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December 22, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Bank of America state selection

Bofaselection_1Evan E. points out:

In the sign in section of the Bank of America website, if you live in Guam, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, you have to select "Alabama" as the state your account is in.

See also: Broken: Bank of America jailing a customer


Bank of America is so broken. This is just the tip of the iceberg. By the way, it should say US Virgin Islands, as BofA doesn't do business in the British Virgin Islands.

Posted by: tommy at December 22, 2006 02:21 PM

Somebody tell me: Why, again, couldn't they take an extra ten seconds (gasp!) to add those options to the form?

Posted by: TIBE4ME at December 22, 2006 02:39 PM

Sweet Home Alabama!

That is so dumb. There is no reason it should be like that. Even if it were impractical to change all those users' locations from Alabama to whatever-it-is, they could at least add those choices and make them work just like selecting Alabama.

Posted by: EricJ2190 at December 22, 2006 06:29 PM

By the way, whatever happened to that article about bad credit card math? ($20,000 round-trip flight thing) Did it just disappear?

Posted by: EricJ2190 at December 22, 2006 06:33 PM

Actually, it wouldn't be impractical at all. They would just send an email to "Alabama" customers asking them to reply if they are really in one of the other areas and put the replies into a table. After that, a simple SQL statement would take care of it.

Posted by: TIBE4ME at December 23, 2006 02:08 PM

What is broken are internal tech teams who, for whatever reason (can there really be a valid reason?), refuse to make things right for the end user.

They rule by fear and intimidation, and they have everyone else, from the marketing teams to the product teams, cowering in the corner.

I can guarantee there was some tech-head somewhere who stonewalled and said it's 'impossible' to add those US territories to the pulldown in time for launch, and refused to offer an acceptable alternative solution.

These Fortune 500 companies should seriously investigate their internal technology teams to see how often they negatively affect user experience with their dogmatic refusal to improvise, innovate, and find acceptable solutions.

Posted by: mmcwatters at December 24, 2006 11:07 AM

of course its the IT people's fault... it always is whenever there is something users don't like about the computer systems...

usually, its actually the IT people who want to make things easier (makes for fewer calls to the helpdesk, fewer annoying people), but its others that either refuse to listen, or tell the IT people that there just isn't enough money to do or fix something...

I love it when people not in IT say something like "I guarantee its the IT department's fault"... you don't have a freakin clue...

Posted by: Memnon at December 26, 2006 10:39 PM

Memnon, your experience may be different than mine, but on project after project, we get pushback from internal technology teams who make silly decisions that negatively affect user experience.

While I could give you dozens of examples from the past year alone, I'll simply ask you this: can you think of any reason why you would ask users to put in Alabama when they live in Puerto Rico?

I can tell you why: because someone somewhere built a bad database, and to go back and fix it is either 'feature creep,' 'out of scope for this release,' 'not my job,' or 'impossible.'

Read between the lines on this 'broken' entry. It has tech failure all over it.

Posted by: mmcwatters at December 27, 2006 09:25 AM

By the way, Memnon, the first sentence of your entry kind of contradicts your second entry. You start out by subtly blaming the user for 'not liking something about their computer systems,' then you claim IT is there to make it better.

You betray your true feelings: if something is wrong, it's probably the user. This is exactly the kind of IT thinking I'm writing about.

Thanks for helping me make my point.

People if you want to have less broken things, put more demands on technology to get it right.

Posted by: mmcwatters at December 27, 2006 09:28 AM

As an IT professional at a major financial institution who programs, among other things, user input screens such as the one in question, I must defend my people; 99% of the time things such as what to offer the user in a picklist (as the case here) is a BUSINESS decision, IT can only recommend, never decide, what should appear on a screen. The usual sequence is; 1) business creates a requirements document, including a MUST HAVE BY date 2) IT create a Technical Specifications doc showing how they will implement the business requirements 3) business signs off on the finished specifications 4) IT develops the application 5) Business does User Acceptance Testing and the fun begins - why does this do that? why doesn't that do this? etc, etc. 6) IT brandishes the signed off project specification doc and reminds the business people "you got what you asked for" 7) business people say "but we want something different now that we see this" 8) IT the says 'feature creep,' 'out of scope for this release', 'can't be done by the "must have by" date', etc.

9) guess who takes the hit? (hint, NOT the business unit, who has the ear of the CEO and the customers.....)


Posted by: shalom at December 27, 2006 10:43 AM

>>> " IT can only recommend, never decide, what should appear on a screen."

Then you work at one unusual financial services institution. My experience with literally dozens of tech teams across a variety of FS institutions has been quite different.

Currently, I'm on a project where the tech team has created the entire func specs doc, and they claim it has to be done this way because of the way they built their systems. When we've repeatedly pointed out flaws in the ultimate user experience, the teams says that they will take our notes into cosideration, but they won't be implemented for an indefinite time.

The marketing team is completely afraid of the tech team; one person on the marketing team even said that if we don't do what they say, the tech team won't build their site!

Please note: you and Memnon are using tech team and IT interchangeably. Perhaps this is part of the confusion.

Posted by: mmcwatters at December 28, 2006 10:41 AM

Many USA sites, although they support international sales, still require you to select a US state, even though you live in a different country!

Posted by: SteveA at December 29, 2006 10:36 AM

TO mmcwatters:

The business unit ALWAYS has the last say; all they have to do is refuse to sign off on the UAT until the program meets their expectations (as long as those expecations are within the scope of the agreed upon specifications).

What I suspect is that you are involved with upates to an existing system. Ask the development team and they will show you that the business signed off on the UAT of the original project, in which case the developers are correct in saying that they must now do some things a certain way.

I am sorry, but since the business unit controls the monies (if they don't budget for the development, nothing gets programmed; contrary to popular opinion, we geeks don't enjoy working for free...) and has ultimate approval power, it is puerile to claim that they are helpless to control the end product they receive.

Posted by: shalom at December 29, 2006 12:10 PM

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