Silver Beacon’s 21 Lines (of code) Review of Recovery.gov
- 3 of the 21 lines are used to draw pretty (and non-validating hyphens in a box to identify developers “Doug Jackson and Laura Clark GSA”
- The entire page is an image. That’s right. The important text isn’t going to be processed by most search engine spiders or anyone surfing with graphics off. Even more scary? The graphic is called “recovery18”, and we are praying that there are not 17 earlier iterations.
- The good ole’ center tag is used for positioning as is everyone’s favorite of 1999: the p and br tags. Yes, of course I’ve used them too. I’m not writing the official communication for one of the world’s largest economies.
- My favorite part are the big links in the image. They open with an H3 and close with an H5. No, they’re browser-dependent. No style sheet here, which meant our friends blew a line of code coloring the background. That color is “ececec” for th0se of you scoring at home, which disappoints the farmers who undoubtedly wanted eieio.
- There is nothing visible on page monitoring the site. Sure, look at the server logs and parse them to your heart’s content, but the White House is using WebTrends. Couldn’t the GSA at least sign up for a free Google Analytics or StatCounter account? If you’ve got folks writing this page in this way, I’m guessing server log analysis isn’t high on the list.
Sigh. If nothing else, use the canonical address for the government.
Last I checked, the WH had declared that www.whitehouse.gov was the proper address to use. Sure, I’m nitpicking, but it’s for a reason. We have billions of dollars at stake, and we can’t communicate beyond what looks like a GeoCities page done by a junior high school student a decade ago.
I have the numbers for 50 developers in my contact list who will make you a real page for free — no billions necessary. Or the picture above is President Obama with Google CEO Eric Schmidt. I understand Mr. Schmidt’s company also has some developers who do web design. They won’t even qu0te the usability studies dealing with reading ease of justified text.