Input Me To Death

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Tuesday, 12 September 2023

I’ve filled in a lot of forms lately.

We’ve been in our house for two years and now we’re doing renovations. We’re buying kitchens, radiators, and doors. All of those require setting up a new account to checkout.

Our home insurance is also up, so time to shop around for a new deal.

I had to report a missed bin collection to my local council.

I’ve filled in a lot of forms lately.

90% of them barely fucking worked.

The worst offenders

Render.com

Even developers, when faced with this super helpful error, might struggle to create a new database.

A form input on Render.com with an error explaining that the text must match a specific regex

How am I meant to understand this?

After some work it became apparent it didn’t like dashes in the database name.

Admiral insurance

I couldn’t add Lila as a second driver to my car insurance because it thought her phone number was invalid.

Waltham Forest Council

The date picker was a dropdown of recent dates. Upon submission, the form errored and told me I hadn’t entered the date in the right format.

American Express

For some reason it masks some characters in the username field when logging in with a saved username, like a password field would. Occasionally, the browser remembers your username with the dots as the characters like example••••. This isn’t your username though, so now you’re logging in with the wrong username.

One Time Passcodes

Masking the input for a one time passcodes might seem secure, but it makes it more likely that you lose your position as you glance back and forward between your phone.

Barclay’s

I’m a Monzo customer, but I use Barclay’s for a few things. When did high street banks get so complicated for logging in? You’ve got a membership number, memorable word, 5 digit passcode, and an app based pin sentry. How are you meant to keep track of those things without writing them down somewhere, thus making them insecure?

I also use Secrets for password management, but you can see how someone who doesn’t use a password manager would just write these on a post-it note and stick it to their screen.

One shout out

Over the years, giving companies, and/or friends that worked at said companies, some grief about their UX, sometimes managed to get features built. My contribution to the Monzo codebase, was getting Apple’s OTP autocomplete attribute added to Monzo’s 3D secure prompt.

It’s one of my favourite features in iOS. It’s even extended to emails with OTP in iOS 17.

Loading pains

There’s been plenty of critique recently of single page apps, but my biggest issue with them is focussing on rendering anything first.

Then, I watch a loading animation, while I wait on the thing that I wanted to actually load. It sometimes feels like I need knowledge of how the proverbial sausage is made in order to eat the sausage.

It’s not just bad, it’s infuriating.