Say Hello to a Broken Website

Ok, time to throw the advocacy hat back on, on a smaller scale.

I got something in the mail from Rogers. It said I was eligible for a gift because I’d been with their wireless service for a while. I thought, woohoo, free gift! First of all, in order to get this gift, I had to input a code. I scanned the card that had the code on it, and got some letters and numbers. I got excited, thinking I could actually scan the code correctly. I ran to the website, and slammed head-first into my first barrier. I couldn’t see anywhere that I could click on to redeem my gift. I found out later, thanks to a talented man on a tech list, that this is because the wonderful web designers at Rogers decided to make the “select my gift” button an untagged image. Um, hello? This is basic html. Tag your images! They’d labeled a bunch of other graphics on the page. Why not that one?

I called Rogers, and got someone who could not grasp for the life of him that I could not see and was using a screen-reader. This was just too much for the poor fellow. He eventually came around enough to sort of tell me what gifts I had available to me. I could get a magazine subscription. Nope, something tells me that wouldn’t work. I could get some cell phone accessories. Ooo! What are those? Ah crap, nothing I’d want. Or, I could get a music CD. Double ooo! When I asked him what was available, he sort of stammered, “Name me an artist, we probably have it.” I asked him if he could list them off. He said no, there were too many choices. Luckily, I lucked out on only my second try.

Then the fun really began. He asked me to enter my code. I spewed back what the scanner gave me. He just said nope, that’s not right. I asked him if he could cross reference my name with the code that had been mailed to me, and he said nope, that wasn’t possible. I had to laugh. With a company that has everything linked together and databases out the wazoo, this was impossible?

Defeated, I told him I would have to call back. I had to find someone with working eyes to read the code to me. I could have had that person sit down and go through the site, but I decided out of principle that it should be Rogers doing this.

I came back with a code that was no where near what came out of my scanner, and called Rogers. I managed to befuddle a second person, but persisted until I got my CD. Damn it, Rogers is offering stuff for free, I’m gettin’ it!

This isn’t the first time I’ve had trouble getting stuff out of Roger’s website. I was eligible for some kind of treat thing. I went to that site, and was greeted by some ugly, unlabelled flash. I emailed them, and they practically kissed my feet, giving me a way to get my treat via my cell phone and a few bucks off my cell phone bill. I really appreciate their flexibility, but this is starting to become a recurring problem. If it’s starting to become a trend, maybe they should overhall their website, especially since they’re marketing a talking cell phone. If they don’t, they may have a lot of pissed off customers.

So, here’s the page. Blind people will see absolutely no sign of the words “select your gift.” People with working eyes will see them plainly, but they’re in an image. If you want to let them know about this little bug, you can contact them. If they actually respond to you, let me know and I can give you some links that the dude from the list gave me so you can give them some other resources to consult.

I know it’s just a promotional program, but if we don’t let them know this type of design is wrong, they may love it and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread and start using it everywhere. When this kind of inaccessible web-design starts to bleed into essential parts of the site, we’re in real trouble, so we might as well start letting them know now.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m saying that Rogers is evil. It’s more like they’re not informed. So, let’s be proactive and enlighten them a little bit before we have to bitch that their whole site has gone to the dogs. I have already contacted them, and I’ll post about whatever they say, if they say anything. If anyone else contacts them, let us know what happens. This could be interesting.

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