We all know the “Location, Location, Location” mantra of real estate agents, so why isn’t “Spell-check, Spell-check, Spell-check” the mantra of web site developers?
Finding an incorrect spelling
Call me crazy, but given that practically every content creation software application includes a spell-check function, there is no excuse for spelling errors on web pages. Agreed that certain language variations spell certain words differently (the British English “colour” versus the US English “color” is but one example) and that the geographic-appropriate spelling format is typically used by default in most instances, but a spelling error in any language variation is still a spelling error.
Case in point: I am attending the Nerium Fall Bash in Anaheim next weekend (November 8-11) and previously booked a hotel room through a travel website. Earlier this week I decided to look at the hotel’s own website to determine its location in relation to the Anaheim Conversion Center (where the event is occurring) to see room pictures, location map etc. Not knowing the actual URL for the hotel I performed a Google search and then clicked on the first search result. The layout of the page content was clearly well-planned and designed, the Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel logo was displayed prominently, and then I noticed it…the incorrect spelling!
Anatomy of the incorrect spelling
The incorrect spelling appears in the first of a series of 4 buttons located on the right side of the web page. In large capital letters, the button declares “AMMENITIES” in white text on a marbled blue background. The offending button appears below the fold so one must scroll to the midpoint of the page to see it, but once unveiled the spelling error stands out like a sore thumb.
The footer at the base of the page indicates both the individual and web design company responsible for creating the page so I emailed both of them as well as the hotel chain to make them aware of the error. Thus far, none have acknowledged my email nor have they corrected the error.
Your initial reaction to this blog might be exactly that – yeah so? No-one’s perfect and bad spellings happen. Which is a fair argument, and I am most certainly not affiliated in any way with the Spell-Check police. However, I will remind you that it’s 2012 and practically every HTML editor and free web page creation application features a basic spell-check utility. Indeed, some of them run the spell-check dynamically so you become aware of your spelling errors seconds after making them.. Absent a spell-checker, it’s hardly difficult to copy your page content into any text editor or email application to utilize its spell-checking capabilities. Having a peer review the content is also a sure-fire way of catching most incorrect spellings.
The bigger deal with incorrect spellings in web content, apart from how badly it reflects upon the content developer and institution, is how the average consumer might react to the content.
Consumers are becoming more aware of malicious email messages and many of the elements that characterize such email hold true also for malicious websites. One of those characteristics is incorrect spelling – ‘course, how someone can spoof a valid website and still introduce spelling errors is beyond me but there you go. So I was somewhat amused by how my appreciation for the page changed once I noticed the spelling error – my first reaction was to leave the page immediately! Had I actually clicked through the page and made a reservation I would still be fretting about whether I had compromised my credit card.
Another spelling error appears
While looking at the page again as I wrote this post I discovered ANOTHER spelling error! The text in the page tab reads “Welcome to Travelodge Aneheim! – A Disney Good Neighbor Hotel” (the redaction of the hotel chain’s name was my decision; the incorrect spelling of Anaheim was not). Perhaps I should email the good folks at Disney instead.
UPDATE: I received an email from the manager of the hotel in question, which included in the body the email he had received from someone at the corporate level of the hotel chain. Apparently the previous owners of the hotel franchise for that location had commissioned the webpage but it should have been taken down several years ago and the current owners of the franchise were unaware of its existence! So my reporting of the spelling error actually helped correct an issue that had existed for several years. Which proves that when you click the “Contact us” or ‘Contact the webmaster” link on a webpage, someone on the other end does receive your email and acts on it where appropriate.
I’m a Nerium Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD at my website: http://www.nerium.com/default.aspx?ID=shywitness