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Did Tax-Payers Money Pay For This?

Posted in: General,Marketing,Standards,WebDev by Richard Hearne on November 15, 2006
Internet Marketing Ireland

I have to say that I come across some shocking websites most days. But today I have come across a site that makes me somewhat annoyed:

Bus Eireann Homepage

Bus Eireann is a wholly-owned subsidiary of C.I.E., which in turn has a single shareholder – the Irish Government. In 2005 C.I.E. received €283.4m of tax-payer funds to supplement their operating cash flow.

The C.I.E. group website makes reference to it’s accessibility credentials:

CIE Group Accessibility Page

When I first entered the Bus Eireann site a noticed that the root directory was redirecting with a 302 header to site/, and the site/ directory was, you guessed it, redirecting with a 302 to site/home/.

I spidered 17 pages of the Bus Eireann site for validation. The 17 pages contained 2205 errors and 230 links to files producing either 404 or 302 response codes. The homepage is framed.

But I think the jewel here is the icon in the navigation bar on the left of the page:

Bus Eireann Vision Impaired Icon

Here’s the mark-up behind that particular image:

<div align="left">
<a onmouseover="MM_swapImage('Image28','','[...]',1)" onmouseout="MM_swapImgRestore()" href="../home/vip_index.asp">
<img width="205" height="43" border="0" src="[...]" name="Image28"/>

[Note: I removed the paths to the image files for admin purposes.]

I am curious how any visually impaired person is expected to find this link? If I use a text reader it has no idea what that link is for. The ALT attribute is omitted on each of the navigation images – to any screen reader those image anchors effectively mean nothing.

I won’t even start on the design….

[Thank you CreativeIreland.com for the inspiration :grin:]

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  1. [...] PS: Everyone else thinks it sucks too Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

    Pingback by Michele Neylon :: Pensieri » Blog Archive » Are Bus Eireann Mad? — November 15, 2006 @ 10:00 am

  2. This is a classic. Irish ‘professional’ web design at its best.

    I am currently taking 5/4 that this will be a Golden Spider entry for 2007, and evens that it will win. It ticks all the right boxes.

    Comment by Richardo — November 15, 2006 @ 10:47 am

  3. I’ve mentioned some other issues over on our blog:

    Comment by Colm — November 15, 2006 @ 11:04 am

  4. Has anyone ever called you a cynic Richard?

    I do, however, like the cut of your jib :D

    Comment by Richard — November 15, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  5. First of all. WOW. The design. It’s….. pretty bad. Even for an Irish site. ;) Is this the doing of btireland.ie? (http://web.btireland.ie/our_work/clients.asp)

    Second of all…. why on earth do they have that Visually Impaired image without alt tags? This is an abomination. It’s like singing to a deaf person a song advertising your radio station for the deaf.

    Richard, that’s number 4 for today! You’re on a roll! LOL
    Typical Typical Irish.

    Times like this make me not want to file my ARs. This is theft of the Irish taxpayers money. THEFT. (Are there any website lemon laws in Ireland?)

    Comment by Dave Davis — November 15, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

  6. Oh, and thanks Richard for letting me vent on your blog.

    Comment by Dave Davis — November 15, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

  7. I just had to try the “visually impaired” version of the site. In Linux, if you load up the site in “links” (a text browser), there is a paragraph at the top with a link to “Link for Visually Impaired Version”.

    If you follow that link, you are brought to a page with nothing but a link saying “This document may be found here”.

    Following that link brings up a page with nothing but a link saying “This object may be found here”, which appears to link to the previous page.

    Comment by Kae Verens — November 15, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

  8. Actually, I think it is really good design. Top marks. As I said on the IrishWebmasterForum, I am proud of my granddaughter for writing it. You have to admit it is damn good for a two year old.

    Comment by Richardo — November 15, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

  9. There was a big thing about the winner of the contract a few years back as far as I remember. They got about e350k for doing the group websites!

    Comment by David Behan — November 15, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

  10. @Colm

    Sorry your original post ended up on the old server (you must have just caught the wrong IP before it propagated).

    I copied you post over here :grin:

    Thanks – will take a look over on your site.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 15, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

  11. Sweet merciful McGillicuddy. What an absolute joke. I am lost for words to be honest.

    Comment by Mojo — November 15, 2006 @ 7:28 pm

  12. [...] Update: Red Cardinal has shown that at least the ex-CIE group of companies are consistent, with Bus Eireann showing an appalling web design for their site. [...]

    Pingback by Technology in plain English » Warning: Irish Rail website gives false information — November 23, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

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