Best Practices In Paying Parking Tickets (online)


March 23, 2006

I just paid my parking ticket online. On the one hand, I was impressed with how easily the city took my money (after all, other e-commerce vendors sometimes make you fight to give them your money.) On the other hand, I was very surprised at one of their practices.

After I filled in the credit card information and pressed submit, a little popup window came back to me. “Did you really want to pay your credit card number 12345678 with credit card 5123456789012345?” It said. Just like an error window, “do you really want to close without saving your work?” And I started to wonder, did I do something wrong (besides letting my meter run out?)

So that’s a conversion issue, but the other problem is a web analytics issue. Since that little window pops up on the page with the “submit” button, the URL doesn’t change, and so measuring the popup effect has to be like measuring Flash — possible but requiring effort (and do you imagine a municipality doing it?). If, however, they just served up another page, the way most companies do (“Please confirm your order”), the measurement would be trivial.