3.02.2007

USPS Stupidity: More design that is hostile to all that is holy

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate the verification code boxes.

Why do I hate them? Well, as the spammers get better, they get harder and harder for ME to read. I fail about one in three!

So, it really disturbs me to see them used when they absolutely, 100% are not needed.

Say this form. This form is for PRINTING (see big red circle) and mailing in your change of address form. It only works if you put a stamp and and envelope around it.

Nonetheless, the USPS has slapped a CAPTCHA style verification box on it.

Are we really worried the spammers are going to print millions of false address forwards (and this is the fifth screen of this application) and spend .39$ each to mail them???


The same application says that to move a family with more than one last name, you have to print the form multiple times. Does it let you go "back" and edit the form? Nooooooooooo. If you try and go back and click (since everything EXCEPT the name is the same), it wipes ALL the forms and makes you "agree" to the terms and conditions again. This made submitting four forms (husband + self x 2 addresses) lots of fun.

There is usability. There is experience design. And there is this. I don't even know what to call it. It's like "design that is hostile to all that is holy."

4 comments:

Phoebe said...

I'd meant to say something else, but then I saw the "Type the characters you see in the picture above" on the comment screen.

Ah, irony!

(And having previewed, I then had to enter a second word verification.)

Phoebe said...

My original comment:

That's your government dollars at work. The same government dollars that produce W-2s which a private-sector employer would be laughed out of business for providing, which use none of the standard boxes, no labels for anything, and print what data they do provide in one corner of a page full of entirely unrelated stuff.

And the same government dollars that produced IRS e-Services. Rather than faxing a paper Power of Attorney (elapsed time, 15 seconds), you can:
1) Complete and fill out the paper form, and have your client sign it
2) Log into e-Services, having previously set up an account (time to set up, 15 minutes, assuming you have your prior-year AGI close to hand; wait time while they mail you your password, 4-6 weeks)
3) Rekey all of the data, and write down a 16-digit confirmation number
4) Use that confirmation number to log the second-to-sign in on a different computer, because if you use the same computer, it's a possible sign that it's not really the second person logging on - maybe it's the first person, and the second person's password has been compromised! Haha - you lose access to both accounts, try again from the beginning
5a) Haha again! Your client hasn't ever filed a tax return (hence the POA), so according to our computers, doesn't exist! Try again with someone else. Or send a fax, which will be accepted without difficulty.
5b) Congratulations, you have a POA on file (elapsed time, 30 minutes, assuming you haven't had to call the e-HelpDesk to have passwords reset)!

Yet Another Girl said...

This is the part where I point out that it's a site done by a contractor.

If the contract was written poorly, the USPS might not even have the right to say, "umm... that's not what we wanted...."

Yet Another Girl said...

And I'm hoping desperately that google fixes the many things I hate about blogger.

Stupid boxes with scrambled letters which I can't turn off among them.