Australia Post: Please test your web forms

December 27, 2012

Australia Post invited me to participate in an online survey — the invitation was on the printed receipt I received from a recent transaction. Off I went to the URL, and got stymied by the first field:


I clicked the ‘here’ link and got this:


I clicked OK, then clicked ‘here’ again and this time I got the correct information.

So what went wrong?

I figured it out eventually after a couple of attempts using different scenarios. When I went to the URL either my cursor was automatically placed in the first field, or I put it there ready to fill in the form. At that point I realized I didn’t know what the Outlet ID was, so I clicked ‘here’. However, the form still thought my cursor was in the first field (not moved and clicked on ‘here’), so it spat out the error message above.

It’s only after I clicked OK, that the cursor moved out of the first field and so clicking ‘here’ again opened the correct pop-up window with the information I needed.

Some simple user testing would have shown that issue almost immediately. So I can only assume that no user testing was done, perhaps not even any in-house testing. <sigh>

It wouldn’t have taken much testing — this form only had about eight simple fields to complete. And someone went to the bother of writing an error message in case the user did something wrong. This user didn’t do anything wrong — she clicked on the link, but as the web page didn’t recognize that her cursor was no longer in the first field, it spat out the error.

An even better option would have been for the developer to have put the user assistance right on the interface — there was plenty of room to have an image that highlighted the required information (which was in the pop-up window instead). By putting the user assistance right in the interface, the user wouldn’t have to have hunted out the ‘here’ link, got the same result I did, and if they persevered, they would have eventually got the pop-up window with the image — that’s some six or more clicks… for ONE field on this form. A simple image showing the two areas of the printed receipt that contained the information you had to add would have saved a lot of time and frustration.


  1. Hi Rhonda,

    Thank you for picking up on this and taking the time to blog about it. We are always looking to improve our processes here at Australia Post, have taken this feedback onboard and will ensure we improve the experience for our customers on our web forms in the future.

    Digital Team | Australia Post

  2. Just tried to do the survey from my receipt today, and I get the following message on a blank screen: “The system cannot find the file specified.”

    My customer feedback? Test your apps before promoting to your customers!


  3. Thanks for sharing, Alex. You’d think after James from Australia Post responded that some changes (for the better) would have been made, but your experience indicates that’s not the case.


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