Back around the turn of the millennium and during the final heights of the dot com boom, I found myself in London building the UX for the brand new online-only cahoot bank. (I then realised the miserable weather I was enduring was, in fact, summer and hastily returned to a balmy Aussie winter. But I digress.) As with most things dot com, days regularly stretched into nights and frequently consisted of copious amounts of both caffeine and beer. Mistakes were made.
The team I was working in consisted of developers (clearly the intelligent ones), designers (the ones who made life hard for developers) and copywriters (the less said about these, the better). On one occasion, the latter decided that, in all their wisdom, it didn’t read well that all the references we had to the number 10 said, well, “10”. Instead, a more grammatically (literary?) correct term was “ten”. My job was to “fix” this across a very large site.
As all good developers know, there are few problems that can’t be fixed with a find and replace so clearly the right thing to do was this:
10 –> ten
A clearer head (probably one less inebriated by caffeine and beer), would have foreseen the carnage. Every number on the website which contained a 1 followed by a 0 became a bit dyslexic – 110 became 1ten, 5.10 became 5.ten and 101010 became, well, you get the idea. One of the things I learnt that day is that banking websites have a lot of numbers!
But of course a failed find and replace can easily be rectified by a find and replace in the opposite direction:
ten –> 10
This was clearly pure genius as it immediately fixed everything I’d just broken. It also brought another problem to my at10tion. This was a problem that can only be solved one by one and you want to know something about banking websites? They’re big. Very, very big.