On Giving, Or A User-Interface Lesson

I have had quite a few people ask me for clarification of something that shows up on my page on the Assemblies of God World Missions Giving website. They’ve made quite a nice and secure site for easy giving online, but there are a few things that aren’t user-friendly.

The questions have been about the little section called Class. The page looks like this:

AG GivingYou can select the amount you want to give or put in your own amount, and you can choose to give once or to set up a monthly withdrawal or charge as a monthly commitment. That’s all fairly self-explanatory. But in the middle there’s that little dropdown called Class, with two unhelpful options, which are 00 and 09. There’s an explanation, if you hover on “What is a class?” but the explanation itself doesn’t help a lot.

The problem is that everyone inside the AGWM world knows what Classes are and what a 00 account is and what a 09 account is and six thousand other kinds of accounts, and it’s really easy to forget the average non-AGWM person has no idea what those are. This is a user-interface problem, where they’ve forgotten the needs of the average user. They really should have short titles there rather than “00″ and “09.” This is a very common mistake among anybody designing anything: they forget that the average user doesn’t have the same amount of knowledge about the thing as they themselves do. (Maybe I should email them and see if they’ll change it.)

So here’s the translation:
00 is my General Account. It’s the account that all my expenses will be drawn out of: travel, housing, taxes, etc. If you want to give to me as a missionary overseas, give to that account.
09 is Personal. This is money that will be given directly to me as a personal gift in exclusion of my expenses. As, for instance, birthdays, Christmas, Guy Fawkes Day, 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who–you know, usual gift-giving days.

Usually you’ll want to choose 00. ‘Cos it’s not the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who every day.

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