Monday, September 29, 2014

I am speaking at Social Connections VII in Stockholm

Social Connections VII

After a few years of trying to get to the event, I have finally made plans to not only attend, but speak at the IBM Social Business and Connections User Group meeting, referred to as Social Connections VII (#soccnx) which is in Stockholm, Sweden November 13-14th.

Event and registration details here.

The event has had about 200-300 customers attend previous meetings.Vendors and sponsors are of course welcome and want to help you with your business.

The topic of my session is “Didn't you see my Status Update!? Accountability and the Modern Employee".

Trying to avoid this after you have entered your details in whatever software:

The pros and cons of email, ESN (Enterprise Social Networks), Instant Messaging, SMS among other items will be discussed. How to best leverage what you have and provide some purpose to how you get it done. Management's efforts to increase productivity do not always come out the other end as planned. Helping management and helping yourself is the key.

Expect an interactive discussion. You are encouraged to post your questions so we can cover all types of aspects.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Frustrations - Online Bill Paying UX Failure

Received our first gas bill today from the Supergas company here in Israel. I can setup an automatic bank draft or pay by credit card. I can't do the bank draft yet so I figured I would pay by credit card.

Go to their site, find the pay my bill page, get to the screen where I put in my information and there is one small problem...the area code. Mine, 058 is not listed. Link to their page here

Naturally like any good hack I figured just pick an area code and let it go, like entering for the email address. Nope, does not compute. It verifies the phone number on the account with their records. 

Supergas, what are you thinking?

1) Verifying a phone number does not sound like a good idea to me. If you have my account number, address, name, ID # and all, you would think that would be enough to validate me. I want to pay you, make it easy for me. Also which phone did we open the account under? Mine or my wife's? Fail again.

2) Why is area code a drop down AND a required field? Did you think I would not include my area code when I input my phone number? Is it a formatting issue? Then state how you want the numbers entered, using ( ) or . or - is fine. 

3) There is also no help on the page or chat with anyone. I am sure customer service would be unable to help me fix the UI and underlying coding, but they should be able to take my payment, for an extra fee of course. 

This is the gas company that everyone in my city gets their gas from and pays their bills. I can not be the only one that has this problem. Then again, if everyone pays by the bank using automatic drafts I can see how this web page was missed during the QA process.

It happens, someone updated code or forget to add in our area code. I know this, I've done it myself. I am not angry, slightly amused and slightly frustrated though, because what should have taken a few minutes to setup turned into a long process and now a blog post.