Form usability

Just a rant. I’m filling in a form for travel insurance through the Post Office, and I’ve just got to the “sign up for an account” bit. And that form annoys the hell out of me. Post Office flawed login
form First: you’re the bloody Post Office! You make tons of money selling postcode data to all and sundry! Make it so I can just type in my postcode and it looks up my address! Fergawdsake, if they’re not using it themselves, why would I want to licence it? Second, I bet that damned nearly all their customers are UK people. So why not preselect “United Kingdom” in the dropdown? And on that subject, why have that dropdown in the first place? I’m sure someone, once, at some dim point in the past, grabbed a list of all the countries they could find and stuck it in a <select> element, and since then people have just copied it. Round and round the web. Why do you care if they’re in Anguila or Aruba? Does anyone ever actually report on this? Especially since they’re not passing back an ID, which means this isn’t a database lookup; it’s passing back the name. Especially since most people for this site will be in the UK; why not just let non-UK types type in the name of their country? Who cares if they spell it wrong? I’ll bet there are ambiguous countries on that list, and countries that no longer exist, and there are countries that do exist that aren’t on it. Stop copying this huge country list into your websites! Especially since, according to their terms and conditions, “the products and services featured on this website are only available within the United Kingdom, or in relation to postings from the United Kingdom”. Thirdly, I was really, sorely tempted, when I saw the “I would like to be known as” box, to enter “Grandmaster Ramrod”. Is any of this ever going to get any better?

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