Undoubtedly, when I return to the office tomorrow, I’ll hear cries and wailing anguish from the Powers That Be about how they know so much more than I do about Web design, communications, and marketing — despite the fact that I’m the only one with a masters degree (sort of) and a decade of experience in the field.  But it’s all good.  In this digital day and age, a Web site is a company’s primary public relations and messaging vehicle, so a little “heat” comes with the valuable territory.

That being said, sometimes issues present themselves that, in fact, are the fault of the company and present a bad face to the outside consumer.  These issues, from poor interface to technical snafus to simple matters of infrastructure, are ultimately as important as whether or not the Flash movie on the homepage is called a “leaderboard” or not, and, without prompt resolution, render all other debates moot.

Today’s journey across the Web begins with Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey.  Approximately one year ago, TWC did a fantastic job of upgrading its Web site and online account information into an aesthetically pleasing, Web-2.0 look and feel, complete with colorful prompts, modal windows for user interface elements, and a crisp, simple, elegant design.  All in all, the site is a joy to use and pay my monthly bill on — and let’s face it, eliminating as much of the pain as possible for the customer when forced to fork over large sums of cash ultimately cannot help but improve the overall accounts receivable outlook for any organization.

Too bad the darn site just doesn’t work in my Web browser of choice, Google Chrome.  By this, I don’t mean it merely displays a little wonky or feels a bit “off,” I mean the site literally shuts down and tells you to get the fuck out:

[Editor’s Note 01/17/17: As far and as long as I have searched through my own personal archives, this image appears to be lost forever. Which renders the whole post moot, of course, but I repost anyway for the sake of history and to one day build a comprehensive archive.]

 

I won’t pretend that, as a Chrome user, I’m not a tad on the bleeding edge of early adopters when it comes to browsing software.  That being said, the days of dominance of Internet Explorer are slowly coming to an end, and whereas a Web team could once build sites and programming solely for Microsoft’s platform of choice, today the line is becoming a bit more blurred.  The decision to “close off” the entire site is also somewhat perplexing: there are any number of PHP, .NET, JavaScript, Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, and Cold Fusion sites that work across any system — I browse (or have helped build) hundreds of them every day.  What sort of weird, proprietary client-side code is Time Warner running that just completely renders a non-standard browsing experience a total failure?  That must be a bear of a code base to maintain and update.

Poor design.