RE: Cisco Software Downloads – Registration Concerns

Yesterday, I registered a user account with As you can deduct from yesterday’s tweets, this was not a very pleasant experience. My frustration grew so big, that I, when prompted for feedback about the registration procedure, entered the F-word a few times to be done with it.

Today, however, I got a polite mail from a Cisco employee, asking me to elaborate on the issues I had. This is what I wrote. Let it be a lesson to people who design registration forms for websites.


> > We appreciate your feedback and regret any inconvenience.

And I apologize for my choice of words in the feedback I sent you.

> > Can you please elaborate on the issues you faced with registration? Was
> > there a specific step or question that caused issues? These details will
> > help us improve the website for all customers.

Well, it took me no less than 9 times to successfully submit the registration form, including a few times were I forgot to re-enter a password, as this isn’t kept between subsequent submits.

A couple of annoyances:

  •  The field named ‘Retype Email Address’ doesn’t make sense. Why do you want me to copy and paste my email address??
  •  Phone number check is too strict. I entered ‘+3140……..’, which was declined because of the ‘+’.
  •  Postal code check is too strict. I entered ‘5612 AX’, which is the offical notation in The Netherlands, but it was declined because of the space in the middle.
  •  I am obliged to choose and answer 2 (two!) secret security questions. I do not understand how these questions increase security in any way, and I do not want to use them. I do not forget passwords (or rather: my secure password store doesn’t). Answers to ‘security questions’, however, I cannot remember and it is none of your business how my first pet was named.
  •  If any of the entered values does not conform to what the website expects, a message is printed for the first error only. So you fix that, resubmit, find out you forgot the passwords, resubmit again, only to find out there a more errors to fix. That’s just dumb.
  •  Finally, after submitting the form a number of times, the website gave me a ‘Your session timed out’ error, and all values were erased so I had to start from scratch.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Martijn Grendelman

P.S. The evil registration form can be found here.