Bug in the BSNL Portal


Today, i have come across an interesting issue with BSNL Portal. I have been using this site for online billing and payments for about an year.

Followed the usual steps and my objective is too see the bill and pay it online. To my surprise, the system says

This error message ” Invalid object name ‘RECEIPT_MASTER’ “ is strange and there is no information for me on how do i proceed further. The application might be unable to get the specified object from the Database.

In case if this happens on the last day of the payment, on line users are liable for late payment charges due to this issue.

Users are familiar with the messages like, Unable to process the information as of now & please check back after some time.

The error messages must be meaningful to the business users and we need to make sure that the technology related terms / phrases are not part of the same.

Happy Testing…

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6 Comments on “Bug in the BSNL Portal”

  1. Ben Simo Says:

    Great post.

    Enigmatic error messages are all too common in software. Error messages that should be written for users are all too often written for developers. This is wrong.

    Information to help developers identify and troubleshoot problems belongs in application logs, not user interfaces.

    Error messages need to tell users how the error impacts them and what they should do next. This is especially true when it involves a people’s money.

    Ben Simo
    http://QuestioningSoftware.com


  2. @Ben Simo,

    Thanks for your commens.

    The error messages must contain the information over the fail in a language that’s familiar with the target users.

    The application log will be used by the tech team to resolve the issues and it must be developer centric.

    The error messages in the User Interface must help the user to know what steps leaded to the problem and how to over come the same.

    It’s a good practice to include customer centric stories in the bug reports.

    Regards,
    Venkat.


  3. I think they have fiixed it now.I liked your observation , you can also post in http://www.qastreet.com

  4. Ram Says:

    while i agree with both your opinions on what the error messages need to convey. At times very generic error messages are not good either. What to do you expect user to do next – “Unable to process the information as of now & please check back after some time” –> ok- as a user I see this quoted message. how does a user knwo what caused it. This message probably holds good if it is environmental related issue.

    what if it was not? what if it was caused due to some action user took? Most of the time, Code knows what happened – so providing user friendly message like above is good, however there should also be some reference code to this occurance so that user should be able to contact CSR and provide this reference for CSRs to be able to troubleshoot further along.

    -Ram


  5. @ Ram,

    Nice to see you back.

    My mission is to tell the people who involved in the application development to provide useful messages that help users what to do next.

    “Unable to process the information as of now & please check back after some time”
    It’s generic statement and as u suggested it may not be helpful.

    It’s tough incase we are not handling the exception cases and user need to start again.

    Regards,
    Venkat.

  6. water diet Says:

    water diet

    Bug in the BSNL Portal | Software Testing Blog


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