It's funny how some services scream their inadequacy at us, yet we continue to use them. A case is point is the technology used at work to get access to a "webcast" presentation. Every single email that I ever remember seeing about this contains a URL to the presentation and then these disclaimers (err, I mean "instructions"):

  • You must be using Internet Explorer on Windows.
  • You must disable *all* pop-up blockers.
  • Remember to disable *both* the toolbar and the OS pop-up blocker.

Every time I read that I think "Broken As Designed", which can conveniently be remembered as "BAD", and wonder why we haven't replaced it with a more simple platform neutral system that doesn't require pop-ups in and an insecure browser.

I think that folks who've not been on the inside of a "high-tech" company would be amazed at how often the internal technology is considerably worse that what they make available to their customers. This seems to ring true with folks I've talked with at many, many other companies. (See also: Fortune Cookie Wisdom for Self-Assessments)

If there were decent access controls in place, perhaps Google Video or YouTube would be better options. (Heh)

Posted by jzawodn at January 30, 2006 02:16 PM

Reader Comments
# Charles said:

I will add my favorite, from Yahoo Music. If you try to watch a video, you get "We're sorry, but you must use Netscape 4.7x to use this application on a Macintosh."
Safari can spoof the user agent to Netscape 4.79, but it still won't play the video because the site uses javascript to spawn a new window, which doesn't inherit the spoofed user agent.
I am sure the guy who wrote the browser check thought he was being smart, but he was dumb dumb dumb.

on January 30, 2006 02:43 PM
# Mark Norman Francis said:

I quite happily watch the Tech Talk presentations on my Mac, not using Internet Explorer, with Firefox's pop-up blocker on and functioning.

I just click on the 'video only' link, not the full presentation link that does the "clever" stuff. ;)

on January 30, 2006 02:57 PM
# TechnoBalance said:

I digg it :-) hehehehhehe

Well, simple rule make action, tell to all your developers in all departments that they have to provide RSS feeds, avoid stupid designs like you just reported and other guidelines that could be done at once... and in May start checking and fire.

Maybe you can add "Fire this webmaster" on every page at yahoo and watch statistics, there will be allot of noise but I am sure signals would show up. Learn from digg, "one click action" its killer paradigm to communicate with users.

on January 30, 2006 03:12 PM
# AV said:

Yeah, yahoo music is the only reason for me to bring up Internet Explorer. Y! Music been 'not ready for firefox' for more than a year now? Don't people use firefox at yahoo or do they not listen to music? And yes, I know I can access yahoo music from the messenger but that has been giving 500 Server Error intermittently. What's with the IE love at Yahoo?

on January 30, 2006 03:55 PM
# Steve Foster said:

One app that just kills me is It is so painful to use, however it equally broke in Firefox and IE.

on January 30, 2006 04:39 PM
# jr said:

In all honesty, I don't mind that Y!Music/YME etc depend heavily on IE. It means that I can change users with abandon with my primary browser and not suddenly lose my radio station.

Granted, the "Requires Netscape" thing is retarded (and possibly an inside joke).

on January 30, 2006 06:22 PM
# grumpY! said:

ouch! they got you on the y music thing. jeremy, i feel for you. you started out as a geek darling, but a few missteps and how fast the mob turns. ovid, socrates...jeremy zawodny...must all the great orators fall prey to the unwashed masses?!?! i give you six more months as a semi-official corporate blogger before the mouth-breathers do you in.

on January 30, 2006 10:39 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Oh, the drama!

"Geek Darling" is a new one on me...

on January 30, 2006 10:44 PM
# Doug G. said:

Speaking of BAD, why has Yahoo! Finance today decided that I need two clicks to navigate from one stock portfolio to another, instead of the single click I've been using for years? Annoying!

on January 31, 2006 07:09 AM
# Joe Hunkins said:

BAD post, most excellent.

on January 31, 2006 10:53 AM
# Bert said:

Well, no matter what happens, gRUMPy! will still be the number #1 fanboy of the Zawondy fan club.

Doug G - Excellent point. Also, if you click 'new mail' on Yahoo's front page, then it's decided for whatever whacky reason you need to login again, even though you did five minutes ago, it finally ends up at the mail front page and not the 'inbox' folder. Annoying! Er, I mean BAD!

on January 31, 2006 06:10 PM
# grumpY! said:

>> Well, no matter what happens, gRUMPy! will still be the number #1 fanboy of the Zawondy fan club

absolutely! i'm a recovering moonie, former herbalife saleman, and still in the throws of oxycontin. these cult-bloggers definitely bring out the submissive in me.

on January 31, 2006 10:26 PM
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