show again and I can finally purchase tickets – in a pretty straight forward interface though.

Now I wonder if Hackney Empire is being paid by clicks on their web site or why there is no “purchase tickets online” link on the first listing?

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