January 8, 2009

Take their Webserver Away

Filed under: Technology — dann @ 8:50 pm

I have the privilege of working with some extremely talented people, especially when it comes to web design. Our front end team is fantastic, dedicated to standards, and always keeping up on the latest trends. Over the years at Dominion I have learned to become less tolerant of horrendous web design. Yeah, my web coding skills are nothing compared to theirs, but anyway. Imagine my surprise when I come upon the horrendous load of crap that is the http://countyofyorkva.org website. Go ahead and click that link, they cannot even get the redirect right.

Well luckily I have a nice little form from them and some information that indicates I need to visit https://countyofyorkva.org/revenue instead, and I do. I want to inquire about the taxes I owe and how I can pay.

The site is not unpleasant but I should know I am in for a real treat when I pass over the left menu links and they shake and shimmy more than my chihuahua. I soon come to learn that I can make payments online, but I have to get a pin number. How do I get a pin number? Well all I have to do is register. Simple enough. But before I can do this I get the warning that this page only works in Internet Explorer on Windows XP. Wow, talk about pigeon holing your constituents. At least the warning says my results may vary should I choose to continue. I do.

I get to the form and right from the get go they want me to enter a captcha information. Luckily it’s only a series of numbers but they are so hard to make out. I hate captcha. Anyway, that violates accessibility standards. After that I put in my first and last name and then a customer service number. I ask myself, what is that? I look on the forms and find some numbers I have no idea what they are and enter those. I then have to enter my email address twice and choose a pin. The pin has to be between 5 and 10 characters. No problem. HIt submit and fail!

My customer service number is incorrect. What the heck? Those were the only digits on the form that looked accurate. Oh, but what is this warning at the top? “Trying to register using another person’s social security number is a violation fo the law!” I was never asked for my social security number. Ohhhh! That must be the customer service number. Real evident. I did not know the government switched from social security numbers to customer service numbers. So I try this.

Bam! Failed again, this time I entered the captcha number incorrect. Well, after two more tries with the right captcha and my social security number I hit pay dirt. My account was created and an email was sent to me. Or was it? I never got the email. Oh well, I try to log in.

The page asks for my pin number and my last name. This is completely ass backwards. Every other services asks for two things: Log or User Name and a Password. Not a pin number and my last name. Who the hell did this? Who the hell approved it? And who the hell said “Let it be live?” Morons, that is who.

3 Comments »

  1. I’m with you 100%. Mistakes here and there are understandable, but when you have a perfect storm of utter crap like this hoisted at you, you can’t help but wonder if the web designer behind it is truly as incompetent as they seem, or if it’s a sadistic plot to torture those forced to suffer through their disaster.

    Comment by Brandon Konkle — January 8, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

  2. I feel your pain.
    But in the good spirit of FOSS, did you let them know you had issues with the site? Maybe the webmaster is not aware he’s a moron.
    I have run in similar situations and a simple e-mail to the webmaster got a conversation going that resolved everything.

    Comment by Bert — January 12, 2009 @ 8:17 am

  3. Bert – I did let the webmaster know, I send an email similar to this blog posting to them. Although in hindsight, I think I should have waited a day and written this post beforehand to help cool down a bit. I was really miffed!

    Comment by dann — January 16, 2009 @ 9:23 am

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