Monday, April 5, 2010

Hi all

When I run into some issues on web pages and report them, one of the things that almost always happens is that they won’t deal with your request until you have deleted all cookies and tried again. The support guys have some steps to guide the user through before they can send anything on to the second level support. And this usually includes getting the users to delete all cookies.

Now, this is bad! IF there is an issue with the cookie for a particular web site, then

  1. Deal with it in your server side code
  2. Don’t ask me to delete ALL cookies, but instruct me to delete the one that is the right one for your web site.

Deleting all cookies will make me start over entering usernames and passwords for lots of web sites that are really not in any way impacted by the ongoing issue the support guys are trying to solve. It may solve the problem, sure… but it sure isn’t the RIGHT way to solve the issue. The right way would be to

  1. Make sure the cookie doesn’t get corrupted
  2. Handle the corrupt cookie in the server side code
  3. Only delete the necessary cookies and not all cookies.

Asking customers to delete all cookies is just plain lazy.

I have seen this from several web sites, and lately I actually got it from the mcp support team. I emailed them that I get this screen frequently:


As you can see, the web page instructs me to click an icon to sign in, but the icon is for signing out (Clicking it actually signs me out). Now, to me, this means that the server side code is faulty. The code generates a page that at the same time instructs me to sign in and to sign out. But, the reply from the mcp support team was that I was told to delete all cookies and try again. I have emailed them that I don’t think that is the right way to go about it and they have replied that deleting all cookies won’t do my system any harm and I should do it and get back to them. Sure it won’t harm my system, but it will for sure harm my user experience on all the web sites, whose cookies have now disappeared.

This is the way it always goes – not just with the mcp support team… I tell them it is the wrong solution and they instruct me to do it anyway.



Monday, April 5, 2010 11:33:09 AM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [3]  | 
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 3:31:16 PM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)
Funny(?) enough, this is more common than not on the MCP site, at least for me.
There is two issues to it: why didn't this get caught in QA and how can we get better communication between developers and support personel?

Catching it in the test phase is one thing for itself, but we really need to be better overall with having helpdesk/support personel communicating these types of things to developers. It's far too common to get standard "easy" replies that will fix the immediate problem, but not the root cause.

The day I get a reply that says something along the lines of "I talked to a dev about it and we've tracked it down to an external module and will patch it in the next release cycle as soon as it has passed through our test environment", I'll send them a case of champagne..
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 7:36:02 PM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)
Hi Marcus.

I agree with you. Too often we get the easy answer back - actually the last mail I got from mcphelp contained this:
"The unusual website behavior has been noticed with Internet Explorer 8 when a session in closed without Signing Out. We are actively working on this since it has been identified."

So... buy them some champagne? :-)

Friday, April 9, 2010 9:47:16 AM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)
Nah, they might get a beer though. I experience the issue with IE7 (maybe I should upgrade), so a fix for IE8 might not do it for me.. ;)
All comments require the approval of the site owner before being displayed.
Please login with either your OpenID above, or your details below.
Home page

Comment (Some html is allowed: a@href@title, b, blockquote@cite, em, i, strike, strong, sub, sup, u) where the @ means "attribute." For example, you can use <a href="" title=""> or <blockquote cite="Scott">.  

Enter the code shown (prevents robots):

Live Comment Preview

Theme design by Jelle Druyts