Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category

New opportunities, Old reactions

Well, almost another year has passed by, and nothing seems to change…

The Public Administration just keeps on pumping out useless and illegal waste of public monies to slide in “under the deadline”.

Damn the citizens, full speed ahead“. This time in the Lombardy Region.

fuzzy logo in the new Lombardy Region portal

(is that logo growing “fuzz” or do I need new glasses?)

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Italy: Land of Saints and Pagans

In Italy they have two types of National Holidays, didn’t y’know?

Religious Festivals and Pagan Festivals.

Yep, either you’re destined for Sainthood, or you’re one of those ancient polytheistic heathens that hasn’t seen the light yet.

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Vive le France!

After looking through some of the original documents form the feasability studies, I thought, well if France is the target of what this portal might become someday when it grows up, why not take a look. And I was amazed. Amazed at how the designers and makers of couldn’t have looked at it themslves.

Italy manages to make do with Italian, German, Chinese, and one solid English site (solid like a brick falling on your foot – written with questionable English language skills) with an uneven mixture of British and American usage characteristics.

The French have such a waste of a site: they have something like 42 personalizations between language and national cultures. And looking rather quickly and summarily at some of the English language sites, they are all different, like they might have actually put some forthought into the fact that someone coming from South Africa will have different interests than someone from the UK. WOW, what a way to throw away good money on overkill. Don’t you think?

Maybe more another time… now I’m depressed.

No news is good news

And its corollary (?):

Any news is bad news, at least when its our faithful Italy.It editorial staff making the news:

This just in:
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5 W’s

Who What When Where Why

the 5 W’s of journalism, as they are taught to every 4th grade elementary school student before the field trip to the Newpaper offices to meet with a reporter and see tomorrow’s (advertisement section of the) newspaper printed before spending the last hour learning to make those funky upside down boat-hats that the printers don’t need anymore because all the presses are electronic and super-clean and run by technicians with EE degrees and not printers with permanently inkstained fingernails.

But do our beloved staffers have any clue about this? NO!

Let’s sample some recent inkstains slopped onto newsrag (or the electronic equivalent)…

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Ci dispiace (We’re sorry)

Curious error that they teach you about in “Web Design 101”, usually round-about “Lesson 3: using templates to simplify your work”.

“grumpy teacher in the front of the room says gravely”:
When you copy a page to use it as a  template, make sure you change all pertinent information about the new page; be certain you don’t leave a title like “new page” or “insert page title here” in the published page.

Too bad it doesn’t seem like the staff of got past lesson 2 in the three years they had to prepare things for us…

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The winds of change?

Perhaps it is due to the pressure applied to the Italian politicians, or someone of the editorial staff is reading our posts, but it seems that they are working hard to improve the sight of site for English speakers. Thank goodness.

There is still work to be done, for sure, but the first subtle signs are there.

In some of the situations found thusfar, Enogastronom**** has become something recognizably English-like: Flavours in one spot Taste Itineraries in another (I’ll willingly pass over the fact that editorial consistency is still a bit lacking, as both instances are at least comprehensible).

Still no corrections in the general menu labels, but I immagine there could quite well be technical obstacles to updating that part that call for extra work (maybe to change the CMS they need to call in specialized CMS technicians from Websphere Headquarters, wherever that may end up being for this project, and that probably hadn’t been considered in the €45mil. original budget – better ask for cost overrun at this point).

As I said, more work lies ahead: I just went Change language English > Accessibility > Accessibile projects [sic] and noticed that the menu on the left is already in Italian… and the links lead back to Italian language pages. Oh well, one step at a time.

Oh well, nice start… good thing it only cost €7mil to get this far along, with the English site leading back into the Italian one… maybe they should have paid €8 to get the job done right?

Usability of brief excursus by a disappointed designer

A nice, circumstantial analysis of the usability of the portal, sent to “ScandaloItaliano” by the excellent Daniele Tonon.

Preambles are useless, let’s get to the facts.

Just like many other IT professionals, as soon as the single most important institutional web project ever launched by Italy – – came online, I rushed to discover its pages.

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Accessibility and, comments by a user with a handicap

It’s not easy dealing with a “scandal”, and it’s even less so being objective in doing so.

On February 24th Andrea Mancini, author of and member of the Blog Scandaloitaliano asked me a report on the accessibility and usability of the new Italian National Tourism Portal.

I wrote to Andrea right away, telling him I would work on the report but also that I would need a few days. I didn’t need that time just for me, I wanted to find a way to get other people involved, people with a different handicap from my Spastic Tetraparesis which, anyway, doesn’t cause me any problem concerning web navigation. Given this assumption, today I will talk about two different scandals.

Carlo Filippo Follis

Read and comment. It’s a pleasure, Carlo Filippo Follis

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Has declared war on Croatia?

Francesco notes two elements of new high quailty content for us on the €45m. Italian National Tourism Portal.

The first regards the map with the big red pixels that greets us at the entrance to the site [now that the sparkling green News pixels have disappeared]. It seems that towards the top right of the map, there is an extra pixel that doesn’t belong, in a geographic area that is anything but innocent.

mappa di

Oops, better check it out.

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