Publication Date: 4/1/2008 7:00:00 PM
I should have known better.
I recently received an email from a government website that I have used for purchasing savings bonds for my nieces and nephews. I guess I should say I used it once. After that first time, I realized it wasn't worth the hassle.Let me tell you why:
There are lots of other ugly aspects to the site, but those were the most immediately frustrating. So, I stopped using it. Then last week I got an email from the site telling me that I could expect some snail mail from them. Apparently, they are adding in some kind of additional security feature that involves an access card.
Of course, since I'm insane, I tried to send them an email suggesting that they were making the site impossible to use with all this security. (Doing this was an additional hassle, as their contact form limited the # of characters I could input, but didn't tell me what the limit was or how many characters I was over. Thanks!) They promptly replied that all this security was for my protection..
I explained to them (again) that as a web application developer I understood their concerns, but that they were making the site completely unusable for most people, and that this should be an additional consideration. Of course, they just replied again trying to tell me how wonderful all this security is, especially telling me why the virtual keyboard makes things more secure. If they had read my email, they would have realized that I understood that the virtual keyboard increased security - I just didn't agree that the pain was worth the increase.
I don't know why I bothered. An organization who implemented this feature and left it there for more than a year clearly doesn't care about usability (or accessibility!) But there are bigger lessons for us all in this:
I guess I'll go back to standing in line at the bank!
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