Thursday, June 19, 2008

web: nested levels of anthem.com (Blue Cross) web site woe

The Anthem (the insurance formerly known as Blue Cross) web site doesn't tell you what your medical coverage is internationally. So use the Provide Access link to fill in their Member Access Feedback Form to suggest they need this.

Ahh, but inevitably SPage's law I kicks in:
The part of every Web site with the most problems is the feedback form for reporting problems.
Sure enough:
  • I can't type anything in the form. Its textareas start off disabled, but when I click "No, the information was not easy to find" the textarea underneath doesn't enable. So the Member Feedback Form doesn't work.
  • Fine, I'll use their general Contact Us form to submit a bug report about their feedback form:
    Please pass this feedback on to your manager of Web Site engineering.

    Your Member Access Feedback Form (arrived from the _Provide Feedback_ link) does not work in my browser, Firefox 3 on Windows.

    I am never able to type in the textareas. They start off disabled. I think when I click "No" in the radiobutton above one, it is supposed to enable. The form displays a bunch of JavaScript warnings and errors in the Error Console, in particular this error is basic bad Web programming:

    Error: document.all[obj_textArea] is undefined
    Source File: https://secure1.anthem.com/wps/myportal/escmybcc/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLN3GNDzZw0i_IdlQEADWd-xo!
    Line: 933

    For how to fix, see, e.g. http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Migrate_apps_from_Internet_Explorer_to_Mozilla#Accessing_elements

    Again, please pass this BUG REPORT about your web site on to the engineering manager of your anthem.com Web site and reply when you have done so.
    Wow, free QA. Anthem is lucky to have me as a customer who can help them fix their Web site.
    • But SPage's law I kicks in, recursively! I click [Send Message] and get:
      Message length should be less than 540 characters.
      These clowns can waste days writing dynamically-enabled textareas that don't work, but they can't put the HTML to display "Message (540 characters maximum)" on a form, or write a simple script that updates "18 characters remaining"?!
    So I have to remove all the useful information from my feedback. But the failures continue:
    • When the form redisplays telling me how I've screwed up, it loses the state of its dropdown.
    • The displays "Email(ampersand)nbspAddress". Someone left off a semicolon in the HTML.
    • Subject isn't marked as required field, but if I don't choose something from it, I get the error "Please select a subject."

    At this point the Contact Us form doesn't work to report the Member Feedback form that doesn't work to report that the Web site doesn't have needed information. As always, some Vice President of Customer Relations is congratulating himself that they get so few complaints.

    There's no subject on this form for "Web site problem", so I'm using "Grievances". All these complaints are going to some poor drone in the "Grievances" department at Anthem who has no idea who runs the web site.
What was I doing? Oh yes, trying to find out about travel coverage. More problems:
  • Maybe the Certificate Booklets (nice meaningless term) for my coverage have the information. Even though these are basic links to PDFs, every single one gives a 404 - File not found.
  • Once you've logged in as a member, there's no search on anthem.com's web site.
  • When your session times out because you're busy making notes about everything wrong with anthem.com, you have to log in again. That's understandable, but you login to some useless promotional site, and when you click to get back to the members site you have to login a second time.
  • If you go to a missing page , you get redirected to www.anthem.com/anthem404.html. But!
    • This picture says

      This content has been Moved to Our New Portal
      Redirecting You Now

      Wait as long as you like, it never goes anywhere.
    • Even though the page URL says "404", anthem.com never returns a 404! To my browser this is a legitimate page. The Vice President of Technology is congratulating herself that they have no broken pages on their web site.
    I should amend SPage's Law I to add: the error page for a web site has errors.
Just awful. I will send $15 by PayPal to anyone who can give me the work e-mail address of the QA Manager of anthem.com.

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