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Monday, May 14, 2018

What To Do When a Website Doesn't Work the Way You Expect It To

On a fairly regular basis I receive emails from readers who are experiencing frustration with a site, app, or add-on not working for them the way it worked for me in one of my demonstration videos.  I try to answer all of those emails, but I don't always get to them as quickly as I would like (despite appearances, this blog is a one man show). If you find yourself frustrated with a site, app, or add-on not working as you expected, here are some things that I suggest trying or checking.

1. Are you using a modern browser? In a lot instances of a site not working properly in a school, the cause can be traced to using an outdated version of a web browser. If you're using an older version of a browser not only will some sites not work correctly, you are also opening yourself up to more potential security threats. Find out which browser and version you're using by visiting WhatBrowser.org

2. Is it a Google Docs/ Sheets/ Forms/ Slides Add-on? If so, check with your G Suite administrator to make sure that you have permission to install Add-ons. On a related note, not all G Suite domains will get the latest features at the same time. I tend to write about new features as soon as they are announced, but for some domains the latest features won't appear until weeks later.

3. Do you have cookies enabled? Many websites require cookies in order to offer you the best possible experience. Explania and Common Craft offer good explanations of how cookies work.


4. Do you have a pop-up blocker turned on? It is not uncommon for a website to use a pop-up window for account log-ins. If the pop-up is blocked, you won't be able to log-in.

5. Are you using the site on a tablet/ iPad/ Chromebook? While it would be great if every site was optimized for tablets, that is not the case.

6. Have you checked your spam folder? If you sent a help request to the site developers/ app developers, they may have replied and had their messages flagged by your spam filter. I've experienced this more than once when using a school district email address.

7. In the words of The IT Crowd, "have you tried turning it off and on again?" - Seriously, this often solves many problems. And while you're restarting your computer, run those updates you've been ignoring since January :)


Disclosure: For years I have had an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft.