Post Office mentality still rules
Saturday, 11 September 2010 09:29

In the 'bad old days' when there were post offices in town centres and dotted about in towns it was a standing joke that you would wait in the queue for ages, then when your turn came the person serving would put up the POSITION CLOSED sign and go for their break.

That mentality that meant the Post Office and service should never be spoken in the same sentence still rules and pervades everything that the Post Office does.

Little wonder that the organisation is struggling to survive and it's prices are going though the roof.

The Post Office does not seem to have grasped the idea that the internet is here, it clings doggedly to the old ways, not bad in some ways, like delivering mail to your door, but in others the whole organisation needs to be picked up and shaken very hard.

We all use the internet now, but we do need to send letters from time to time. The PO wants us to use postcodes, but they don't make it easy to find them, on their website you are restricted in how many you can look up. Why? - you may ask.

revenue protection

Fair for everyone? Who are these people trying to kid? It's about revenue protection - which means charging people. If you can make life difficult for people and charge them for something then the Post Office will be there.

Using postcodes makes things easier for the Post Office, they should be making it easy for businesses to use them and everyone would benefit.

Making life difficult for everyone

A great example on the Post Office website shows just how to make life difficult for everyone because you are not considering or thinking about your customer and website user.

Track and Trace lets you check whether or not an item of mail has been delivered (if it has a tracking number), one visits the Post Office website and types the number into a box and the system tells you whether or not it was delivered.

Great, but . . .

post office

There are two things of special note.

Please enter your tracking number without spacing

Without spacing - what kind of programmers and web developers does the Post Office use? Removing spaces and checking what the user has typed is the first thing that any half-competent designer or programmer would do. This is a classic programming / design dilemma, do you reject the user's input and give them and error message telling them what was wrong so that they can correct it, or do you simply correct it for them? When it comes to removing spaces the answer is pretty obvious to anyone who has more that one brain cell, Ooops we are dealing with a certain organisation here.

For the benefit of the developers of the Post Office website here is the code (Javascript / jQuery) to remove spaces.

$(function() {
var txt = $("#myTextbox");
var func = function() {
.val(txt.val().replace(/\s/g, ''));

That will remove spaces as they are typed AND it catches the case where someone pastes into the box too.

Finally the Post Office takes the time and trouble to 'authorise us to use blah blah' - what kind of totally anal retentives are these people? Do they really think that anyone is going to read that garbage, let alone take any notice of it?

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