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…


I Am Male. And Now I’m Angry.

I fill out a lot of forms. So I’m pretty good at tabbing through fields, and guessing at what key I should hit to get the right answer from a drop down menu.

For example, when I hit an age field, I’m pretty confident pressing “2” because generally the ranges are 18-24, 25-34, and so on, and I fit into the 25-34 range.

Or when I hit the expiry date for a credit card, if “04” doesn’t work, I’ll try “A” (for April) and then “4” (in case they didn’t include the “0”).

Probably the easiest one to figure out is gender. I am “male”, so I press “m”.

Didn’t work on this form:

What, "male" and "female" was too boring?

Who felt the need to “fancy up” these answers? They just make it harder to fill out the form. Don’t do that.


Size Matters. For Form Fields, That Is.

It’s generally recommended that you design your form so that the fields are all the same size. This makes it look pretty.

Exceptions can be made for things that have a specific size, like zip/postal codes, or those individual phone number boxes.

But there is absolutely no reason to make the field 16 times bigger than it needs to be:

These fields are way too big.

In case you’re wondering, it’s not like the options in these lists span the full width. I checked all of them, and they all looked like this:

The field is way too wide.

Now, I could maybe understand this if the developer who built the form was just being lazy and set the field width to 100% of the container div or something crazy like that.

But if they had done that, then the text fields would not be normal sized:

These fields are normal sized... so why is the drop down so huge?

Oh, and if you look at the first screenshot above, you’ll see that the labels are actually squished into a smaller column and don’t span the same width as the fields (especially noticeable on the “Which products or services are you most likely to buy in the next 12 months?” field).

So I’m baffled. If you built this form, can you explain it to me? And if you’re building a form, please don’t do this.


Breaking the Rules… Or At Least Not Accepting Them

Every time someone submits a form online, they either implicitly or explicitly have to accept the rules/regulations/terms and conditions/privacy policy/whatever that the company asking for the data lays out.

So not surprisingly, this contest form has a required checkbox for me to indicate that I accept the rules and regulations of the contest.

Rules and regulations must be accepted for this contest.

I “forgot” to check it off. But this didn’t seem to bother the form – it happily submitted and told me I was registered in the contest.

I wonder what that will mean if I win…?