New Million-Ringgit Price Checking Website in Dire Need of a Major Facelift

This morning, Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism launched consumer price-checking site, 1Malaysia Pengguna Bijak (1MPB) portal. The website consists of price list of consumer goods sold at 1,255 retail outlets across Malaysia. Specifically, the price list comprised 355 consumer products sold at 110 hypermarkets, 100 products at 404 supermarkets, 50 products at 360 wet markets and 100 products at 24-hour convenience stores, reported by Bernama.

Hypermarkets will access the portal to update their own product prices whereas the Ministry’s 1,200 price-watcher officers will update prices for other retail outlets.

The intention of 1MPB is good. Over time, this site enables greater price transparency in the marketplace. It allows consumers to find out the current prices and this can discourage retailers from overcharging essential consumer goods. BUT despite its RM1.4 million development cost, the newly launched portal is already in serious need of a better user interface.

Maybe a large portion of its RM1.4 million development cost went to the backend development and the Ministry have no choice but to settle with a crappy interface design. I wish the Ministry had emphasized on user interface design and allocated more money to engage better designers for this project. At its current version, the user experience design of 1MPB is simply atrocious and messy. It’s a website not designed for usability and is a throwback to the medieval Web.

Another minor issue is the use of as domain name. Isn’t the use of a better choice, as this is a national initiative?

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