Tech Talk

Permanent link to Making Donations Easy Making Donations Easy

Monday, March 25, 2002

My mother-in-law is participating in a walk to raise money to fight breast cancer, with an organization called Palotta TeamWorks. I created a website for her to use, and of course went to create a link to the organization's donations system for her. Unfortunately, I couldn't. The donations system was completely server-side, and didn't allow any other way in other than manually picking all the options, and searching etc. C'mon, do you want people's money, or not? Then make it easy for them to give!

Compare these two scenarios:

Scenario 1 - Current method

  1. Follow my link
  2. Choose an event, which means you go back to my mother-in-law's page to find which one
  3. Follow the link again
  4. Choose the correct event
  5. Enter my mother-in-law's name, and search
  6. Click her name to select her
  7. Confirm that you've selected the right person
  8. Fill out a big form with your name, address, phone, email
  9. Finally get to choose how much to give
  10. Pay for it with bank account or credit card

Scenario 2 - Recommended method

  1. Follow my link
  2. Choose how much you want to give
  3. Enter your name, address, email
  4. Pay for it

Big problems

  • The system produced ugly error messages when I tried to hyperlink to my mother-in-law's donation page. C'mon, at least provide error messages that mean something to your users - hopefully your development team is done by now!

Error: 500

Location: /3DBO-2002/jsp/pgDonationLevel.jsp

Internal Servlet Error:

javax.servlet.ServletException: TransactionObject Not Found at org.apache.jasper.runtime.PageContextImpl.handlePageException( at jsp._0002fjsp_0002fpgDonationLevel_0002ejsppgDonationLevel_jsp_4._jspService( at org.apache.jasper.runtime.HttpJspBase.service( at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(

etc., etc.

  • You had to enter your phone number - why?
  • You have to select to not be included in junk mailings - oooh, very bad. In little print at the bottom, too.
  • Withdrawal from Bank Account is default. I missed that option at first, and wondered why there wasn't a credit card option. Don't most people do this by credit card?

The way it could be

Compare all this mess with the simplicity of PayPal. I would use Amazon as an example, but you have to create an account first. Just plug in a sample donation to me, to try it out! :)


LaRocque Family