3 Things that Make My Hair Hurt

1. Voting snafus. Hanging chads may be giving way to touchscreens, but stories of problems at the polls never change. It astounds me that we can’t figure out a way to resolve the voting-booth chaos that engulfs cities and towns across the country every election day. Maybe TWO YEARS is not enough lead time to troubleshoot new machines and properly train the blue-hairs who volunteer at the voting precincts. What a joke.

2. Corporate websites that don’t provide names for media contacts. I hate calling general “PR hotlines” or sending emails to PR@acme.com or, worst of all, filling out generic Web forms (see #3 below) with my interview or information requests. Worse yet: when I get no response to those queries. I picture a roomful of flacks sharing a good laugh as they read emails from desperate journalists. “This loser wants to interview our CMO! Hah!” Call me paranoid. Nature of the business.

3. Web forms that gag on apostrophes. Urband legend has it that a SQL programmer with a bone to pick against the Irish rigged the database language in 1994 to blow up whenever it sees a single quote mark. Whatever the history, filling out text fields in Web forms with a name like “O’Regan” remains a huge error-message-inducing pain in the ass at countless websites. Try it sometime.

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3 thoughts on “3 Things that Make My Hair Hurt”

  1. Great post…

    1. Lack of testing, lack of qa, lack of caring adds up to lack of effective means of voting. FYI, I voted with a pen again today. In and out in 5 minutes.

    2. I generally design with anonymous contact emails. I also get the product of those emails for a 500 head corporation…the account is a spamfest, but I check it and forward emails on, with a note to the original sender about who it was forwarded to. Sales leads, partner leads, etc. Since when did business come around to the idea that talking to people was a bad thing. I remember one highly effective CEO who used to refuse to allow his Admin to announce his calls. He was either taking calls or not, if you called when he was, you got him on the phone.

    3. Lack of testing, lack of qa, lack of caring adds up to web forms that don’t work. Killing the apostrophe problem in php is as simple as addslashes(lname) or whatever the variable is. Marketers, don’t trust your web guys to test – you test too…

  2. From one O’Regan to another, forms are maddening, starting with the DMV programmers..all these years, and they still can’t place an Irish apostrophe…but you forgot to mention all the sites from government all the way down to inquiries for media kits or catalogs…(web people, take note) that you get all the way through to the final “zip code” and if you’re an Irishman living in New England, i.e., a zip code beginning with “0” it won’t recognize it and comes up error, showing message with incorrect zip (automatically rejects the “0”)..that’s a double whammy. THAT truly hurts my hair.

  3. Thanks for the rant about the apostrophe thing, it really makes me want to hurt someone. Especially when they don’t even customize the error page and I forget about this particular problem and am left wondering why my form won’t submit!! Stupid “Server Error in ‘/’ Application.”

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