Some reminders from Amazon and the BBC

This weekend has brought a few reminders for L&D (well, actually, any web-powered service provider) from difficult experiences for two of the biggest players – Amazon and the BBC.


  1. If your service isn’t working, communicate.  Amazon UK and, apparently, Germany have been down at times today.  At the same time, irrelevant tweets have been posted by Amazon UK – rather than anything explaining the problem.  If you own a webpage I’d say you really need to support it via Twitter, if you are a global company that should really be 24/7 support.
  2. Integrated systems are not always best.  I noticed the Amazon UK problems from Prime Video not being accessible on my PS3 – that a failure can impact video, retail site and phone users is pretty terrible service.  This raises some interesting questions for L&D about putting all your content through one interface or taking a safer approach of spreading the risk between, say, LMS, video, assessment and communication apps.
  3. Don’t go for a big push if you’re not sure the system can handle it.  Obviously, for Amazon to be down in major European markets, there has been some kind of catastrophe failure/attack.  However, you have to wonder how much of an impact Amazon’s recent pushing of Prime Video has had, for example, I accidentally opted in to a month trial when buying DVDs recently.  For the rest of us, it reminds us how gradual roll outs can often be a better move than ‘big and loud’.


  1. Get the users involved.  The new BBC mobile homepage has predictably led to a lot of negative comments.  Whilst you can never please everyone, it does feel a little like trying to surface click-bait BBC content rather than helping surface top content and navigate to key areas.
  2. Scroll of death.  An issue that has cropped up with many LMS systems over the years – the new homepage seems to encourage scrolling over more intelligent navigation.
  3. Just For Me.  A lack of personalization/customization seems to encourage bookmarking of your personal interest topics rather than coming through home.
  4. Images at your peril.  Especially on mobile, space and time are precious – the forcing of images (especially when they often do not add anything to a piece of content) is just not helpful in my eyes.  Sure, if the image has a purpose then use one (for example, the car camera of the Taiwan Plane) but don’t use templates that add images just for the sake of it.

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader ( and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

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