Email Scripting Fail

It’s time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea (anyone remember those snips from Animaniacs back in the 90s?)!

Good Idea

Scripting your auto emails to personalize them and make them more likely to be read.

Bad Idea

Placing your script in a string literal, preventing it from executing and emailing the script text instead. This is an email I received earlier today.

The feature is nice; it’s supposed to change to the subject line based on the number of people in your queue and assign either

“Reminder, 1 person wants to….” or “Reminder, 5 people want to…”

Sadly, I got neither.



Citi Mortgage UX Fail

CitiMortgage Payment Dates Recently I was on the CitiMortgage website ( and noticed a poor design decision in the date selector. The company policy prevents you from picking a date past the 16th of the month. The drop down list to select a date, however, presents the user with all date of the current month but will show an error message if the user selects any date past the 16th. Why even present the user with those options?

Google Finance Web Service Fail

Google Finance AJAX Fail
I'm assuming this was due to a timeout

A couple weeks ago, I was checking out Google Finance and noticed something scary. One of two things had just occurred; either the whole world just went broke or (slightly more likely) the web service call to retrieve the data had failed or timeout.

While the scenario was quickly fixed by refreshing the page, these are the usability points that are commonly overlooked when designing for UX. What should happen in case of failure? In this case, the default value that’s used is a 0 (zero). When dealing with numeric values, I prefer to show “N/A” or “NaN” if the audience is mathematically inclined.