Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Parking Issues Part 2

The parking saga continues.

A few weeks ago I wrote about getting my first parking ticket. I have learnt my lesson and have been very careful to purchase a ticket ever since.

However I had real trouble buying a ticket the last couple of times, so much so I was late for my last appointment!

I am very up for any sort of security that means people are less likely to steal my money, but there are good ways of doing this and less good ways.

Currently if I pay with my current account it asks me to check my banking app, which asks me if I am indeed making this payment. One click - yes or no, and I am able to finish the process and continue with my life. This is the good way.

The less good way went something like this:

Open the parking app and select the car park and duration as normal. Select my payment card - in this case a credit card (I tend to pay for anything online with a credit card for extra security), and pay now.

It then asks me for my Verify by Visa password. My what? This was the first time I had heard anything about this. My credit card provider had sent me lots of emails and messages about the fact they would be sending me codes via SMS and I needed to make sure my mobile number was correct, but nothing about a password.

It took a bit of research and a phone call to get that set up - not the best way to create a password made up of a random selection of letters, numbers and symbols but it did seem to work, although I had to find a different way to pay that day.

The next time I tried again. Opened the parking app, selected the car park and duration and selected my payment card.

This time I was asked again for my Verify by Visa password. No problem, I had it saved in my password manager and could copy and paste it across. Now it wanted my special one time code sent by my credit card provider by SMS. A short wait and the code came through.

But I could not copy and paste this code. It would only copy the first word of the text message ‘NEVER’! Not very helpful.

Being dyslexic I find it very hard to remember number sequences longer than two numbers. Six is beyond me, so now I had to keep switching between the text and the parking app to enter the code, which although I checked and double checked was still rejected. Did I take too long to enter it or just get it wrong? No idea. And so the process started again.

It also did not work. All this for £1.40. I can pay contactless up to £100, and yet I can not pay for a parking ticket on an app that I have used many times before (I do pay for parking more often than not) with a card I have used many times before.

As I said I was running out of time. The 3rd attempt did not work either and I gave up and used the machine, saving myself 30p in the process. Maybe I will not bother with the app next time, all those 30p’s add up you know!

I do understand the need for security, but it just felt like whoever came up with the process for the credit card provider did not really think about their customers at all. How hard can it be to enter a code right? But as I have just shown, not as easy as you might think.

I would like to point out that this process worked perfectly when I used it to buy something on my laptop and could have my phone next to me to see the number, but I am sure I am not the only person who does not alway buy stuff on their laptop in perfect conditions.

I really hate to think how someone with accessibility needs will get on.

So something to keep in mind. Just because the journey looks like its straightforward to you, have you really thought about all the possibilities? And have to tested it with real people? This is why research is so important.

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