Imagine calling 911 and being told your call cannot be accepted, denture because you’re not using the government’s accepted brand of cell phone or approved wireless carrier. Or consider having your tax return tossed out because you used the wrong brand of envelope to send it in.
Sound far fetched? Unfortunately, herbal it’s not: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is currently accepting online file claims from victims of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent floods… but only if they’re using the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer on a recent version of Microsoft Windows! Otherwise, physician they have to use the ever-efficient phone system– and let’s hope they’ve got touchtone!
All I can say is… what the hell? Has the U.S. government — the perpetrator of a multitude of rules, laws and standards — not heard of Web standards? It’s not hard to create a Web application that runs on all current browsers — most companies today make this a minimum requirement for any public Web site. Why limit the online FEMA system’s use to only those careless enough to still be using Microsoft’s three-year-old piece-o-crap Internet Explorer? Why rule out Firefox users, Safari users Opera users, and Macintosh users of all ilk?
It doesn’t cost any more to make a site that works for everybody; you just have to give a damn in the first place.