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davorg (18)

Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

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Journal of davorg (18)

Saturday December 07, 2002
07:22 AM

Bad User Interface

[ #9324 ]

I went to pay a cheque into my company bank account this morning. I knew the bank would be closed but was sure that I'd be able to do it using the ATM outside the bank.

So I put my card in, entered my PIN and selected "pay in" from the menu. The screen asked me how much I was paying in and I told it. It then spat out an envelope and told me to put the cheque and my paying in slip into the envelope and put the envelope in the slot provided.

That's when I realised that I didn't have a paying in slip. No problem, I thought, I'll just cancel the operation.

Except you can't. I'm standing there pressing the "cancel" button and nothing is happening - well except the queue of people behind me are starting to get a littel restless.

Finally, the only way I could get it to do anything way to put the empty envelope into the slot. The machine accepts it and prints me out a slip saying that the amount of my deposit is "subject to checking".

So now I potentially look like I'm trying to defraud the bank by paying in cheques that don't exist. I guess what I should have done is scribble a suitable message on the envelope before posting it. Perhaps something like "I know there's no cheque in the envelope, but I couldn't cancel the transaction - please ask your user interface designers to get a clue!!"

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  • All of my cheque books have paying in slips at the back of the book, which is handy, when you can remember that they're there.

    Having said that, you probably didn't have your cheque book with you, just the cheque, right? :-)


  • Don't know about your bank, but at least one of mine doesn't expect a paying in slip, you simply place the cheque in the envelope, and when the machine "eats" it, it prints the details directly on to the envelope.

    I couldn't agree more that the interface is lame through, you could at any time realise that your made a mistake, and need to abort the operation. According to the Jakob Nielsen [] the "STOP" button is one of the most powerful design features in the browser, and woe-be-tide anyone tampering with it.

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • you probably didn't have your cheque book with you, just the cheque, right?

    Of course. Who carries a cheque book around with them these days. That would be terribly last century :)

  • Your comments about user interface design reminded me about...

    A long, long, time ago when ATMs had just been introduced to the UK I was stood behind someone in the queue. They were cursing and obviously having trouble with the machine and so I offered to help. The display said something like
      Please enter the amount you want to withdraw
    n.b. the amount must be in multiples of £5

    and so the guy was pressing the 5 key 5 times because he wanted to withdraw £25. And the machine was saying he did