Silicon Glen, Scotland > Web usability > Pants websites

Valid HTML 4.01!

Why the Royal Bank of Scotland Digital Banking website is pants

I wrote to them on 19th December 2000 asking when their site would be supporting Netscape 6.

This is their exact response:

Thank you for your e-mail to Digital Banking.
Once these versions are fully tested there will be available, however please except our apology as we have no timescale on this at the moment.

If their standard of English is anything to go by, then testing may be some time. Perhaps "Once this version is fully tested, then support for it will be available. However, please accept our apology as we still ban Netscape 6 users from the site even though Netscape 6 has been available since November 2000."

Importantly for disability access legislation, Netscape 6 (now superceded by Netscape 7 and Mozilla 1.4 and 1.5) offers the facility to scale fonts on the page to any value. Internet Explorer is restricted to 5 scale values. Disabled people might prefer to use this feature, is it legal to ban them? Maybe at the same time, they could look at changing "click" to "visit" to ensure you don't need to have a mouse to make sense of navigating the site.

The lack of testing for Mozilla based browsers in over 3 years and the English issues are added to by this interesting screendump.

missing link

Spot the deliberate mistake? There's some really important information on this page concerning terms of conditions of use. They must be important because they are accessed via a link that says "Important Information". Can you see the link? It's hidden in the top left hand corner and is white on blue, and fairly hard to see. Many of the other links which are less important follow the normal standard of being blue and underlined. If something is important, perhaps it is also important to follow recognised standards so that it is easy found.

Speaking of standards, note that blue text with **NEW** in it is just that. Blue text. Unlike blue text on much of the rest of the web, it isn't a link so don't waste your time thinking it's a link. It isn't. Tip: blue text, with or without the underline decoration is widely used as a link, try a different colour if your text isn't a link.

Update: For information, the Royal Bank of Scotland group posted a profit on 19th February 2004 of 227 pounds a second or over 19 million pounds a day. Given that they are making double in a second what a web designer earns in a day, it doesn't seem to be asking too much for their website to be legally compliant with disability access legislation and when you get 'banned' for using the wrong type of browser, perhaps a link to someone you can complain to about the faulty website would be useful as well. Oh, and the same applies to NatWest On-Line Banking as well.

List of pants websites. Please feel free to add to this list