The first in a series of posts that look at alternate designs to something I’ve come across.
Trying to figure out how much my son’s savings bonds are currently worth I searched the web and found the savings bond calculator on the TreasuryDirect site. The calculator looks like:
The value as of, Series, and Denomination fields appeared straightforward and were set to the values I needed. The Bond Serial Number and the Issue Date fields gave me pause. Where was the serial number on a savings bond and what format could/should I use for the date?
I noticed the Help icon and the Instructions link. Both lead to a page with a lot of text:
I did find information on the page that said the serial number was in the lower right corner. There are two numbers in this area so I assume this means the number in large print. Entering the number is optional though this is not indicated by the calculator.
As for the date format the Instructions page indicates it is in the upper right and is the month and year. Just looking at the bond I was able to figure out (or at least assume) the issue date format wanted by the site (MM/YYYY) without the instructions.
OK, these are minor issues but very avoidable. Just adding a little more information to the calculator and the Instructions page isn’t needed and the task becomes even easier (I hope!).
My first alternate design is:
This adds indications of what is required, the date format, and where to find the serial number, if desired.
Another alternate could use the savings bond layout to help fill in the fields. The EE, E, I, and Savings Note formats are different so this example will make use of the EE format. Entering the series would display the appropriate layout for the type of bond:
So there you go. Anyone have another design approach?