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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Capturing Data From Beyond The Grave

A long time ago (long enough for me to be able to tell this tale) I was involved in building a site for a big UK consumer brand, including a registration system for things like competitions and offers.

The client was keen on ‘maximising data capture’; never mind the fact that they didn’t really know what to do with data when they got it, they wanted lots of it. So much so that the form not only demanded all of your personal details, including date of birth, but also details for any partners and children. It was insanely intrusive, but they were insistent.

The server-side developer got it all working with validation logic in place, and it was put live. A while later a complaint filtered back to us, claiming the form was deeply insensitive towards the bereaved.

You see, the ‘Marital Status’ dropdown they specified had ‘Widowed’ as an option, which was shameful enough. But to make matters worse, the developer had slipped up with the validation, meaning when it was selected the form demanded the deceased partner’s personal details and couldn’t be submitted otherwise. Ouch.


Comments

Could have been alot worse ummm i'd hate to imagine if Sameer had to do the validation !!! Are some things are priceless :-)

— the Dodgy Developer, 15th Mar, 3:36pm

Oh anyone can slip up like that, and testing should've caught it, just bad luck that it resulted in such a cringe-making glitch!

Matt Round, 16th Mar, 9:12am


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