A Good Reason to Fire a Programmer

During the last 12 hours I had to fill out a registration form on one Web site and purchase a bus ticket one another. Both user experiences (UX) made me really sad. The reason “s the same: software developers don “t give a shit about their profession. They simply don “t care.

UX #1.

The site registration form had a half dozen fields to fill out, which I did. After pressing the Submit button, just one thing has happened: the border in the box where I entered the user ID became red. That “s it. No error messages. I had a feeling that, for some reason, they didn “t like the value I “ve selected for my user id. Was it too difficult to show a short message explaining what did I do wrong? Maybe their software developers don “t know how to display the validation error text? Not the case.

After changing the id and pressing the button Submit again, the following text was displayed on top of the window: rdquo;One or more entered values are wrong. rdquo; This time the red border was surrounding the box where I entered the phone number. Is it hard to show the format you expect? I “m not even asking you to use a pre-formatted field hellip; OK, I guessed the required format. But I had a feeling that this unknown software developer just spat into my face and is giggling behind the monitor “s glass.

These phone entry field are poorly programmed in every other form I fill out. Have you seen the validation message like “Please remove all dashes and spaces from the phone number rdquo;? Any programmer who wrote anything just a little bit more complex than “Hello World rdquo; should know how to programmatically remove all unwanted characters from the string. Or maybe they don “t?

The next job interview I “ll start with writing the following phone number on the piece of paper:

1 800 555-1212

Then I “ll ask this candidate with the resume having the word Senior all over it to write the code removing anything but digits from this text. If he “s not done within 5 minutes, the interview “s over.

UX #2.

This morning I was purchasing online a bus ticket to go from Manhattan to New Jersey (a one hour ride). The address section had a text area where I “ve entered my address and below was a dropdown titled Country and populated with a hundred or so entries. Why in the world it starts with Afghanistan? Is this particular bus route popular among the Afghan citizen? Is this even safe to ride on this bus? What did the developer and his incompetent boss were thinking about? They were thinking about anything but the people who would be using this Web site. Does it require MS in Computer Science to add United States at the top of the list of countries? They don ‘t care.

It “s really sad. Random people are developing software. On the UI side they get away with such quality because people are too forgiving and don “t know any better. On the server side they survive because the hardware became very inexpensive. Instead of writing efficient code, they throw more CPU or scale horizontally by adding more commodity Linux boxes. Waiting to see how these so-called programmers will survive in the mobile space where both memory and CPU are not scalable, at least now.

I know that UI developers working in our company read this blog. Guys, if you “ll deploy an application in QA with the UI showing such disrespect to the users, you are fired. Nothing personal, but this would indicate a serious issue with your attitude toward your profession. You don “t belong here.

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