This problem pisses me off so much I am writing about it again. Today President Obama made a speech acknowledging many of the problems with the site, but he still did not provide any explanation or adequate solutions.
If I had a direct line to Obama, here is what I would say:
- President Obama should have reached out to his friends in Silicon Valley. Just a couple of years ago, he had dinner with all the big shots in the Valley: Facebook, Google, Apple, etc… Those people know a lot about running high traffic websites. He should have reached out to them for help.
- They should have stressed test and BETA tested the site. Seriously, how hard would it have been to open the site to BETA testing. One easy way to is just post a link on reddit. You will instantly get thousands if not millions of visits. Let real, internet savvy, people poke around. All of these stupid problems they are having would have been unearthed within seconds.
- There should have been a better workflow. They keep complaining that the system was complicated because it has to communicate with so many different services. You know what I do when I have to rely on third-party connections? I run all of that in the background. Away from a live user session. They should have done this. They should have created a SIMPLE registration system to collect user information. That system would not need to be archaic and backward compatible with anything else. It could have been build with the latest and greatest technology, made to scale easily, and independent of all other systems. This system could have, at the very least, registered the user and store their contact information. Then if they can not provide the user with real-time quotes or enrollment, it could tell the user to check back at a later date, or wait for an update. This way, they could have run all of the heavy processing in the background away from the heavy traffic. This is like basic computer architecture!