Tag: shadow labor

Bad Hospitality Plus Shadow Labor

Full Disclosure: I’m only able to write this post because I got a parking ticket. Parking is the wrong word, because the ticket was actually for having a temporary registration displayed past its expiration date. Right – the piece of paper indicating that I had a new, paid, registration on the way? There are layers to this situation, but what I really want to discuss is the online bill pay system I used to pay my ticket.

It was pretty straightforward, name, address, ticket number. My ticket number as displayed didn’t work, so I scrolled down and found some instructions. Here are those instructions:


I’d imagine you’re going through the same series of emotions that I did: confusion, then suspicion, then despair. Yes, they are passing the work that could be done by ten lines of JavaScript onto their customers. Why format the information using a computer when you can force folks using your product to do it?

This is bad hospitality. It’s also shadow labor, which is a whole different can of worms. Luckily for http://www.parkingticketpayment.com, their customers are unique in that they absolutely must give them their money, regardless of terrible UX and hostile hospitality.

Don’t make your customers do the math. Please.