A Tale of Two Web Sites

I just finished applying (online) for unemployment, and then followed the EDD‘s link to CalJobs. The difference in understanding of UI/UX principles between the two sites is shocking.

The EDD’s “Eapply4UI” site, aside from having a name that looks like it’s trying to fit onto a vanity license plate, is surprisingly good at what it does — particularly the input validation. When you type “San Francisco” into a text field and then tab off it, the page silently converts it to “SAN FRANCISCO”. When you enter a phone number in “123-456-7890” format, it silently auto-converts it to “(123) 456-7890”. And many items have little “Help” links that provide useful information.

Those links provide the information throught the somewhat ugly and low-tech expedient of popping up a JavaScript alert() box, but the information in that alert() box is useful and helpful. Sure, a hidden div that fades in over an 800-millisecond time-span, with nicely styled borders and rounded corners, would be prettier. But in terms of “bang for one’s (taxpayer-funded) buck”? This gets the job done.

CalJobs, on the other hand, has already earned my displeasure by assuming that everything in a registration form should be a doubled password field. Including your desired username, and your Social Security Number. And it doesn’t give any indication that you need to leave out the dashes in the SSN until you try to submit the form.

This is silly.

CalJobs people: Take a look at the EDD. And learn.

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