Archive for the ‘Failed Web sites’ Category

We Thought You’d Never Leave

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 by The Director

Apparently, I did something unexpected at GitHub: I logged out.

No user would ever do that!

Note the presence of the new hotness, the interrobang (‽) character, a cartoonish mash-up of the question mark and the exclamation point that is becoming popular on error pages. I just made a developer take it off one of the sites I work on because it’s currently a developer and technology field-centric thing, and to a consumer-level user, it looks like poor kerning.

Someday, it might be more mainstream, but that is not today.

Unlike, say, logging out, which should be supported without error.

That Has Been My Experience With Most Online Help

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 by The Director

Has this been helpful?

Cue the Meghan Trainor, again.

I Cannot Follow The Instructions

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 by The Director

The instructions on this Captcha are pretty clear:

Select all the images with cars
Click verify once there are none left

Clearly, I cannot click the sample image. So I can never click Verify.

Remember, kids, when the interface change, make sure to check that the text around the interface elements and instructions as to how to use the interface change to match. In this case, they probably added the sample image after inserting the text.

I would say “Make sure your documentation is correct,” but, ha, ha, what is this, 1997? Nobody writes documentation any more.

Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Herb Albert! Or Not.

Friday, January 20th, 2017 by The Director

Amazon illustrates a test case I have been overlooking.

If you search for herb alpert i feel you, you get no results:

Click for full size

Which is really weird, because I’ve bought Herb Alpert’s I Feel You. And I just successfully found it. However, I previously searched for i feel you herb alpert:

Click for full size

It looks like in the first case, when the artist’s name came first, Amazon incorrectly “corrected” the name to herb albert before conducting the search and then returned me an erroneous result.

So now in my test cases for searches, I have to alter the order of the search terms to ensure they return the same results.

Not Tested In Alternate Configurations, I See

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 by The Director

Facebook logs a helpful message to the console to help prevent XSS exploits:

However, if the user displays the console on the right instead of the bottom, this message does not lay out properly in Firefox:

Obviously, Facebook did not test this in all possible configurations. If Facebook tested it at all.

Test Passes, Sorta

Thursday, March 17th, 2016 by The Director

I found this interesting article on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site:

There are a lot of test articles floating through the Internet in production systems. Why people don’t bother to turn them off after the testing is done, I don’t know.

Bonus points to you if you can spot the issue with the test article itself.

Category: Bug

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 by The Director

You know I log every instance of controls/edit boxes/drop-down lists where the lower-cased g gets chopped at the bottom.

Well, except this one in the FogBugz defect tracker itself:

Internet Explorer is the worst offender in this regard, but the screenshot above is from Firefox.

Now you know why Roger Dougherty, single, born in August and living at 1021 Brighton Way, Harrisburg, Oregon always signs up for applications I test.

WordPress Passes Judgment

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 by The Director

New reader Aron notes the error on this very site:

Perhaps WordPress is passing judgment on gimlet. More likely, though, the template has a bug in it. I’ll go looking for it eventually.

Your Web Site’s Undergarments Are Showing

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by The Director

Keep in mind your invisible meta tags display when a user shares the link in various social media forms:

I see London, I see France, I see your Web site's wrongminded meta data

In this case, I think we can agree it’s a QA fail.

The Tails of Lower Cased Gs Are The Brown M&Ms of Web Design

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by The Director

Whenever I see the bottom of lower cased Gs cut off in edit boxes and drop-down lists:

Stepping on the tails of lower cased Gs

I know to look very closely at design elements of a Web page because the designer has not.

(The story of brown M&Ms explained here.)

I’m Way Past Inbox 0

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by The Director

Today on Gmail, I got my inbox down to inbox -50:

Inbox -50

How do you do that?

Well, in my case, I deleted a large number of emails from an unused email box and then, when it hung up, I deleted them again.

How do you test for that?

Well, if you’re me, you not only use an automated testing tool like Selenium or WATIR not only for interface checking, but to create large record sets to then use in manual testing. For example, you set up a script that adds 10,000 comments and then manually test to see what happens when you go to an item with a large number of comments. You can inspect how it looks (is the number too big for the space allocated to it on the page) but also what happens when you add another comment, when you delete the item, when you recommend the item to a friend.

A Perfect Score and a Bug To Go

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 by The Director

So I took This BBC News grammar test, and I got a perfect score, natch:

Does this 10 make me look fat?

And a bug, natch.

Come on, kids. One simply must check numbers greater than one digit (or more) to make sure they fit inside your little design elements.

Some days, I feel like the Dowager Countess, sitting here marking pointed remarks as I watch the old order of people caring about this stuff falling apart.

Intuit Out of It

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by The Director

Yesterday, the day before the annual tax filing deadline in the United States, the online version of Intuit’s TurboTax software suffered a brief outage:

TurboTax, the popular tax-filing software, went offline briefly on Sunday — the day before the filing deadline.

Users had problems entering data on the Web site, according to angry Twitter messages directed at the company.

“We’re having problems with TurboTax online. We’re in process bringing back the experience u expect. Updates 2 follow,” the company said on its official Twitter account Sunday evening.

Less than 10 minutes later, it issued another update saying the site was functional again. For those still experiencing problems, the company suggested closing browsers and opening the software in a fresh window.

Well, they might have lost a couple of customers and might have put some consumers properly off the idea of ‘the cloud,’ but at least they’ll have some better data for the next set of test managers and/or operations people to analyze for planning purposes.

When Krux Becomes Corporeal, The World Will Suffer

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 by The Director

So maybe we should count our blessings that he is yet undefined:

Krux the Unyielding, the Slayer at the Intersection, grows nearer to this dimension

What is krux? No doubt the method by which news organizations can turn a profit on the Internet. Which remains undefined.

But a tip of the hat to the developers in the world who name their objects, attributes, and methods to sound like the names of demons.

Obviously, This Website Has Not Achieved Nirvana

Friday, December 7th, 2012 by The Director

If you don’t understand nothingness, you cannot be nothingness:

I don't understand the property 0, either.

Or maybe this poor Web site is struggling with the works of Heidegger. We’ll never know. All we know is that it’s not doing what it’s supposed to.

When That SaaS You Use Goes Night-Night

Friday, September 28th, 2012 by The Director

So I’m having a devil of a time finding just one crushable c-crown black fedora with a 4″ crown and 2 or 2 1/4″ brim in large or size 7 1/4. The ones from Zappos are all contemporary, short brim hats that make the wearer look like Jimmy Olsen.

So, I went through my options and tried to implement Desperation Plan B, Acquire Wool Felt To Make Own Hat.

So I thought about Joann Fabrics, which might have felt, or wool that I can felt:

Joann Fabrics of Time and Space

Down at the bottom, it has a link to a store locator, wherein I could find out how early I can go into the store since I’m not sleeping so well without my hat (note: you actually can clutch a crushable felt fedora to your chest while you sleep, and it will snap back into shape when it’s time to slip into the rain).

So I click the store locator link, and:

The third party software has gone night-night, and not in the queen-with-a-sword-way.

The company apparently uses a third party bit of software that has gone night-night, and not in the cool queen with a sword way.

Which brings to mind a pretty good question: What do you do if your third party applications stop working? Do you have a back-up plan for an important Web site feature like the store locator? Do you just hope to wait it out and hope your vendor has not just been shut down by an overzealous government prosecutor in New Zealand? How fast do you act? Do you hide the link immediately while you frantically call your vendor’s customer support line, whose technician has left that particular cell phone in the club last night?

These are important questions to ask when choosing a third party piece of software, especially one sold as a service. It’s a bad thing to have to decide very suddenly.

And thank you for your concern about my ongoing hat situation. I’m back to Desperation Plan A: Hanging Out In Blues Bars and Hoping To Win A Cool Hat in a Poker Game or Steal One.

Strike That. No, That.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 by The Director

So I wore a hole in my favorite fedora, and I now live in a city without a hat shop in it. Not so much because it’s a small city, but because not many cities have hat shops any more. Well, the malls have baseball cap shops, but do you think I’m the sort of man who wears a baseball cap?

So I go to Zappos because I know they have a very liberal return policy, and I fully expect that I’ll have to try on and return a dozen or more hats before I settle on one (to illustrate: On my last visit to the venerable Donges in the venerable Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I tried on so many hats that the discouraged salesman muttered to a coworker that I wasn’t going to buy anything. I bought my third fedora that day).

And I browsed and I searched Zappos, and as I was looking the site over, I noticed something.

When you filter by brand, size, variety, color, and so on, it adds the filters to a pseudo-breadcrumb trail looking list above the individual selections. You can click the filter to remove it. Me, I was looking for the filter to eliminate hipsters wearing their fedora brims turned up. Come on, guys, what’s the deal? The brim is for keeping the sun off, not for catching the rain, you twee tweethings.

And I noticed something:

The Zappos misstrike, which would be a cool name for a Robert Ludlum novel

When you mouse over one of the terms, the tooltip explains you can click it to remove it. But the filters immediately to the right displays in the <strike> form with a line through the text.

Looks like someone got his or her index values mixed up in an array.

You know how you find these things? You mouse over the damn things. Or you don’t, and you don’t find them.

Me? I mouse over them.

(I know, you’re wondering: how does one wear a hole in a fedora? Well, my fourth fedora here, which I bought at a hat shop in Memphis just off the train tracks in 1997 or 1998, I wore almost daily for many years, gave it a breather, and have worn it again daily for some time. The hole is at the fold in the crown at the front where you grab it to take the hat off or to put it on. It’s also the spot that touches the pavement when you’ve got the fedora upside down on the sidewalk while you’re Street QAin’ for tips. So it’s natural that it would wear unevenly here. Strangely enough, my fourth fedora lasted longer than the first three.)


Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 by The Director

Fabusend is an email provider handles not large, mass emails, but small, individual emails. It (apparently) adds in letterhead images and whatnot for senders and allows the recipient to click through if the images are blocked in the client email program.

But if you click through a little late, you get all kinds of FUBAR.

There’s the JavaScript error:

Fabusend JavaScript error

If you’re looking at it in Firefox, you’ll see the tables are misaligned:

Fabusend JavaScript error

Now, you’re saying, Who’s going to see that?

Someone who stores important emails and then tries to click through them. Someone like me. And not “like me” in the QA sense, “like me” in the user sense.

It’s such a little thing!

You know, you’re right, it is going to be seen by only a few people. But it’s also not something that requires refactoring the whole application, ainna? Take a couple minutes, fix the little error page up, would you?

Your goal should be a quality application across the board, not just quality for most of the people, most of the time.

The Intersection of Boobs and Boobs

Monday, August 13th, 2012 by The Director

What happens if you don’t check your Web site’s alt text and filenames when you create or upload content to a CMS? Bad, bad things (link safe for work).

Ten women in the St. Louis area have sued their doctor after learning that before-and-after pictures of their breast augmentation surgeries could be found online through a simple search of their names.

. . . .

The photos are widely used as a marketing tool to promote doctors’ work. They are not publicly labeled with names. But if patients’ names aren’t removed from the computerized picture file information, they can be displayed with the images during an Internet search.

You think you might be exempt if you’re just a CMS provider and a Web host? Think again.

In court filings, Koo’s lawyers blame MedNet, saying it failed to maintain Koo’s site in a “competent and professional manner.”

“Whatever Dr. Koo did do or didn’t do,” said one of her lawyers, Jonathan Ries, she had “no intention” of linking pictures and names.

MedNet’s response blames Koo, saying the company did not post, control or influence the content. It also claims legal immunity under the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from suits over postings by third parties.

Already, you can puzzle out how this happened, or how this could have happened. A civilian, and by that I mean a semi-ignorant user, just uploaded image files from the hard drive without thinking about the filenames, and away you go. The CMS picks up the image name to use as the alt text, and suddenly you’re showing the world JaneDoubleDoeAfter to the world.

What can you do, QA? Remember to check the alt/title text carefully whenever you can, and pay attention to file names and URLs.

Because that stuff doesn’t matter until it does, really expensive-like and attorney-chocked.

UPDATE: And upon further reflection, you know what holds true of the people who made these costly errors? They were all probably badmins.

Steps to Recreate an Amazon Bug

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 by The Director

QA begins its Christmas shopping early because QA expects something to go wrong. And QA is not only rewarded in this instance when something goes wrong, but also with an Amazon bug.

When a user orders an item with a supplementary item and then orders the item without the supplementary item, the user receives an email that says user added supplementary item to the cart but did not purchase.

To recreate:

  1. Search for and find an expensive, out-of-left field gift for someone who might or might not read the defect tracker.
  2. Add the gift to the shopping cart.
  3. Click one of the “People who bought this also bought that” links.
  4. The new item’s page displays. Click to add it to the shopping cart.
  5. Click Check out.
  6. Complete the checkout page.
  7. Thank you page displays. Confirmation email arrives. When the main product arrives, find a manufacturing defect immediately upon opening the box. Return the item for a refund, not an exchange, because this item is only ordered through Amazon and is fulfilled by someone else.
  8. When refund is credited, return to My Account section of Amazon and find recent orders.
  9. Click through the refunded item to view the item page again.
  10. Add item to cart.
  11. Proceed to checkout.
  12. Complete checkout.
  13. Thank you page displays. Confirmation email displays. However, over night, an email is also generated and sent overnight that says We noticed that you added one or more items to your Shopping Cart, but didn't continue to Checkout. When you're ready to buy, simply visit your Shopping Cart to complete your order.
  14. Go to Amazon account/cart. Note it is empty.

Apparently, because I clicked through the recent orders, Amazon still links the two items from the order. Should not generate this email when the same item is ordered by itself in a new order.

Sorry I couldn’t be more specific. On the other hand, you might surmise that I’m getting you more than one thing for Christmas, gentle reader, and I only wish I could be there with you on Christmas morning to share your disappointment.

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