Thursday, 17 April 2014

Maybe they should have thought about that.

Recently I was working in the USA with some of our teams, during this time I unfortunately ended up having to visit a medical centre due to getting a chest infection.  This article is my experience of this visit from a testing perspective.

Some background context, I am a resident of the United Kingdom; my permanent address is in the UK format of:
Line 1 – the addressee's name
Line 2 – building number and street name
Line 3 – locality name, if required
Line 4 – POST TOWN, please print in capitals
Line 5 – POSTCODE, please print in capitals, in full and on a separate line

I arrived at the medical centre, approached the receptionist and explained my need to see a doctor.  The receptionist asked if I had visited the medical centre before.  I replied that this was my first visit and the receptionist stated that I would need to fill out some registration details.  They handed me an Ipad which has some medical registration software installed.  I sat down and proceeded to enter the details the software was asking.  Standard information was asked for such as name, DOB (in the American format of mm/dd/yy), previous conditions.  After about ten minutes of filling in personal information the system then asked for my home address, with each line being a separate screen.  I entered the details for my home address in the UK, including country and then I came across a problem.  (Surprise surprise) It asked me to enter a ZIPCODE.  I proceeded to enter my POSTCODE and the system reported this was not a valid ZIPCODE and would not let me proceed.  There was no option to bypass this and the system did not seem to be able to deal with international visitors. So after wasting fifteen minutes entering my details on a system the receptionist gave me a pen and a printed form.  This form did not have anything for stating if you were an international visitor; it still only had an option for a ZIPCODE. I completed the form and handed it back.

I eventually saw a doctor, got the required medicine and went to pay for the treatment.  This is where the fun started!  I needed an invoice to be able to claim back the costs via my medical insurance.  The receptionist could not enter my details on to the billing system without a valid US ZIPCODE!  After an hour of attempting many ways to get around this I gave them my office address and was able to get a copy of the invoice.  So in total what should be have been an hour visit to the medical center ended up being a three hour visit.

We are living in a global world where it is more and more common for people to be working away from their normal residency it would make sense for software to be able to deal with international visitors.  Maybe whoever tested this system should have thought about this and tested that people from outside the USA can register on the system. 

So the next time you are testing a system in which address details are being requested maybe think about what are the chances that someone who is not from that country, in which the system is being used, may need to register.  If there is a possibility that this could happen then test for that possibility.  

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