Just Foul – The Blue Jays Online Shop Requires An Account

I’m a big Toronto Blue Jays fan, and as they have finally made it to the postseason and I have a 9-month old, I’m trying to find an infant jersey.

I checked, the official Blue Jays online store. They do have infant jerseys. At $44.99, they’re a little rich for my blood, but if it wasn’t too much to ship them, I could probably be convinced.

So I added one to my cart. No option to estimate shipping there.

I hit “Checkout” and got this form:

The Blue Jays' online shop requires an account to checkout.

This is all kinds of bad and makes me all kinds of angry.

First of all, you should NEVER require an account to checkout. You’re welcome to suggest I create one as part of a guest checkout, but I can guarantee you that I will not be buying things from enough to warrant having an account.

Secondly, you want me to create an account before I even know how much my order is going to cost? When shipping costs are one of the biggest reasons online shoppers abandon carts, I wonder if this is just adding to that.

Though perhaps this is their way of trying to make me feel more invested, since shipping turned out to be more than $12 once I had registered… I still won’t be buying.

As an aside, I also was unclear what some of the information they’re asking for on this form is. I’m currently away from home, so I wanted to ship the jersey to somewhere else. But is this form asking for my home address (e.g., is this a registration profile or my shipping/billing info?)? I actually had to update my address after registering so that I could get my order shipped to my current address.

Oddly enough, it doesn’t seem like the account creation requirement is there so that they can email market to me – when I updated my address, there was a marketing opt in that was unchecked. We’ll have to see if they do try to market to me anyway…

In the registration confirmation email I got, this was their reasoning behind creating an account: “Through your new account you will be able to check your order status, manage your address book and change your account password.”

Whoop-De-Doo. First of all, I would expect you to email me a shipping confirmation, so I don’t need an account for that. Secondly, I have no interest in having an “address book” (and based on having to update my address, it doesn’t seem like that’s an option anyway). And finally, the only reason I would want to change my account password is because you made me create one in the first place and I’ve lost it because I don’t buy things from your site more than once every time the Jays make the playoffs (which will hopefully be more frequently than every 22 years, but hey, you never know).


BMO is a little “spaced out” with their error messages

I was attempting to send a money transfer to a friend of mine.

If you’ve ever sent an Interac e-transfer, you’ll know that you need to create a question/answer combo. I decided to use something that Chris and I enjoyed on one of our road trips – deep fried cheese curds from the Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, MN.

When you start typing in your secret answer, the form does some inline validation.

It says “the security response must contain at least three numbers and/or letters.”

BMO's Interact transfer security question and answer fields

Last time I checked, “deep fried” contains at least three numbers and/or letters.

What they actually mean is that you can’t use any special characters at all (well, except for a hyphen, which I just discovered through trial and error).

That’s a bad error message!


A Sad State of Affairs for Minted’s Address Book

The online stationery store Minted has the option of entering your addresses to an online address book, to enable printing of your envelopes. Saves me time when sending out mass mailings? Yes please!

There is even the option to upload a file of addresses, but in this case, I just needed to add a few, so used the “add address manually” feature.

At first glance, a tidy little form.

Minted's Address Book Form

I filled out the form in order – standard address stuff. Being a US company, the default country is the US, but that’s an easy fix.

Imagine my distress, then, when I change the country to Canada (the second option in the otherwise alphabetical list of countries, suggesting a high proportion of users are Canadian), the province I had entered was now gone.

Minted's address book form after changing the country to "Canada"

Unfortunately, as the field changed from “State” to “Region”, the data I’d already entered was erased.

Now, besides being rather annoying (now I have to go back and re-enter data… or I might not notice, and then get an error on submit), there are two things that I think are a bit weird about this:

  1. The field name for the zip/postal code is just that: “ZIP/Postal Code”. Why doesn’t it start as just “ZIP Code” and then change to “Postal Code”? Combining those two geo-specific field names doesn’t seem to be a problem.
  2. Why does the US get “State”? Every other country in the list (well, I checked a bunch of them anyway) gets “Region”. This seems like an unnecessary inconvenience for any user who is not in the US.

So they should really do just “State” and “ZIP Code”, with the country chooser above the address fields, which then update to “Province” or “Region” and “Postal Code” when the user changes their country.

Better still would be to just say “State/Province” and not change it at all when the user selects the country. That’d be mint.

Well That’s One Way to Keep Me from Unsubscribing

Amazon’s email unsubscribe form is confusing, but Delivra’s is just downright bait-and-switch.

I clicked the unsubscribe link in an email from them, and got this:

Deliverer's unsubscribe form

First of all, not mobile friendly. But more importantly, not unsubscribing – instead, it looks like they’re trying to get me to sign up for more mail:

Delivra's unsubscribe form

That’s just uncool. Don’t do that. If I want to leave, you should make it really easy, because this is actually causing more ill will than I had for just getting the email I wasn’t interested in.

Now, I’m assuming that I have actually been unsubscribed, and this is their way to try to keep me interested. But, there needs to be messaging that I’ve been unsubscribed, and there should be some convincing content telling me why I should stay subscribed.

In addition to that, this is not a great subscription form. It asks for a lot of information just to get emails, it’s not mobile friendly, and it does not prioritize the “Save” call to action (which is maybe not the greatest call to action in this context).


Losing My Loyalty Because of a Terrible Date of Birth Experience

I registered for the Canadian Tire loyalty program and they have a really weird way of inputting your date of birth (also, why do they need to know my date of birth? But that’s another post…). It was so weird, I had to make a video.

If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s the step by step. This is in the Canadian Tire iPhone app.

There is no indication of what the format of the date of birth should be. For all I care, I could write, “I was born on the 26th day of the 10th month in the year of Lord Helmet 1984.”

So I clicked the little calendar icon. It pops up this:


First of all, this is a weird calendar. Why is CT taking up space with the week numbers? And why does the week start on Monday? Every North American calendar I’ve ever seen starts the week on Sunday.

Also, if they have the month at the top, why are they confusing me by putting in the last few days of October?

And all of the days are greyed out. But we’ll come back to that.

So if I want to get to October of 1984, I need to click the back button a <strong>lot</strong> of times. That seemed ridiculous, so I tapped on the month and got this:


Ok, so now they’ve broken down this year into the 12 months. So I guess now I could click the back button 30 times to get to 1984. I’m a lazy guy, so I tapped “2014” to see what would happen. I got this:


It took me a minute to figure out what happened here. They’re now showing the 20 years between 2001 and 2020. Which is weird because it’s not possible to have a birthday in the future, and, again, I’ve never seen a calendar work this way.

Note that, again, everything is greyed out.

Turns out that you have to be at least 18 to register for this app (that would have been nice to know sooner – doesn’t bother me, but could bother some people). I don’t know why, but they must have a reason.

So eventually I got to the screen where I could choose the right year:


And from there went back up the year -> month -> day calendars to select the right day. And then it gets put in in a weird format that I never would have guessed (though it turns out that format is not required – they must have a lot of fun parsing DOB data on the other end!).


I don’t know why they felt the need to build this weird, probably custom calendar. They could have just used the built-in iPhone compound slider:



This is Exhausting – Lists Need an Order!

It’s time for me to upgrade my phone. I’d settled on the iPhone 6, 64GB, in Silver.

With my provider (Fido), you have to reserve your phone and they’ll let you know when it’s available. I filled out my info and then got this list of choices:

This form drop down list is not ordered in any particular way.

If you can tell me why the options are in the order they are, I will give you a prize.

As it is, I had to exhaustively read through the entire list to find the phone I was looking for. I could not rely on any normal way you might order these options:

  • By phone model (6 vs. 6+)
  • By storage capacity
  • Not even by colour!

This is bad – it makes it really hard to find the choice I’m looking for. This would be even worse on a mobile device, where you wouldn’t be able to see all of the options at the same time.

Please make sure your lists have some sort of order to them, so that your users don’t have to exhaustively search through the whole thing to find the option they want.

How should this form drop down list be built?

How would I build this list, you ask? Well, if I had to put them all in the same list, I would do:

  • 6, 16GB, Gold
  • 6, 16GB, Silver
  • 6, 16GB, Space Grey
  • 6, 64GB, Gold
  • 6, 64GB, Silver
  • 6, 64GB, Space Grey
  • 6, 128GB, Gold
  • 6, 128GB, Silver
  • 6, 128GB, Space Grey
  • 6+, 16GB, Gold
  • 6+, 16GB, Silver
  • 6+, 16GB, Space Grey
  • 6+, 64GB, Gold
  • 6+, 64GB, Silver
  • 6+, 64GB, Space Grey
  • 6+, 128GB, Gold
  • 6+, 128GB, Silver
  • 6+, 128GB, Space Grey

I’m assuming that customers will likely think of model first, then narrow it down from there. Note also that all of the options are ordered – 6 then 6+, increasing storage capacity, and colours in alphabetical order.

But I would probably test the efficiency of that against doing three separate lists:

  1. Choose your model (6 or 6+)
  2. Choose your storage (16, 64, or 128GB)
  3. Choose your colour (gold, silver, or space grey)

Escaping the Amazon… or Unsubscribing, Anyway.

I wanted to stop getting Amazon’s “General Offers” emails. I clicked the “Unsubscribe” link in the email and was taken to a page that showed me this:


First of all, if you read the second paragraph it talks about clicking a “Confirm” button. There was no “Confirm” button on the page (there was an “Unsubscribe from all” options farther down the page).

But more confusingly, should I uncheck that check box? I guess so, since the button is “Unsubscribe” – presumably the ones that I have checked off would be the ones I unsubscribe from.

So I left it checked and clicked “Unsubscribe”. Then I got this:


I guess my settings have been updated? But the content below the notification box is the same – it shows the same email type, still checked off… now I’m confused.

So I unchecked the box, clicked “Unsubscribe” again…


… and got the same thing.


So I still have no idea whether I actually opted out of those emails, though I have to assume so. And I still haven’t received the email confirming my new choices…


March Madness… About ESPN’s Password Field

So I was registering to do my March Madness bracket on ESPN (not that I know anything about college basketball – I just randomly picked teams), and it asked me for a password.

Now, the good side of this is that it did inline validation to make sure I was entering valid data.

The bad side is that I got this:


At first glance everything appears ok – there’s a nice little green checkmark. But if you look more closely, it also says “Password Strength: Bad”.

Well which is it, good or bad? They should probably show some sort of password strength meter as long as the password is valid and present errors in a completely separate way – for example, highlighting the field with an error message.


Out of Order! Pay Attention to the Tab Order

Lots of people tab through forms. It’s faster than using the mouse to move between fields and form filler-outterers often get in a groove, especially for common forms like an address.

So when you change that order, it’s annoying.

We recently moved, so I had to update my address in a lot of places. One of those places was my cell phone provider, Fido.

First of all, the fields are just in a weird order anyway – it’s generally recommended to keep forms in one column. I suppose that if you go vertically first, they’re in a “normal” order. But if you tab through them, they go horizontally:

The tab order in this form is all wonky.

It took me way longer than it should have to fill out this form, because I had to enter my info in this order:

  • Apt/Suite
  • Postal Code
  • Street Number
  • City
  • Contact Number 1
  • Street Name
  • Province
  • Contact Number 2

That’s just crazy. Bad dog, Fido.