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November 4, 2008 / fayafshar

Badly Designed UAC Form

On the weekend, a friend asked me to help her change some course details, before she submits a postgraduate application to UAC (Universities Admission Centre NSW & ACT). She figured, being a software engineer and all, i should be able to help her send this form. At first i must admit i thought it would be a simple task, and that she ‘the user’ was making a mistake. I later realised it was poorly designed form.

For some reason the UAC postgraduate application process does not have a ‘back’ button to allow applicants to make changes to their application half way through the process. Change your mind about which course you want to study? Tough luck! You’ll have to start the process all over again.  

 

At the top of the form, it first asks you to enter all information in UPPER CASE. It then clearly states that * indicates compulsory fields to be completed”

In the address box, only the street number and name, and suburb have a red * next to them.

Naturally the user assumes the fields ticked with a star * are compulsory.

UAC address form

But no, the State, Postcode, and Country are also to be filled in. But you only realise this after hitting the ‘Next’ button.

A small window opens to tell you to select a Country for correspondence.

 

So this makes me wonder, what is the point of including * indicates compulsory fields to be completed”, when clearly non * fields are also compulsory?

So naturally I then selected Australia from the country drop down box. Then another error is thrown (see image below).

UAC error

 

From reading that error, you may think that I had entered a non Australian State or Postcode. But in fact both those fields were empty. So now UAC is assuming that my address is not Australian, simply because I selected Australia for the country!

In case you are curious, entering the State and pressing “Next” also throws another error asking for Postcode!

Finally i was taken to the next page (after filling in the postcode) and asked for my credit card details. Yet i realised there is not option for going back, if for some reason i felt i had to change my postal address for example. Although a window does open asking you to confirm your address detials by clicking ‘OK’, the designers of this form have forgotten the fact that a Cancel is also needed. What if those details are incorrect and the user needs to change them?

All in all, this is a very poorly designed form, for a organisation that depends heavily on applications online and off. 

If i were to take a wild guess, i’d say the uptake of UAC online applications has been poor, and their call centres have had to answer for it. Most users having had to go through that form, would end up calling UAC to complain, as did my friend. 

I would like to hear of any other nasty forms you’ve come across lately! 🙂

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