• authorities
  • bad UX
  • digitization

The other day at the business registration or: Digital vs. paper

A few days ago, I founded a new company and had to register a business. A quick search revealed that this should be possible online at hamburg.de. But then everything turned out completely different…

I got relatively far in the application section (without any major usability problems) but failed when entering the account holder (see picture below, Nr. 1) – please believe me that I entered the account holder according to the specifications. No idea what was going on there…

Eventually it worked, but the summary showed the very specific error message (see picture below, Nr. 2); of course, I knew immediately what to do… NOT!

Screenshot Errors
1) The account holder must be specified. Valid values: max. length 120 characters; allowed are letters,
numbers, and the characters “+ – . , &”;
2) Entry problems, Other document per file attachment missing

The application could not be sent, so I sent an email with a screenshot to the trade office to ask what the error could be. And here it comes: The first mail I received was the one below, telling me that I could expect an answer in about 8 weeks – which made me laugh out loud for the first time.

Screenshot Mail
Dear Sir or Madam, We hereby confirm receiving your email. It is now being processed, which will take
approximately 8 weeks due to the current situation. We therefore kindly ask you to refrain from any
further inquiries. Yours sincerely, Fachamt Verbraucherschutz, Gewerbe und Umwelt – Gewerberegister –

After all, 10 minutes later a second mail actually came from a section head (!) saying: “Dear Mr. Bosenick, better download the registration form from the office’s website, fill it out, scan your ID and send it to the above postal address. Regards…” That made me laugh the second time and also cry a little. So much for the authorities’ digitalization strategy.


Tim Bosenick

Tim founded SirValUse in 2000 and co-founded nurago in 2005 and USEEDS in 2008. As a “dinosaur” in the UX industry, he focuses on the organizational implementation of UX in companies and on improving the employee experience in the digital age.

Conglaturation!!! You've found our secret.
Our site provides a much better user experience when used in portrait mode, so we advise you switch to portrait to enjoy it.
If you want to continue using in landscape mode at your own risk (for your enjoyment), you can use this button :-)

Use site in landscape mode