Monday, 20 October 2008

IEC website accessibility - follow up

It would appear that my posting of yesterday, IEC website only open to Internet Explorer users , has certainly caused a storm of interest.

While this was not the intention of the posting, it is nonetheless reassuring to see the effective of online media to draw attention to a particular matter and to involve the wider community.

There have been some interesting comments left, on this blog and other websites.
One of the most controversial was left anonymously, and alleges that the IEC is not as independent as first appears. While this remains just an anonymous comment, my friend and fellow blogger, Eishman, has picked up on this sentiment in his post, Corporatocracy alive and well in SA?

Having looked again today at the IEC website and found myself faced with the same error page, I wonder if my anonymous commentator has only JUST been assigned this "urgent" assignment to ensure that the website is compatible with all browser types?
if this is the case, then one has to wonder how long this has been the state of affairs? and indeed, with the popularity of browsers OTHER than Internet explorer - just how many people have tried to access the IEC website while it has been "under construction"?

A web designer, Mokokoma Mokhonoana has looked at this issue from a web design point of view on his blog, pointing out several errors that this type of error page is committing from a professional web design point of view. This makes you wonder what type of web budget there is in place - or what the money is being spent on?

Having decided, against my will, to refer to the IEC website using Internet Explorer, I found that in fact I was not missing out on too much. While I could download the Constitution and Electoral Acts, I couldn't immediately find answers to the questions I had.

The website is kept up to date though - with the latest posting being made on the 14th October 2008 - detailing the Municipal by-elections in Gauteng.
Does this really mean that the IEC have been updating this website - but for Internet Explorer users - and blissfully unaware of those of us with any other browsers? Seems the narrow mindedness knows no end...


Mokokoma Mokhonoana said...

Hi Mike, the fact that the site is updated makes it even worse... because it means they're happy with their current look - a fried of mine emailed me a screenshot from IE... the site looks so outdated. And the layout is 'broken' still on IE!

Mike said...

Hi Mokokoma, yes I completely agree - the fact that updating is happening, but the design issues you have identified are not being resolved and the compatibility problem (which they appear to be aware of) is not resolved, does rather make the entire situation worse.

I appreciate your opinion and the input from a design point of view.

Anonymous said...

Your anonymous commentator was asked to urgently fix the few pages that allow you to check if you are registered, and this was only due to the fact that certain political parties complained that these pages could not be accessed by Firefox users.

As far as I know, the IEC has more than enough budget to address these issues. Problem is, most of that budget will be sucked up by Accenture greed.

Outside of my IEC contract, I run numerous of my own web sites and have been an active contributor to Firefox for many years. I'm well aware of web standards and how the IEC, influenced by Accenture and the use of Microsoft Dot Net, have failed to meet those standards.

Unfortunately it's an extremely frustrating task to get the IEC to open their eyes and do things correctly... Mainly because IEC decisions are steered by Accenture.

You need to understand that every time Microsoft release a new version of Dot Net, the IEC is faced with the possibility of rewriting systems. The more often systems are rewritten, the more money Accenture stand to make.

marco said...

Looking at the web archive one can see that the site has been displaying the same error page since at some time between 13 and 31 May 2007:

Alex Comninos said...

the site can be accessed from any browser by simply changing the user agent string on the browser.

for simple instructions see:

i was quite flabbergasted at how easy it was to get into the site with firefox

this draws attention to the fact that whatever is wrong with the site could actually be quite a simple problem to fix (like getting it to accept any user agent string)

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