IEEE, Thou Art Clowns
Posted: Tue, 26 February 2008 | permalink | No comments
Ever since I started University, I've been a member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Although I don't really do what you would call "Engineering" any more, I like to read the IEEE Spectrum magazine and some of the Computer society journals are quite relevant to what I do.
However, this year the IEEE have produced what is, without a doubt, one of the most shithouse online ordering systems I have ever had the misfortune of trying to use. To start with, if you happen to go to the account login screen with cookies disabled, you get a page that is utterly blank. I've seen a lot of ways to fail to handle cookies, but I think the completely blank page is a first for me.
Once you work out what's going on and log in, you're presented with a long and painful journey through a series of "checkout" pages, mostly alike. I think I got presented with my list of journals about four times. After navigating that pest, it comes up with this little gem when you start the credit card processing step:
Far more annoying is when you start entering your address "for verification purposes". Here, you get a form resubmit every time, presumably to update the form based on (for example) your selected country, but not a lot changes. Even though I picked Australia, I still got a pull-down with all of the the US states in it. You could short-circuit all this with the "choose existing address" option, except that (despite me being logged in) my existing addresses aren't in a select box, but in a separate pop-up window (which didn't actually display anything after all).
In short, the IEEE's online renewal system is a disgrace, and is an embarrassment to what is purportedly a technical organisation.
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