UCAS had their 'Black Friday' today - Retailers, are you ready for yours?

UCAS Crash Frustration

The UCAS Track system crashed today - Retailers, the actual Black Friday is coming up fast - Are you ready?

For those who don't know, today is A-Level results day. My daughter was one of those affected, along with 250,000 others.

To give some context, her results will determine the course of the rest of her life.

Today Should Have Been Exciting

Today should have been exciting, nervous, scary even… but it shouldn't have been frustrating.

A quarter of a million students have invested 2 years of their lives into their A-levels. The least they can expect in return, is to get their results.

250,000 Frustrated Customers  

Instead, it's been such a frustrating morning for her and all other A-Level students. With THREE different errors thrown up by UCAS's Track software, each could have been avoided with proper performance engineering:

  • The generic, 'Track has encountered an error'
  • The frustrating timeouts
  • The confusing 'Script Error' pop up

Refresh, Refresh, Refresh...

At first we just tried to refresh every few seconds, hoping it would respond. We then resolved to try every few minutes, but it didn't make any difference… it was all she could thing about. As much as she wanted to leave it and wait patiently, we just couldn't. It was too important.

They say a watched kettle never boils, but it does. You know it's going to happen eventually, it just seems to take longer. This though, had no such light at the end of the tunnel. The minutes ticked by, 10, 20, 30… my daughter was inundated with messages from her friends, all in the same position, nobody could get in.

Finally, an email from her first choice university confirmed my daughter had a place! The relief was palpable, but so was the feeling of hostility towards UCAS. Their reputation forever tarnished, at least in this household. We don't know when their website came back up, however, it was reported down or unable to cope for hours.

2020 Has Already Been Crazy - Don't Make it Worse for Yourself and Your Customers 

This has already been a crazy year for A-level students - Their studies disrupted, no chance to say goodbye to their classmates or teachers, no opportunity to celebrate leaving school. UCAS made this morning a nightmare, but this is nothing new - I created the video below in 2018 and it's even more relevant today.

 

Are You Ready?

In the case of UCAS, Students have no option but to wait. Your customers though, they can go elsewhere and they might never come back. 

A lot of major organisations just don't prepare adequately for these peaks. They cross their fingers or bury their heads in the sand. Hoping that they will be ok.

Black Friday 2020 Will Be The Biggest Yet

This year, Black Friday is poised to be the biggest sales spike of all time. How would a crash affect your revenue, your reputation?

Can you afford not to performance test? 

Stephen Davis
by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is the founder of Calleo Software, a Micro Focus (formerly HPE Software) Gold Partner. His passion is to help test professionals improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

To view Stephen's LinkedIn profile and connect 

Stephen Davis LinkedIn profile

13th August 2020

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