H&R Block bug functional email bug..

I got around to doing my taxes today at H&R Block. I went to the one on the UWS because I read somewhere that that particular office got rave reviews for their service and their knowledgeable tax reps. After my taxes were done, they indeed did a terrific job and I was pretty pleased. I had to cancel a few times to come in and they didn’t get all bent out of shape like my dentist does so extra points for them. I was thinking they would apply a fee to my refund and this was somewhere in the fine print for people who don’t cancel in time. Good for me, this wasn’t the case.

They even sent me a nice email saying some pretty good customer-based stuff. I however noticed, and it was the first thing I read right in the salutation, that they had made a label error. I don’t think anyone or any copy editor scripts a formal letter that starts off with; Dear [First Name-Earl] [Middle Initial-A].

Something tells me they wanted the salutation to be in the format of either:

  • my first name only
  • my first name and last name
  • my first name middle initial and last name
  • My first name

You can see where I’m going with this. There’s also the problem of the salutation being in all caps. Let’s do some functional testing on those emails and put it through the proofreader.

H-R-Block

Cheers,

You’re in good hands with Allstate, just don’t try to get a quote from their site.

As of late, I have not been in the mood to browse around sites looking for bugs and providing some light commentary to accompany it, like I’ve kind of been doing back in July. I think these are the times when I’d like to believe that software isn’t buggy by nature, and we live in a happy world where software always works as expected.

Well, studies show that there’s a good ratio people that visit product websites right after viewing the commercial for that product.

So I was watching the Allstate commercial with that stately actor from some show who decided to supplement his income by being the spokesman for an insurance company, and decided to take a walk over to their site to see what they were up to, in terms of site quality. The commercial was well-done. I was even convinced I was in good hands and I didn’t even get the insurance yet. 

I head over to Allstate.com and decide that I want to get a quote; but say to myself what if I put in the wrong zip code to try and get a quote. Well this was certainly the beginning of sorrows, as I didn’t even get through that test case as all of a sudden, scrollbars started showing up without me finishing filing out the form.

Allstate Errors 1

What follows next is a series of mishaps that I’ve landscaped for you to see how buggy just trying to get a quote on this site really is.

Allstate Error 2

In Step A, I’ve tried to get a quote, but did not finish before i started seeing browser display bugs

In Step B, I’ve actually entered in a valid zip code, but when I hit submit, the form does not want to submit so I stay stuck on this screen. This may be due to the sequence A, but who really knows. I just know that this should work. After Step 2, I did get this nasty error in my console

Unsafe JavaScript attempt to access frame with URL http://www.allstate.com/ from frame with URL https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.allstate.com%2F&size=medium&count=true&annotation=&hl=en-US&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fapps-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fwidget%2F__features__%2Frt%3Dj%2Fver%3DIjHMVWTYCO8.en_US.%2Fsv%3D1%2Fam%3D!uCQzFzhDAFyICoUOFQ%2Fd%3D1%2F#id=I1_1328122409897&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.allstate.com&rpctoken=655735623&_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart. Domains, protocols and ports must match. – The Console

In Step C, I get fed up with quote finder and want to find an agent. I enter in an invalid zip code and got the screen from C. Notice what happens here; the validation is completely different and is now happening inside the input boxes. However, I will never know what that validation message is because half of it is hidden, and that input box has onFocus property that instantly deletes this validation message if you place your mouse cursor in the input field.

In Step D, it’s the same deal as Step C, except this time the buttons have totally shifted on me and the layout has changed.

The bug that broke the tester’s back is the bug below when I tried selecting the state with other error states enabled.

AOL Errors 3

You know, any time your form changes on the screen and there is no consistency in functionality, you are certainly going to leave your users confused and unempowered. It never hurts to check your reset button in various forms, especially if there are ajax calls or state changes as you fill out the form.

Tested in:
Windows 7
Chrome v16.0.912.77 m

Don’t forget to accelerate!

Shame on you Yamaha! Take the case of a two young girls took out a personal water craft in the hopes of a having a quick fun ride in the West Palm Beat area of South Florida. Minutes later the two girls were involved in a tragic accident, colliding with another boat while traveling very fast. One of the girls suffered severe brain damage and other physical injuries, while the other young girl died at the scene.

According to this article posted by the Palm Beach Post, here is how the accident happened:

“The girls turned right in front of a boat. You know why?” said David Kleinberg, who represents Archer. “They couldn’t steer.”

Archer, who was driving, did exactly what any beginner would do when she decided to head back to Holly’s house, he said. She took her hand off the throttle to slow for the turn. What she didn’t know was that once she released the throttle, she couldn’t steer the water scooter, Kleinberg said.

“She did exactly what is intuitive and exactly what Yamaha said they were going to do,” he said. Instead of turning, the WaveRunner went straight, colliding with the boat.

Baker said 1986-2000 owner’s manuals warned that beginners were likely to release the throttle when headed toward an obstacle. “Don’t forget to accelerate,” it advised. In 2001, he said, the warning was inexplicably removed even though the danger still existed.

Yamaha was one of the last water scooter manufacturers to correct the steering problem. It did so in 2003. The girls were on a 2001 model.

“Unfortunately, it did not happen in time to help the Perez family or Samantha Archer, who suffered catastrophic injuries,” Baker said. “It was too little too late.”

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but there seems to be a lot of wrong going on here. Not only did Yamaha know about an existing defect that can result in death BTW, but they removed it from the manual after 2000, and decided to fix that defect 3 years later, while making models that had this defect during those 3 years.

Even if this poor girl were to read the manual, she wouldn’t have found out about this defect. Also, why would she assume that something that is that intuitive, like not speeding up when your about to hit a boat, would result in a death.

If this is the kind of quality Yamama is putting out, it will be the last time I buy/use/recommend a product from them. Besides I might do something very intuitive and end up dead.

Remember if you’re ever on a water scooter going very fast from Yamaha pre-2003 and you’re your about to hit another boat or a large object like a mountain per se; Don’t forget to accelerate!

It’s just like a game of chicken.