Bad UI Design – Get your steps in order

Wed, June 18, 2008, 05:20 PM under UserInterfaceDesign
I know there is a generic lesson for UI designers in the mini-rant below...

Recently I had to change the pin of a smartcard that I have which required a number of steps:

Step 1: Insert smartcard into your laptop reader.
Step 2: Run client tool XYZ and click on a button which will auto-populate a textbox.
Step 3: Take the textbox results of Step 1 and paste them on a separate textbox on a webpage
Step 4: Enter in a second textbox on the webpage, the smart card number
Note: this is a number that is never used for anything else and is in small print on the side of the smart card. So I had to remove the card to copy the info.
Step 5: Hit the button on the webpage and check your email
Step 6: wait for email. Read the email (which is also sent to a bunch of approvers) which gives you a string – copy it
Step 7: Paste the string into a second textbox in the client tool we run at step 2
Result: BOOM with a message along the lines of: "The two strings (challenge / response) are not pairs. Please ensure that you do not remove the card during the entire process."

Why couldn't they have started with that statement up front? Why don't they state that next to step 4 at least? Why after removing and reinserting the card, don't they detect and give you a warning that remainder steps are futile? Why don't they take step 4 and move it to Step 0?