Vodafone have launched a Christmas e-card site with a difference called Bosco is back. On this site you can put together a custom video e-card featuring Bosco, a perennial kids TV favourite in Ireland.
Why does this site peeve me? Well, due to the way the video is put together (pre-recorded video clips that are assembled in real-time) a lot of the process is driven by drop down menus to select names etc. This is where the problem starts.
As people who have come to my conference presentations know, a lot of my interest in Information Quality stems from the fact that my name (Daragh) has approx 12 alternate spellings and can be either male or female. These simple facts have motivated me over the years to be a bit pedantic about my name (1 ‘R’, a ‘GH’ at the end -silent, Male). So I was a bit dismayed when I flagged my gender as ‘Male’ on the “Bosco is Back” and looked for my name, only to find…
That’s annoying. To cater for the alternate spellings (such as Daragh, Darach, Dara, Daire) it would have been easy enough just to link them to the same video insert. However, it is not as bad as if I was a woman. According to Vodafone “Darragh” (and apparently all the phonetic variants thereof) is only a guys name.
Also, some of the inserts give unexpected outcomes. I was going to send my wife an e-card describing her as a “Dreamer”. Thankfully there is a preview mode which showed me what she’d see. Given that the squeaky voiced puppet would have demanded that she “stop thinking about that girl” I decided it might require more explaining at home than I could possibly manage.
Yes, the whole thing is a bit of fun and I’m probably being overly pedantic. However it does highlight the risk of having ‘non-quality’ outcomes when you rely on drop down menus and defined lists to operate a business process. What, if instead of producing a cheezee e-card I had been applying for phone service from vodafone?
When I get a chance I’ll post up the slides I use about “why I got into Information Quality”… research this morning has identified another 3 variant spellings of my name at least….