DTI e-commerce award winner horror

The winners of the DTI E-commerce awards for 2005 were announced last week. I must admit it passed me by (I was on my hols) but I was interested to see who had won the 'eGovernment National ICT Innovators Award' on my return. According to the award site (External link):

These awards will recognise best practice in the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) by UK business and public sector communities.

Heady stuff, and there's more:

Awards will be presented to individuals and or project teams that have demonstrated clarity of thinking and development/deployment of an approach that has the capacity to change the ICT paradigm in the particular technology,market sector.

And the winner was... visa4UK (External link) which allows you to apply for a UK visa online (no surprises there). What is surprising is just how far from e-commerce best practice the winning site is, and just how inaccessible. There's not enough time for a full-fledged dissection of the site's technical shortcomings in terms of accessibility and web standards, but the real shocker is the fact that you can't apply for a visa without javascript.

While it's not a surprise - there are still a vast number of sites out there that don't degrade gracefully - the fact that this site won a national award is evidence of the long, long way we still have to go as an industry before accessibility and web standards are established as de facto good practice.


Crikey... that WON something? I find it most humourous on the Browser support page the DOCTYPE is XHTML, yet at least 40 tags are not closed! Why are some pages XHTML and others HTML? Tables everywhere... at least they remembered alt tags....

Oh, shouldn't WebAIM be on your places list? :o)

Posted by: Dave at October 18, 2005 11:23 PM

It did win, honest. If it wasn't so frustrating it would be funny. On the one hand you've got the eGovernment Unit punting web accessibility, web standards, all that good stuff, and on the other you've got these DTI awards, sponsored by, erm, the eGovernment Unit, giving prizes for shoddy design. I feel a Mr Angry letter coming on.

And yes, WebAIM should be on there (and will be later), it's a great resource.

Posted by: Dan at October 19, 2005 3:41 PM

I feel the frustration, Dan. It's awards like this that make you wonder why you bother, but then you remember and instead you question the value in any such award.

Posted by: dotjay at October 21, 2005 9:49 AM

You are right. But probably the aword was given for the idea.

Posted by: Helen, ecommerce expert at November 24, 2005 3:05 PM

I think that that's a great opportunity to apply for visa online though it may be shocking from the IT point of view.

Posted by: Helen, ecommerce manager at March 28, 2006 7:49 AM

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