I've finally managed to book my ticket to see Zappa. It's the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble who play about 10 Frank Zappa classics. It's here in London on Baker Street.

The Royal Academy of Music website sucks. Its ticket booking part is completely broken. Fortunately I found a way to "hack" it so that I could get a ticket. And it only cost me £1 extra.

On that note, why isn't the box office open on weekends? And why is no one answering any of their phones on a Saturday?

To make a purchase you need an account. (if I wasn't lazy I would now link to multiple studies that have shown what a bad idea that is) but you can't create an account because of a Javascript bug that pops up and says something like "- Field not valid format". Obviously not telling you which field it has failed to evaluate and no, I didn't enter anything in invalid format. So, use a web browser where you can disable Javascript and try to submit the form. (I use Firefox and the Web Developer extensions) Remember you re-enable Javascript after you've created the account.

Now, when you submit the form it will just become a blank page with nothing on it. Don't worry. At this point they will have emailed you your password. Pick up that email and go here http://tickets.ram.ac.uk/peo/crm_login.asp to log in. Now, you can try to buy the ticket as normal and proceed to checkout.

How to book a ticket on the Royal Academy of Music's website On the checkout page, even if you're logged in and type in everything correctly it will still respond with an error. One of those annoying errors that means you have to click the Back button with the risk of losing what you've typed in. The trick is that you have to select "I would like to donate". Something I genuinely don't mind but if they're going to endorse such crappy websites it hurts a little to be generous towards them. Anyway, select £1 as the donation and at this point you should be able to make the purchase.

Granted, these guys are awesome when it comes to music and me, a mortal web developer, can barely rip a CD. However, if selling tickets is something they intend to do more and if there's some sort of relationship between selling tickets, profit and happiness I would urge them to re-evaluate their booking website.

PS. For the techy geekys, doing a W3C source validation on their site yields 184 errors and 8 warnings. Impressive!


Peter Bengtsson

In retrospect the concert was awesome! I genuinely enjoyed myself.

This blog post does sound very angry. I know. But it is frustrating when bad design gets in the way of doing what you want to do. I hope they succeed in upgrading their ticket booking site in the near future.

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