Sunday, October 05, 2008

desperately seeking validation


so the city of indianapolis website—indygov.org—has a new design! the most striking part of the design is the honkin' big photo of mayor ballard in the center. this week's behind closed doors in the star has more:

That didn't sit well with Democratic City-County Council member Angela Mansfield, but it was just one of many complaints she had about the site. The site was experiencing numerous technical problems, including links that did not work and words piled on top of each other.

Mansfield said the city should have tested it for bugs before the public launch.

"This has been a complete waste of money, as well as an embarrassing presentation of our city," Mansfield said. "It's a mess, and it looks like kids designed it."

the huge portrait does seem a bit vain and needy (ironic from a mayor who so detests going in front of cameras or talking to the media), but the technical issues, dead links, and overlapping text are more embarrassing. indygov.org is a major website that gets a lot of traffic. a site like that seriously needs to go through some major testing before it's rolled out, or else... well, your bad rollout ends up as a story in the newspaper.

on a whim, i thought i'd run the site through a validation tool, and surprise surprise, the code doesn't validate. now granted, my site probably doesn't validate either, but i'm just an amateur putting this site together on my spare time in between work and other artistic endeavors. there's no excuse for a site like indygov.org not to validate. the fact that it doesn't shows just how crummy this redesign is.

elsewhere in today's star is a story about the city's spending priorities. the article centers around the idea that if you want nice stuff, you have to be willing to pay for it, and explains that this is why indy's public transit system is a joke (likely to grow worse still) and why other cities have better parks, libraries, etc. the article then naturally concludes with a quote from melyssa, who would prefer the city spend nothing and have no nice stuff whatsoever.

indygov.org's new redesign was no doubt done on the cheap, like everything this administration does, and it shows. i was no fan of the old design, but at least it didn't have dead links and overlapping words on the front page. by all means, redesign the site, but if you're going to do it, spend the money to do it right: have professional developers write industry-standard, validated code, and then test it thoroughly before rollout.

3 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

The city recently managed to finesse the DNS Internet Naming system and acquire Indy.GOV -- it was always my impression that this was reserved purely for Federal government websites. In any case, http://www.indy.gov is a slick move.

Otherwise, Steve Goldsmith weeps...

what irony said...

I'm still chuckling over Miss Ann's assertion in the article that she only uses the Monon Trail (see pic).

Anonymous said...

Another one of her freedom focused publicity stunts that worked!