The blog of Rahoul Baruah from 3hv Ltd

What's going on?

My name is Rahoul Baruah (aka Baz) and I'm a software developer in Leeds (England).

This is a log of things I've discovered while writing software in Ruby on Rails. In other words, geek stuff.

However, I've decided to put this blog on ice - I would ask you to check out my business blog here (or subscribe here).

13 June, 2006

User Error

I saw an amazing thing at the weekend. No, it wasn't England's struggle to hold on to a one-nil lead. It was my friend attempting to sign on to an online betting site (in order to place a bet on the Ivory Coast to beat Argentina).

He knew his wife had already signed up for the site. But she couldn't remember her username (and without her username there was no way she could ask for a password reminder, which she also did not know).

So he tried to register himself. Which is where the trouble started, as his chosen username was taken. This prompted a fit of rage. He tried an alternative. Also taken. More rage. "Why the fuck doesn't it just give me a username?" he screamed. He asked us for alternatives. Eventually we managed to suggest one that worked. Everything OK, we thought. But no - next up, the site refused his card because it was already registered. By his wife.

The laptop was in serious danger of being thrown out of the window - my friend eventually stormed out of the house and placed the bet the old-fashioned way. And the online site missed out on some sure-fire cash (as Argentina unsurprisingly beat the World Cup newcomers).

The lesson? No matter how easy the developers think a site is to use, someone somewhere is going to get in a rage with you, for something that you regard as perfectly reasonable (although the lack of a username reminder was a sure-fire flaw). And you will lose out (probably financially) because of it.

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