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An annoying start to the week turns into a Web Odyssey!
Home » An annoying start to the week turns into a Web Odyssey!

An annoying start to the week turns into a Web Odyssey!

2 screenshots of the AA breakdown mobile website, containing the details of the car breakdown. The right-hand one was taken when the screen was pulled up, showing the extra text “No longer need assistance?” and the following link, in red: “Cancel this help request

Sometimes I end up accessibility testing in the most unlikely of circumstances!

Monday mornings can be quite the challenge, and six months ago, mine started with a hiccup that threw a spanner in the works. As I prepared for the day, my trusty 22-year-old Volvo decided it wasn't quite ready for action. A familiar issue with the immobiliser cropped up, but usually, a quick fix involving disconnecting the battery for a few minutes did the trick. Not this time.

Five minutes passed, then ten, and my car remained unresponsive. With a one-hour drive home ahead of me, I knew I needed a solution fast. The logical next step – seek assistance from the Automobile Association (AA).

With a quick visit to the AA's website, I initiated a request for help. While waiting for the cavalry to arrive, I decided to give the battery trick another shot. This time, a 15-minute wait did the trick, and my beloved Volvo sprang back to life. Hooray! Crisis averted, or so I thought.

The AA, in their usual fashion, notified me that their arrival was scheduled for another hour. Realising I no longer required their assistance, I attempted to cancel the request, thinking it would be a straightforward process.

Here's where the plot thickens.

Glancing at the website, the cancellation link was nowhere in sight. Frustration kicked in until, as if by magic, I pulled the screen up and, lo and behold, the elusive cancel link appeared. A peculiar dance with my phone screen, you might say.

The challenge lay in a mischievous overlay at the bottom of the mobile website. A large yellow button, beckoning to "Check for Updates," hogged the lower section, obstructing the cancel link. Lift a finger, and the cancel link vanished. I tried every trick in the book – tapping while keeping the screen up, attempting it in landscape mode, switching between browsers – to no avail. All thanks to this "helpful" overlay.

Undeterred, I thought, "I'll just give them a ring." Little did I know, locating the AA's phone number on their website resembled a game of hide-and-seek. A futile search ensued.

In the end, resorting to Google proved the only way to unearth their contact number. A call to the AA, a bit of explanation, and finally, success – the visit was cancelled.

All this hassle, all due to a silly overlay! A reminder that even the simplest tasks can turn into an unexpected web adventure.

Since then, my old Volvo finally gave up the ghost and I now drive a reliable Hyundai instead!

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Clive Loseby

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