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Troubleshooting – Where do I start?

Troubleshooting – Where do I start?

It’s been a few weeks, and the program is well underway. The entrants are submitting applications as well as paying for them. Late in the day, an email comes in with HELP in bold letters from an entrant. They are not able to create an entry!

Could it be a system failure? Is my payment gateway working? How much money could this catastrophe cost us?!

…don’t panic. Take action. Here are the first steps that should be taken to resolve the issue.

1. Reproduce the Issue

Try to follow the steps they’ve described either with their account or with your own. Are you experiencing the same problem they are? If not, is anyone on your team or otherwise? Chances are, if your team can’t reproduce the issue reported, it’s either user error or only afflicting this one person.

If you can reproduce the issue, contact your support team immediately with the information gathered.

2. Check the Operating System and Browser

If the user reports they are on Windows and using Internet Explorer 7, chances are most websites they visit with that browser will not work. Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft and we advise strongly against retiring it. Developers no longer write code with any consideration for Internet Explorer. We strongly advise using Google Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge browsers when possible.

Is this user on a MAC? Which browser are they using? Try asking them to use a different browser and see if the experience is any different. Further, if they have a Windows PC, have them try the same actions there to see if anything changes.

3. Firewall Protected

Everyone is connecting to the contest portal from all over the world, whether it be from home, school, work, or on the go through a WiFi hotspot. If an entrant is reporting a particular page being blocked or being unable to access certain pages, have them check internally with their IT team, especially if they are at their offices. There can be occasions where a particular Firewall doesn’t like what it is seeing and blocks the entrant from proceeding. The IT team internally should be able to assist with that or white list the contest site.