October 25, 2010

Lazy Programmers, Installment 315

So, during a brief engagement with ING Direct's web site I receive the following error message:
 It was complaining because a) I had used a one-digit form for the month (i.e. 9/19/2010 rather than 09/19/2010), and b) because I had just entered the telephone numbers, as is my wont, as ten-digit strings.

What I want to know is, is there any user-centered QA in effect on this site? Who exactly decreed that dates had to be entered in that inflexible format? Who reviewed the stupid decision to require that specific format for telephone numbers, when it's actually much easier to simply throw away anything that isn't a digit, store that and then format numbers when they are printed? Finally, does anyone at ING care how much trouble they put their users to?

See, I've been in the business long enough to remember the days when computers were there to make things easier for user-type people, not for the programmers. This is clearly a lost approach, one sees so many ridiculous requirements such as the above.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed. On the UK T-Mobile website. There is a form where you enter your phone number. I normaly cut and paste my number from my contacts list. The T-Mobile form not ony insists "digits only" (which would be OK-ish, though pointless and annoying, if this was made clear on the page, but it's not), but some muppet has set a maximum character count for the field. This causes the string to be truncated if you paste in anything other than the naked digits, so you can't easily edit the string in the field to fit with their stupid limitation, which should be handled in code anyway. I end up having to go via a text editor.

Pisses me off every time.

Catherine said...

I think the fact that it's possible to impose various constraints, validation, etc. convinces many programmers that they should exercise a sort of smug sort of power over their silly little demenses - that we hold the power of the code, so the users should accommodate us, instead of the other way around.