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Bad Data, Old Data, Missing Data

Saturday night, I was driving around downtown Montreal, trying to find a TD ATM using Google Maps.

Try one: the ATM couldn’t be found. It looked like the building was shuttered. Second attempt: yes, it was a big TD branch located inside an office building. However, the ATMs weren’t available after hours with keycard access — a no go. On the third try, success! However, many of the streets were closed off because a Habs game had just ended and with no stopping on the street, it was by shear luck that we found an alley way to stop in.

Sure enough, we had seen an ATM the following day that was on a much more direct path to our hotel. It would have saved us about an hour of wandering around.

Bad data, old data, and missing data are just some categories of errors that can cause people to become frustrated. However, another mistake is not providing context for the results.

Some other questions that could have narrowed in which branch we visited?

  1. Has the information been confirmed in less than 2 months?
  2. Are the ATMs available from outside?
  3. Are they on the way to the hotel?
  4. Are there any streets closed in the area?

Deciding what would be a priority based on the above would have been a life saver. Where can we apply these type of questions to our apps?

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