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Posted by on Sep 30, 2012

The ‘Blooper’ at Amsterdam University

The ‘Blooper’ at Amsterdam University

‘Bloopers’ are minor details in an experience that are not right. They disrupt what is often an otherwise pleasant conversation with the customer, and can sow seeds of doubt in the customer’s mind : if the company lets this happen, can I trust them to do what they say?

And Bloopers are almost always easy to fix, which is why  it’s  too bad that they crop up so frequently.  Focus on detail is key to making any customer experience an A+.

The 2 grammatical errors above (can you find them?) were on the confirmation page for the Open Day at Amsterdam University College.  Normally, these wouldn’t  qualify as a Blooper. After all,  English isn’t the first language in Holland, and typo’s are all over the Dutch web (also in Dutch). Why should 2 typo’s disrupt an otherwise good experience on the website of this college?

What makes this a Blooper is the context.

For a long time, all a Dutch high school graduate had to do to get into university was  sign up.

But over the last 10 years, universities  have been investing in a rather non-Dutch pursuit :  “excellence” in education.  Delft,  Amsterdam, Leiden & Utrecht universities have all  introduced some element of selection for  popular studies, like Medicine and  Engineering. And all have introduced a new concept : University Colleges, a US-style Bachelor programme, offering a broad Liberal Arts & Sciences curriculum in English to the world’s best and brightest students.

The ambition is high : for example, one of the founders of the Amsterdam University College is  Prof. Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study  at Princeton.

So the students who go to the site to sign up for the Open Day are those who are probably also considering schools like  Oxford, Princeton and Yale.  They may come to the site to find out about this new option : does AUC have the quality that the others do?

And these 2 errors unnecessarily create doubt:   Is AUC really top quality if it doesn’t know how to spell success?

 (note: We alerted AUC of the error. It is a great education initiative and I’m sure it will be fixed soon).

From the Amsterdam University College website.



  1. I’m guessing the “form sucessfully sent” line is a system message that the AUC web editors have no control over, as it has been programmed by the IT guys. And changing it is probably an ‘extra requirement’ that needs to be planned for a future update. But I agree, quality is in the detail.

  2. Bet you are right Peter. So too bad, since to change that text for the IT guys is just a quick edit in HTML. I’m going to try and see if it’s fixed yet. I did email them, but got no response. Thanks for the input.

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