Festivus is still two months away but I feel I need to air some grievances.

I’ve been working on a project that was stranded by another company several months back (not after taking the clients money, of course) and the gig has required every Saturday since. I’ve already been crowned the hero, but now the project is hitting that moment before final release where many other projects have failed: client obfuscation by complex ignorance.

The three “I’s” why a project fails due to the client:

  • Indolence
  • Ineptness
  • Incongruence

Back in 1997 I was seeing the paradigm shift where coders were building robust systems not merely meant for just user input. Rather, there was this new hope that coders were enabling clients to build and manage their own systems. And the coders were doing this in the possible face of extinction. The thought was to empower the user so that the coder could move on to the next step in this evolution.

Flash-forward almost 10 years. With the advent of web 2.0 and all it’s goodies like social networking ala MySpace and commerce-my-way ala eBay etc, the coders have provided a rich framework whereby almost anyone can do anything. And this even includes the commandments of accessibility and usability that are obeyed such that no one is excluded but were often forgotten in the dark ages of the Internet. Great!

However, a large subset of the population has thrown up its arms in hostile disgust because they somehow missed the boat on this whole Web thing. They don’t know exactly how the Web works but they know that they just gotta have a site and/or storefront. Nevermind the fact that they refuse to RTFM, they blame lack of time or energy to do so. In spite of showing them repeatedly how easy it is and that more information can be found over here, here, and here they instead call or email so that they can be fostered rather than enabled. The end result is wasted time and energy for everybody and a project todo list stuck on the last bullet.

Thank the W3C gods for including image map handling in XHTML 1.0 Transitional so that at least my client gets that good old fashioned Web 1.0 look that for some reason makes them happy but luckily has modern functionality. That way they can ignore the beauty of everything else I’ve enabled them to do.

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