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[Irl-dean] Irish rail website

Colm McBarron colm.mcbarron at iqcontent.com
Sat Mar 4 13:57:02 GMT 2006


Hi,

One of my colleagues here did an article on how bad the usability of  
the Irish Rail site is:
http://iqcontent.com/publications/audits/article_71/

The bottom line is that it would appear that users didn't even come  
into the equation when the new site was being designed.

All the best

Colm


===========================================
Colm  McBarron
Technical Analyst
iQ Content Ltd
Usability | Accessibility | Content | Training
www.iqcontent.com

Tel: +353 1 817 0768
Fax: +353 1 817 0769
Mobile: +353 87 917 5706
Email: colm.mcbarron at iqcontent.com
===========================================



On 3 Mar 2006, at 15:33, Tim Culhane wrote:

> Hi,
>
> Just  to clarify my position regarding Irish Rail I have included  
> the recent
> corresponddance I received from them below:
>
> Letter from irish rail dated 20th february 2006
>
> I refer to your letter of 3rd February in connection with the  
> earnrodeireann
> website, www.irishrail.ie. We accept that there are problems with  
> our site
> for vision impaired customers at present.  The main problem is that  
> our
> central journey planning engine cannot coexist on both the  
> irishrail.ie and
> the earnrodeireann.ie websites.  We are very conscious of this  
> shortcoming
> and we are examining ways and means of correcting it. Given the  
> current
> workload of our IT department this may take some time but you can  
> be ensured
> this will receive high priority.
>
> yours sincerely
>
> Melanie McDonagh
> Accessibility officer
>
>
>
> Here are my comments on the above:
>
> Firstly, I feel that the letter is extremely unsatisfactory and  
> comes close
> to a complete fob off.  What they are saying is that they know  
> there is a
> problem,  and that they might fix it if they could only find the time!
>
> They specifically state that the problem is due to the fact that  
> the journey
> planning engine cannot coexist on irishrail.ie and iarnrodeireann.ie.
> However,  this claim is obviously  a load of rubbish.
> Iarnrodeireann.ie  has nothing to do with the problem.  Indeed this  
> website
> is only a portal to other CIE company websites such as bus eireann and
> dublin bus.  It is not possible to check train times via this website.
>
> The problem is that Irish Rail have upgraded their main  
> irishrail.ie website
> and simply haven't bothered to change the text only, or visually  
> impaired
> version of the site.
>
> It is obvious that these changes have been made without any prior
> consultation with any of Irish Rail's customers whether they be  
> blind or
> fully sighted.  If any basic user testing of the site had been done  
> then it
> would have been clear that it is unuseable.
>
> Now that Irish Rail have acknowledged that they are well aware of the
> existing problem they should either:
>
> Pull out all the stops  to rectify the issue (regardless of how  
> busy their
> IT department is).  I'm sure they would do so if sighted people  
> were unable
> to check train times.
>
> Or
>
> If a solution is not possible  in the short term then roll back to the
> original system,  while this was not perfect it was at least  
> somewhat usable
> by all of Irish Rails customers.
>
> In the meantime they could then properly develop and test one single
> accessible website.
>
> Somebody on the list (who's name I can't recall right now and who  
> has done
> work for Irish Rail)  claims that Irish rail are very well aware of  
> their
> legal requirements and are eager to make their services fully  
> accessible.
>
> Well given my correspondance with Irish Rail to date I've certainly  
> yet to
> be convinced of this fact.
>
> If irish rail  were planning on overhauling their  website, why  
> didn't they
> take the opportunity at that point of  dumping the text only  
> website and of
> developing one  fully accessible website?
>
> And now  that they have  gone ahead  and developed a website which is
> actually less accessible than it was in the past,  why are they  
> saying that
> their  IT department is just too busy right now to fix the mess  
> that they
> made themselves?
>
> Apologies for everybody for the rant,  but if Irish Rail want to  
> portray
> themselves as a company who wish to work with us in developing fully
> inclusive services ...  Then they better start rolling up their  
> sleeves.
>
> Regards,
>
> Tim
>
> -------------------------
> Tim Culhane,
> Critical Path Ireland,
> 42-47 Lower Mount Street,
> Dublin 2.
> Direct line: 353-1-2415107
> phone: 353-1-2415000
>
> Tim.culhane at criticalpath.net
> http://www.criticalpath.net
>
> Critical Path
> a global leader in digital communications
> ------------------------
>
>
>
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