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Enterprise Ireland Doesn’t Look Too Good

Posted in: Browsers,CSS by Richard Hearne on October 4, 2006
Internet Marketing Ireland

[UPDATE 20/10/06] Mary Cloak, the On-Line Marketing Manager for EI, just mailed me:

Hi Richard

Just to let you know that our IT Department have been working on browser incompatibility and the site is now compatible with IE 6 & 7, Netscape 8, Firefox 1.5 and Opera 9.


- Mary

When you are the primary body tasked with representing Ireland’s business dealings with the world it makes sense to create a professional and, more importantly, usable website for your customers:

EI Homepage

Sorry the picture is a bit small but hopefully you can see the layout issues (this is the view using Firefox The site is still usable (in Firefox anyhow) but quite ugly to look at. Rendering in Opera actual made the site semi-unusable as content overflowed to the right and off the page:

Safari 2.0 Mac OS X

My guess is that the developers (whoever they are) work in Internet Explorer (I was going to write IE but thought it might confuse issues with EI!). For a site as important as EI’s this is a true blunder – you have to maximise the compatibility across as many platforms as possible.

So I decided I would send EI an email to let them know about the problem. As most people would do I clicked ‘Contact’:

Contact Enterprise Ireland

The page contains the address, phone numbers, links to maps and, if you look very carefully, a mailto link for ‘Client Services’. The problem with this link is that the convention used to highlight the links to the maps (blue underlined text) does not apply:

Contact Us Details Zoomed

I plain didn’t see it on the first run. So I clicked ‘Feedback Form’ in the left navigation panel:

Contact Us Page

Still no direct email address in view (I thought). Now I don’t know about you, but I prefer to send an email through my mail client so that I have a record of that email. I tend to avoid email forms like the plague. So to give you a better image of the form itself:

Contact Us Form

I have highlighted the mailto link for the webmaster (again not easy to discern that you are looking at a link).

As the baton carrier for Irish business around the globe I think Enterprise Ireland need to conduct some serious compatibility and usability tests on their website. At present it is not entirely clear that all their customers can quickly and efficiently find the vital information they want.

[EDIT - Could someone with IE7 please test the page and let me know how it renders? IE7 would never install correctly on my system (buggered up my network settings). A screenshot would be most helpful also.]

[UPDATE 1] The EI site is also broken in Safari 2.0 on Mac OS X:

Safari 2.0 Mac OS X

[UPDATE 2] Not looking any better on Konquerer 3.5.4 on Debian:

Enterprise Ireland Konquerer 3.5.4 on Debian

It’s quite obvious now that this site will only render in IE (and I doubt it will render correctly in IE7). I just looked at the source code: 150 errors and 3 warnings.

[UPDATE 3] Thanks to ph3n0m I have a render from IE7 and it is the ugliest thus far:

Enterprise Ireland in IE 7

and from browsershots (thanks again danger):

Enterprise Ireland in IE 7

[UPDATE 4] Just noticed that I wasn’t the first person to notice this – Joe Drumgoole blogged about this back in May!

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  1. I went through a very similar thought process when I noticed the same problem a few weeks ago and went through the same process to try and get an email address but stopped short of how far you got. It is very surprising to see it, especially a problem that is so obvious when you open it in such a popular browser.

    Comment by danger — October 4, 2006 @ 12:09 pm

  2. Hi danger

    So I presume you didn’t manage to report the problem to them directly?

    I have a feeling that if their site development is out-sourced they may need to rethink the contract.

    Thanks for posting.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 4, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

  3. [...] Richard goes into depth to explain its issues, so I won’t bother Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

    Pingback by Enterprise Ireland Broken - Michele Neylon :: Pensieri — October 4, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

  4. No I didn’t report it, I looked briefly for a webmaster email address, and didn’t catch the link you spotted at the bottom of the email form.

    As for your question on IE7, I logged the enterprise ireland website on browsershots, and the results should be available from here within 30 mins:



    Comment by danger — October 4, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

  5. Thanks for that danger

    When people who are using the web every day are failing to see the mailto links it makes you wonder how the average visitor is going to get on.

    Will wait for browsershots to do its thing and hopefully post a screenie from IE7 later today.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 4, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

  6. Broken on ie7…safari 2.0 on mac…all versions of firefox. Looks like all it does work on are ie6 and lower.

    Comment by danger — October 4, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

  7. I’m curious to discover whether the development was internal or outsourced?

    Actually I really just hope that they fix it. It portrays a poor image of Ireland at the moment – IT hub of Europe and we can’t even build a website.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 4, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

  8. Is this the culprit? Seems like a reputable firm. Horrid URLs on their site though.


    Comment by Buzz — October 4, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

  9. Hi Buzz

    Well surprise, surprise they also provide the ‘Information Management System’ for none other than Funda.ie.

    See here.

    I see they also do usability studies.

    Nice find Buzz

    Thanks for posting



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 4, 2006 @ 6:33 pm

  10. Perhaps we should be careful blaming arekibo. As I said, they are a fairly reputable company. They say they handed templates over to the internal content management system in EI, perhaps something happened them there?

    Just in case!

    Comment by Buzz — October 4, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

  11. Hello again Mr. Lightyear

    If you pop back in I would love to know where you are sourcing your information.

    Best rgds


    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 4, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  12. A google search for ” ‘enterprise ireland’ ‘web design’ ” (without the outer quotes) returned the page I linked to on the first page, and I got all the info there.

    Comment by Buzz — October 4, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

  13. Just read the page and I see that they state that they delivered the pages over to EI.

    Sorry – thought you might have been an insider :shock:

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 4, 2006 @ 9:03 pm

  14. Well as I received no response from EI to my email I gave them a call today.

    They took my details and fair enough I did later receive an email from Mary Cloak (On-line Marketing Manager) to let me know they are redesiging the website.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 5, 2006 @ 6:17 pm

  15. Good work Richard!

    Comment by danger — October 5, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

  16. This has been like this forever. I actually left the site many times because of this.

    “As the baton carrier for Irish business around the globe I think Enterprise Ireland need to conduct some serious compatibility and usability tests on their website.”

    Agreed. It’s a shame that companies that produce work like that actually get awarded the tenders in the first place. Hopefully, as the world becomes more educated on standards and accessibility, flagship websites like this will be a thing of the past.

    Comment by Dave — October 6, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

  17. Hi Dave

    I have a feeling what you have here is a classic example of outsourcing the design/development and in-sourcing the maintenance.

    I’m sure it wont stay like this for too much longer :neutral:

    Thanks for posting



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 6, 2006 @ 8:55 pm

  18. :) thanks for the reply. Yes, it was either outsourced somewhere where they didn’t care about the basics or the tender was awarded to some company that their sales skills far outweighted their actual development skills and ethics.

    Oh well, maybe one of our comapnies will get to do it….properly.

    As I mentioned earlier, it has been like this for a long time and I contacted them about 7 months ago about the issue. They don’t seem to see that this is a problem.

    Comment by Dave — October 7, 2006 @ 12:31 am

  19. It appears changes are afoot over at EI.

    I’m not quite sure why they have migrated these particular changes into production however – the pages still do not render 100% correctly.

    Not to detract too much though – it is a welcome sign that they are actively working to resolve the issues :)

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 14, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

  20. EI have fixed the site – see the update at the top of the post.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 20, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

  21. [...] If you would like to see an excellent example of what can happen when a web site works only in one browser take a glimpse at what happened Enterprise Ireland. [...]

    Pingback by Better Websites | Search Engine Optimisation Ireland .:. Red Cardinal — November 12, 2006 @ 10:43 am

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