Confessions of Another Common Reader

Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow

May1

Actually, I hate zoos, so that’s not a great choice for a title – apart from the cultural associations with wide-eyed excitement at going somewhere Big and Elsewhere. Off to Internet World at Earls Court tomorrow, and feeling quite excited about it. It’s a free event, so it’s only costing work the price of my train ticket plus the time spent there, but nevertheless there have been rumblings about it…. sigh.
Still – I’m going and that’s that. I have planned myself a hectic programme of seminars which actually leaves me relatively little time to do what I really intended to, which was visit as many stands as possible and come home with a large amount of literature about CMSs (strictly work-related). Nevertheless. (What a great word.) It should be productive professionally, and satisfying from a personal development point of view. Plus I manage to miss the dreaded Company Lunch when the Scary Restructuring is going to be Explained (yes, it definitely needs initial caps) and hence escape the risk of me speaking my mind and getting into trouble.
Gosh, it’s quite cheered me up writing this. Have been feeling quite low most of the day for no particular reason – worrying because I haven’t felt non-specifically-blue for quite some time, and no matter how much I racked my brains I couldn’t work out what it was I needed to do to shake it off. Turns out it was writing a rather feeble entry about a Country Lass’s Big Trip to the City. The End.

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Facebook, Schmacebook

March17

OK, I admit it. I was such a cynic. I thought I was too old and grown-up for it. But my name is Flossie Teacake and I’m a Facebookaholic.

It’s yet another manifestation of time poverty. There are so many people out there who I have known well, and spent time with, and wish I could keep up with, yet never have time to do so (having small children doesn’t help). But it’s so lovely just to log on and see status updates – knowing that everyone’s out there doing what they do, even if I’m not managing to do it with them. Kind of like Hello! for people that only ever read Hello! secretly hoping that people they know will be in there.

Having said which, it’s in danger of taking up waaaaaaaaay too much of my time….

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Seeing red on accessibility issues

June16

Last night I signed up for a Sainsbury’s credit card (oh, the temptations of a year’s interest-free credit for the new houseowner). The form was absolutely appalling in its accessibility. The layout broke so badly in Firefox that the text explaining terms and conditions overlapped the form controls, making it extremely difficult to read.

Worse than that, though, was the fact that you cannot navigate the registration screens using the keyboard – the interface will NOT allow you to tab between form fields after the first few fields of the second page, rendering it effectively impossible to complete the form when navigating only with a keyboard.

I sent off a little (fairly) polite email to the email address given as a contact for web problems explaining the issue and pointing out that where it’s just an annoyance for me as it renders my “preferred” method unusable, for a partially-sighted or mobility-impaired person that does not navigate using a mouse, it makes the site completely inaccessible.

What did I get back? A copy-pasted stock reply that in no way answered the points I had raised in the message. It referred to Internet Explorer configuration steps (“set the security to medium”), and suggested I upgrade my browser when I had clearly stated I was using the latest version of Firefox on Windows XP.

Bad customer service of a sort that is unfortunately an increasingly familiar experience when shopping or using services online. And more importantly, completely missing the point.

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