A few months back I came away from TicketMaster.com with a really bad taste in my mouth, and 2 really expensive tickets in my pocket.

Unlike a traditional e-commerce site where you have time to evaluate your purchase before checking out, TicketMaster.com has unrealistic time limits on each step of the checkout. After searching for tickets, here’s what they give you:

  • Confirm seating selection: 2 minutes
  • Log in or sign up for a new account: 1 minute
  • Complete purchase: 2 minutes

In the first step, it took nearly 2 minutes just to pull up the web site of the venue, find their seating chart, load their ridiculously slow Seating Chart Java applet, enter the section and row of the seats that TicketMaster was holding for me, and wait another 20 seconds for the 360-degree panorama to load. So by the time I did that and saw that they were really good seats I had just enough time to go back and click Continue. I had already been burned once by the time limit, so it felt like a pretty high-presure sale situation the second time around.

Next screen: sign up for an account in 1 minute. 7 fields (one of which is hidden until the end), 1 minute total, 8.5 seconds per field. That’s crazy.

Last step: Checkout, 2 minutes, including billing and shipping info. Have you ever been rushed trying to enter a credit card #? You are guaranteed to make a mistake.

* This post was originally published on January 21, 2008 at http://www.csb7.com/blogs/whyblogwhy/2008/01/21/time_limits_on_forms_really_bad_user_exp