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Things Hong Kong Cinema Websites Need to Change

Recently, I wrote about the increasingly less relevant reminder to refrain from recording films inside Hong Kong cinemas. I don’t assume nobody is trying to do so — recently-screened movies are unlikely to have digital versions available online — but the warning film strip shown before film screening seems toothless if it fails to get a corresponding enforcement online.

Anyway, I am not writing to extend that topic. What I would like to share is an experience I see with Hong Kong cinema websites. They’re primarily used to provide information on what films are currently screened as well as upcoming releases, book tickets online and locations of movie houses.

However, in fulfilling these tasks, there are things that may turn off visitors and become obstacles to a good user experience or a successful conversion.

hk-cinema
Photo credit: http://smart-places.livejournal.com/

Playing Loud Music Once Homepage Loads
Once the homepage loads, a video preview of a featured film also loads by default. Worse, it’s a promotion video and nothing to do with any movie. We understand it’s your job to attract attention but you can certainly do it without distracting / putting off visitors. As Jonathan Follett puts it:

Spam and advertising audio on Web sites—perhaps announcing “You’ve won a free trip” or “Take our survey and receive a gift certificate”—made users want to turn off their computer speakers altogether. 

Asking People to Buy Ticket Before Displaying Cost
After a visitor decides which movie to watch at what time, he/she is now ready to buy the ticket. But one thing that’s still a mystery (at least to a newbie to the website) is how much it costs. MCL Cinema hides the price and shows it only after clicking the ‘Buy’ button.

Charging for ‘Booking Fee’
MCL Cinema charges HK$7 for non-members and HK$5 for members. So if we wish to save dollars through walk-in purchases, we will do it. But that’s not the point. Online presence through the website helps complement work of offline personnel as websites take no day off (unless during maintenance work), can perform task at 2am and other things beyond a human staff can do. In its presence, we cut costs of hiring additional manpower to do its job.

Maybe if front-desk employees are paid peanuts and thousands of dollars are paid monthly to maintain websites (hosting, security certificate, webmasters, etc) then that’s where booking fee makes a little bit of sense.

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Elmer W. Cagape is an SEO consultant based in Hong Kong. Into Seinfeld, Toad the Wet Sprocket, space exploration, comedy films, digital marketing and travel. Follow him on Twitter (@elmercagape).

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