Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Civic hacking redux

I’ve banged on about (my day job, partly) accessible websites before. But I’m going to do it again.

If there ever were a website that SHOULD be accessible using a GPRS phone, you’d think it would be the National Rail website. There is no site that I need to access through my phone more.

Of course, they’ve tried to cover there arses by saying that it is accessible on a phone. But it opens in frames! With the even-more-useless ‘Trainline’ website sharing half of the tiny screen on my phone. So a just-about functioning website that works through a PC browser is replaced by a horrible one for your phone. And there's no reason for it to be like this if they hadn't hired whoever they hired to build it for them in the first place.

It’s pathetic. But..... *drum roll* some decent geezer called Matthew apparently (who doesn't even go to the lengths of taking credit for the fact that he has hacked out a much better site. Bookmark it! The beautifully named Train Times dot org dot UK. That someone can do this speaks volumes about the way that large organisations approach IT projects.

And another thing. If you look at the poxy 'Trainline' site - the one that you're supposed to use to book tickets online, it usually offers much more expensive tickets than the ones you can get if you turn up at the railway station or book over the phone.

And, while we're on the subject, follow that link that I posted above to Mathiew's MP comparison game that he has hacked out of www.theyworkforyou.com - I've outlined my reservations about this kind of thing before, but, again, you can't help but admire the cleverness. And look at the bookmarkable URLs on the traintimes site as well. Kewl.

(Hat tip to Ben for showing me the http://traintimes.org.uk and finding out who built it)

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