Stuff and Nonsense

Malarkey is Andy Clarke, a UK based designer, author and speaker who has a passion for design, CSS and web accessibility.

Andy has been working on the web for almost ten years. He is a visual web designer and author and he founded Stuff and Nonsense in 1998. Andy regularly writes about creating beautiful, accessible web sites and he speaks at events worldwide. Andy is the author of Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design, published by New Riders in 2006.

Of mice and men

No comment

Over recent days I have recieved a number of emails from people asking for my reaction to Disney Store UK's decision to move from valid and semantic XHTML and AA-AAA WAI compliance to an invalid HTML site which fails to meet Priority 1 accessibility guidelines.

Thank-you all for your emails but I will not be commenting publically. Instead I will hand it over to you for your reaction.

All I will say is that I wish Disney Store UK every success with their new site. I'll leave you with a screenshot taken today of Google search results for disney store uk.

Google search results for disney store uk

I hear that Spacer Images are this year's hot buy for Christmas ;)

Replies

  1. #1 On November 2, 2005 10:42 PM Roger Johansson said:

    Ouch. Well, let's hope they have plenty of Spacer Images in stock, because they are going to sell thousands of them :-p.

  2. #2 On November 2, 2005 10:48 PM Nathan Smith said:

    Wow, that's really sad. Just when you think that big companies are starting to "get it" they digress. Two steps forward, one step back. Hopefully they'll come back to their senses on the next re-design. I think it's a generational thing, with web designers / developers. We might have to wait until all the Table + Font Tag people are dead and buried before we no longer see things like this. When all that remain are web-standards people, it will just become the default, hopefully.

  3. #3 On November 2, 2005 10:52 PM nortypig said:

    Very diplomatic Andy...

    I just had a look at it and really can't see what they did this for? I have been having funny dreams lately and perhaps I am in one of them. I thought Disney were quite aware and progressive in this regard until now.

    My question to Disney isn't why they did this but what did they dislike about the previous one? Were there browser compatibility issues or something? I mean there must be a solid business reason underlying this - past bad development choice in our opinions. Or mine at least.

    Perhaps Disney could be asked why they did this and if they said it was because of technical difficulties then someone could offer to fix it.

    Then again it could just be someone in a business suit making a bad decision lol...

  4. #4 On November 2, 2005 10:53 PM Kim Siever said:

    More like one step forward, two steps back.

  5. #5 On November 2, 2005 11:10 PM Luke Redpath said:

    An advert not to use ASP.NET if there ever was one...just...awful.

    I too am interested in why they abandoned the old website.

  6. #6 On November 2, 2005 11:15 PM Dylan said:

    Well, this is pretty lame. One step forward and a couple of steps back indeed. This is the first time I've seen a site go from standards based code to total crap, instead of the other way around...I mean, they go from web standards bliss to spacer.gif hell...what the heck were they thinking?!?!

    Not to mention ditching a nice design for an inferior one...

    Just one year too. Wouldn't they have learned from your work and subsequent benefits that the way you did it is much better?

  7. #7 On November 2, 2005 11:28 PM Richard Medek said:

    Oh my god.

    I used this site all the time as an example of how large corporations were integrating standards. "Look at how fast it loads!" I would say. "See how accessible! Check out this search ranking! Look at it in any browser!"

    I just checked the new version out and I swear it now loads twice as slow, not to mention the layout is half as intuitive as it once was.

    Keep in mind, I don't even know you personally, so these certainly aren't biased opinions. :)

    I know it would be bad for you to offer any sort of negative criticism of a previous client, but let me step in and say this new design of theirs is awful. Even looking past the sad state of their 1998 era HTML, the visual design is more cluttered and reminds me of every crappy os commerce template out there. And what's with the retina-scarring yellow to white background fade?

    _sigh_

    Sorry, man.

  8. #8 On November 2, 2005 11:31 PM Andy Saxton said:

    Well to be honest I cant see an advantage at all. Please someone point one out if I am missing something.

    Under the hood is now very poor. The pages take an age to load which is due to the code bloat associated with table based layouts and the fact that they are littered with obtrusive poor quality javascript wont help either.

    They haven't gained anything above the hood either as the clean design has also been replaced with poorly optimised images (take the main branding image for example) and an interface that seems to ignore basic UI principles.

    It cant be because they wanted a layout change. I don't think that there is such a thing as a layout that can be achieved with tables that cant be achieved without them anymore. Not with the level of expertise available nowadays. Hell, it's not like they have pushed the boat out on the layout anyway so it isn't that.

    This site is most definitely a step back and will also end up costing them money in the long run through abandoned carts (due to the time it takes to do anything) and needlessly lost bandwidth.

    I know some of us harp on about how one of the benefits of web standards is that it will save you bandwidth and therefore money but lets be honest; Most of the clients we deal with get a few thousand hits a month. They are saving money but it's tens of pounds rather than the (hundreds of?) thousands Disney will be losing by taking this step back.

    I know you wont comment (being a professional and all) but have they at least indicated to you why they have decided to do this or was it news to you too?

    Just makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking.

  9. #9 On November 2, 2005 11:45 PM Stunned said:

    Whaaaa...??? Worrying thing is the influence factor. Why did Disney make the decision and who might follow?

  10. #10 On November 3, 2005 12:52 AM Chris Lienert said:

    I looked around the whole store and couldn't find where to buy a spacer anywhere despite clearly advertising them on Google.

    Luke Redpath: ASP.NET can be forced to create standards compliant code, there's just some hard work involved before it can be achieved.

  11. #11 On November 3, 2005 01:04 AM Luke Redpath said:

    Chris - fair enough but I'd argue that having to put in extra work just to force something to output standards-friendly code is just as bad an advert.

    Oh well, why should I care, I use RubyOnRails ;)

  12. #12 On November 3, 2005 02:05 AM Ben said:

    Phhhhhhhhh� It's a shock, I'll give you that.

    It's cack under the hood and numbingly generic from the front, people have said that in more or less words already so I shan't engage that any further.

    I just feel kinda bad for you Andy. I mean know sites come and go and redesigns happen and all that �natural order� jazz, but to have something so good chucked out for something so poor� well, I know I'd be upset. Maybe that's just 'cause I'm young and naive.

    And a site of such powerful educational value, too. It will be missed.

  13. #13 On November 3, 2005 03:17 AM Jeff Adams said:

    No more Karova either. Say it ain't so.

  14. #14 On November 3, 2005 04:42 AM Khairudin Lee said:

    I wonder if the people at disneystore have seen the search results yet? Whatever reasons for the change, it sure is an idiotic one. sigh.

  15. #15 On November 3, 2005 08:30 AM Robert Nyman said:

    I feel your pain, Andy, I really do.

  16. #16 On November 3, 2005 08:55 AM Si said:

    That is a real shame as I also used the Disney Store as a good example of a "corporate" taking Standards seriously.

    Oh well, should they run out of Spacer Images, there are many other places in the UK that offer them. ;)

  17. #17 On November 3, 2005 08:58 AM Gazzer said:

    Pssst... wanna buy a spacer image, Guv? I've got a box load of 'em in my shed if anyone wants them? Put them away for the future... you know, just in case there was another world war and we couldn't get the CSS anymore. People will be crying out for them, you mark my words.

    Still got some blank Betamax tapes somewhere too - chuck one in with every order for spacer images. Can't say fairer than that, I'm cuttin' me own throat, Guv!

    Floppy disks, Guv? Five-and-a-quarter inch, Guv? Bet the lovely lady hasn't had one of these in her hand for a while, Guv?

    Srike me down, Guv, it's the Old Bill - leg it...!

  18. #18 On November 3, 2005 09:04 AM Ross Bruniges said:

    That is a load of arse - hideous colours, layout - just horrible!

    A big shame indeed that the old one is gone but I think everyone who does know anything about web design will remember it fondly.

  19. #19 On November 3, 2005 09:23 AM Alex said:

    Site works here. So, where is the problem with that? If somebody isn't able to see all the content... well I think they won't sell less, or what do you think?

  20. #20 On November 3, 2005 09:30 AM Alan said:

    That is pretty bad news man, sorry to hear of such a travesty! Is this not another case of work being taken in house and being done badly... really badly... by people who are stuck in 1999 and refuse to embrace web standrads because bloated code is good and spacer gifs make good search results.

  21. #21 On November 3, 2005 09:31 AM David said:

    Oh good god. They've only gone and hired a bunch of Mickey Mouse designers, and made a complete Pluto's dinner out of it.

    Sorry man, that is truly shocking news.

  22. #22 On November 3, 2005 09:32 AM Clarksy said:

    What interests me here is, where does a company like Disney stand with the DDA now?

    They had an accessible website that complied with the current law and now they've effectively cut off support for those with disabilites by taking this backward step.

    Its an extreme but, I think anyone that used Andy's verson of the site and relied on its accessibility features could argue that they have been discriminated against.

  23. #23 On November 3, 2005 09:40 AM bruce said:

    Clarkey,
    my commiserations.

    I just went to disney store's feedback page to register the fact that I found the layout poor and the speed very slow. Pressed the submit button and received the following error message:

    Microsoft JET Database Engine error '80004005'

    'D:\Resellers\domain\domain\www\Disneyform\disneyfeedback.mdb' is not a valid path. Make sure that the path name is spelled correctly and that you are connected to the server on which the file resides.

    /Disneyform/connection.asp, line 10

    Yay for Disney, and the super-duper company http://www.domain.com/

  24. #24 On November 3, 2005 09:42 AM Barry Bloye said:

    At least one or more Disney board members would've got a nice dinner out of it.

    They probably didn't know what they were throwing out as far as the code goes, but the design is just awful! It's like something from 1999!

  25. #25 On November 3, 2005 09:46 AM Barry Bloye said:

    quote:
    "D:\Resellers\domain\domain.com\www\Disneyform\disneyfeedback.mdb"

    Bloody hell! That's an Access database! Oh dear...

  26. #26 On November 3, 2005 09:54 AM Andy Budd said:

    Oh dear :-(

  27. #27 On November 3, 2005 09:56 AM Barry Bloye said:

    Last post (for now), I promise!

    This is what the developers' site has to say:
    http://www.domain.com/work/disney_store_web.htm
    Aren't those images of your design they're using, Andy?

  28. #28 On November 3, 2005 10:04 AM Richard@Home said:

    The mega-super-uber rich Disney corporation is using MS Access as it's database back end?

    **blink**
    ...on a (bound to be very busy) e-commerce site?

    **blink**

    No wonder bruce was getting database errors, there were probably more than 3 people trying to view a page at the same time...

    (after a bit of digging while writing this I noticed the feedback form is actually hosted on http://www.domain.com which is the same company that built the Aardman animation website (http://www.aardmarket.com/creaturecomforts/home.asp) - another shining example of an inaccessable 1990's table based web design)

    Andy, I think you got out just in time ;-)

  29. #29 On November 3, 2005 10:06 AM bongi said:

    you are so right, what a shame.

    I tried to write them a rant but their feedback form doesnt work

    well all i can say is businessmen, useless

  30. #30 On November 3, 2005 10:25 AM Clarksy said:

    The access database is called "disneyfeedback.mdb" so i'm assuming its just used as a convenient way to store feedback.

    Technically, there�s nothing wrong with using access if your clever about it ( I.e - using cached XHTML output and serving that instead of creating constant connections)

  31. #31 On November 3, 2005 10:46 AM Richard@Home said:

    Ok, put it this way: Would you risk your proffessional reputation on an Access back end for customer feedback form for a popular website? ;-)

    And yes, you CAN get away with it but the question is: for how long.

    Access gets a bit funny when more than a few people try to connect to it. It also goes a bit funny when you put more than 2GB into a database. It also goes a bit funny if the sun shines directly on the computer, or there's an 'r' in the month.

    I'd rather squirt the feedback into a plain text file than trust access to look after it :-D

  32. #32 On November 3, 2005 11:08 AM Russell James Smith said:

    *sigh*

  33. #33 On November 3, 2005 11:33 AM Brian McAllister said:

    Tools -> Web Developer -> View Source

    **weeps openly**

  34. #34 On November 3, 2005 11:45 AM Grant Broome said:

    Shocking.

  35. #35 On November 3, 2005 11:58 AM Simon R Jones said:

    well that's a deep shame. Not only for Disney's customers but also a big name site like that acts as an inspiraton for web designers out there - helping convince people this is the right way to do things.

    I've emailed the RNIB to make them aware of this - i hope they take some kind of action as the UK industry body

  36. #36 On November 3, 2005 12:11 PM Pete Smith said:

    Personally I like the new site!

    JOKING!

    What a load of codswollop!

    Where's the Magic gone!?!?

  37. #37 On November 3, 2005 12:47 PM Olly said:

    What a load of cock :(

    You win some...

  38. #38 On November 3, 2005 01:12 PM Karl Dawson said:

    Oh.My.God! What a cunning stunt.

    Does anyone know if I can get a Red Spacer Image? Transparent was so 1999 ;-)

  39. #39 On November 3, 2005 01:23 PM Mike Stenhouse said:

    Wow, that's a crying shame... I don't think there's any excuse for Dreamweaver JS functions in a professional site. The old one was lovingly crafted and will be sorely missed.

  40. #40 On November 3, 2005 01:30 PM Jared Christensen said:

    Tell Disney what you think. If they get enough bad feedback they may make a change.

    http://disneystore-shopping.disney.co.uk/Feedback.aspx

    I just tried there form but it was not working!

  41. #41 On November 3, 2005 01:54 PM Karl Dawson said:

    service@disneystore.co.uk doesn't work either :o

  42. #42 On November 3, 2005 02:12 PM Tom said:

    Can I guess that the issue was more to do with who was managing the site and less about the design and standards

    I'm gussing that this shiny new ASP.NET bullshit will allow someone sitting in the office to update the site, thus giving disney more control.

  43. #43 On November 3, 2005 03:15 PM Ara Pehlivanian said:

    Hey cool! You remove the CSS and NOTHING HAPPENS!!! That rox!!!! (ugh)

    Do you hear that? Do you? If you're real quiet you can make out the sound of regression. It's such a pretty sound. So nice and full of spacer images.

    I feel your pain Malarky, I feel your pain.

  44. #44 On November 3, 2005 03:54 PM John Labriola said:

    The horror, oh the horror... More like one step forward, and then fell down backwards...

    Did a quick survey of some of their sites and it looks like France, Spain and Italy are even worse, if you can believe that.

    Bad Mickey, very bad!!!

  45. #45 On November 3, 2005 03:57 PM Les said:

    Not one to defend .NET normally - but it's not the platform that's causing that much bad code, it's the development of the site.

    I work with .NET and VS on a daily basis, and for all its quirks, once you learn what it can and can't do (and have a decent developer around) then standards based sites are nearly always achievable (depending on time, budget etc) ;0)

    Lets hope that someone at Disney comes to their senses...

  46. #46 On November 3, 2005 03:58 PM Carlos Porto said:

    We all know the virtues of going with good css based design and that it helps a company's bottom line. Unfortunately, Disney.uk decided to go with what they think is a better technology and design, which I'm sure they are convinced that it will help reduce costs and bring in more profit.

    If anything, this is an excellent opportunity to see what impact it will have on a company that wants to go with a bad implementation of a technology and poor design. If we're right, their bottom line will suffer.

    A quote from the CSS Bible 39:8
    Those who walk away from the righteous path of CSS and Standards will forever suffer "The Curse of Malarkey".

  47. #47 On November 3, 2005 04:16 PM Marco said:

    Disney is suppose to be "The happiest place on Earth". I guess that doesn't include the web.

    Another sad example of .NET developer not taking into consideration Web and Accessibility standards.

    I will continue to use this site as an example. But now, It will show what not to do when constructing a site.

    Shame.

  48. #48 On November 3, 2005 04:45 PM Tim Beadle said:

    I don't know how l33t the old site was, but the new one's a bit of a Barry White:
    "Total HTTP Requests: 59
    Total Size: 302530 bytes"

    :eek:

    Speed report

  49. #49 On November 3, 2005 07:41 PM Isofarro said:

    Hmmm.. this is particulary interesting. There's an image right at the top that says "For orders or queries talk to real people. CAll 0870 759 1701" (which goes to an answer phone), yet the alternative text says "For orders or queries talk to real people. CAll 0870 759 1710" (which announces that "this service is no longer available").

    Now that's a prime example of discriminatory behaviour - a disabled visitor using a screen reader (because of their disability), is given false, incorrect or misleading information.

    The only defence I can see is that Disney Store at least are providing the same shambolic service to both disabled and non-disabled. But its hardly a defence you'd want the public to know about.

    The new Disney site feels like it was a rushed job.

  50. #50 On November 3, 2005 08:32 PM Jason Landry said:

    I've seen a variety of comments mention Akiko Design as the agency responsible for the new site. However, according to Andy's post last year they helped out with the old, accessible site. So, without any new information, I'd say it's quite likely that their site is referring to the 1994 redesign. Can you provide any clarification on this Andy?

  51. #51 On November 3, 2005 08:32 PM putergeek said:

    'choke' When I saw the new site I amost died. I am just glad I wasn't eating or I would have. The only thing we can hope for which probably isn't gonna happen is that they had all of their old stuff backed up somewhere and can restore it. Well, I feel sorry for you Andy, all that hard work gone...

  52. #52 On November 3, 2005 08:43 PM Isofarro said:

    Or has the domain name been hijacked? That would explain the sheer lack of technical quality (and design quality) in the actual build of the site.

    I'm stunned that disney are not hosting the feedback on their own servers but farmed it out to a design/development company that's bought a reseller package (on a shared hosting package - since they tend to be limited to Access as a "database").

    Regarding comment #42 about page sizes and loading - that's far worse that the website design _before_ Andy's masterpiece.

    Andy, my condolences. We've lost an awesome website, and an exemplary display of modern and accessible webdesign and ecommerce development.

  53. #53 On November 3, 2005 09:17 PM Dave Simon said:

    Sad de-evolution.

    The unfortunate thing is that this happens with many sites. And the site was very well linked (at least in the web design community) to Stuff and Nonsense. Hope you can divorce yourself easily from this mess!

  54. #54 On November 3, 2005 09:34 PM trovster said:

    That's a real shame. I remember citing it to numerous people as what can be achieved.

  55. #55 On November 3, 2005 09:35 PM Jon said:

    I don't know about the design, but I'm very pleased that I can finally get my hands on a 16 inch Woody:
    http://disneystore-shopping.disney.co.uk/ProdDetails.aspx?catid=10&id=24031

  56. #56 On November 3, 2005 09:42 PM Isofarro said:

    Hmm, I had a moment of deja-vu writing my blog post. What's the evidence to suggest Akiko developed the atrocious website?

    [The fact that the feedback pages are on their servers is not conclusive - it could be a farmed out service. That is typical for big businesses to out-source parts of the website to others].

    [The fact that Akiko's portfolio mentions Disney as a client on their own website isn't conclusive either- the partial screenshot is from Andy's fab efforts, and that client page hasn't been updated this year - which suggests they were referring to the branding aspects Andy mentioned in his case study.]

  57. #57 On November 3, 2005 10:45 PM Dave Simon said:

    You've got to be kidding: Access!?

    And then on top of that, they can't even figure out the difference between absolute and relative links...hence the error on the feedback form.

    But it is not to their best interest to fix the feedback form!

  58. #58 On November 3, 2005 11:31 PM Robin said:

    The guys who did this are just up the road from me and actually made a list of possible places to apply for a job at. Needless to say when I checked out their portfolio I didn't bother, and I'm even more glad I'm not there now I've seen this.

  59. #59 On November 4, 2005 12:08 AM Jason Landry said:

    1994, what was I smokin'? I meant 2004 (see above).

  60. #60 On November 4, 2005 01:40 AM brothercake said:

    Not updating an old site to standards is a familiar reluctance, but updating a new site to take it back to tag-soup ... I've never heard of such a thing. And that wasn't just any site either - it was a bastion of accessible design.

    Some people ... don't have the sense they were born with.

  61. #61 On November 4, 2005 06:22 AM Jeroen Coumans said:

    That's a real shame. I wonder why they chose to go with another firm? And why they decided that the previous version was inadequate? (Guess we'll never have answers)

  62. #62 On November 4, 2005 10:00 AM Robert Wellock said:

    Vast improve there (I get annoying messages saying install Flash, no thanks) and I love the element too, so which cuddly toy do you want me to buy you from the store this Christmas?

  63. #63 On November 4, 2005 10:11 AM Barry Bloye said:

    Oops! My apologies to Akiko for accusing them of all kinds of nastyness. I didn't realise they were involved in the previous redesign. I think Isofarro is right, this has probably been 'out-sourced' to a third party.

  64. #64 On November 4, 2005 10:52 AM Sharmi said:

    I am using the disney store last couple of years. When you try to buy something when you are in the basket or checkout page the header flash was hanging never complete download in the krova store. Such a scrap website disney had it before. But they new site really nice and simple (not DDA compl) and good.

  65. #65 On November 4, 2005 01:14 PM John SteinBeck VIII Junior said:

    any offcial site like Disney or a bank, online supermarket should be forced to have compliant code ... Wishful thinking IMHO but what if ...?

    Give them an ISO certificate if the are code compliant otherwise put them on a blacklist of lausycoded websites. I am sure customers would like to know if their shoping site is valid code ??

  66. #66 On November 4, 2005 02:31 PM Jules said:

    Andy and crew: I can't imagine how angry and violated you must feel. It's one thing to be passed up for a return contract, one that produced good quality work, but it's another to be passed over for crap.

    Your silence speaks volumes.

  67. #67 On November 4, 2005 03:50 PM Eugene said:

    Crazy Feckers..

    I went to have a look but gave up pretty quick, hopped over to another site to do a speed test and here's the result.

    http://tinyurl.com/asvjh

    57.87 seconds on a 56k

    Ha ha ha...I'm sure they'll realise the errors of their ways if they ever choose to listen to their users and hire a firm who know how to "design" usable sites.

    They may never find out unless they get their feedback form working.

  68. #68 On November 4, 2005 05:10 PM Phil Baines said:

    Wow, I can not believe this. Andy, you're gonna have to get in touch and let me know how this happened!

    Oh, and too the folks that are saying this new site is a advert/reason not to use ASP.NET, well the old site (running on Karova) was also running on .NET.

    Hope this doesn't damage you and the rest of the Stuff and Nonsense team on any way, you do a great job.

  69. #69 On November 4, 2005 09:23 PM DaveMo said:

    Spacer gifs?

    Who needs Spacer gifs when you can order a 16 inch Woody!!!

    YEAH BABY!

    Oh wait. It's not what I thought.

    Crap.

    Welcome to the "Iger Era".

  70. #70 On November 4, 2005 10:31 PM Mike WS said:

    Hmmm. Don't think much of their SEO. I googled 'spacer image' and they weren't even on the first page! I must add, though, that they are competing with over 34 million other web pages which in itself is very depressing.
    Sorry but I have to react to stupidity with humour.
    Does this mean that the Universe has begun to shrink and time is starting to go backwards?
    I just dread that Disney find the new site increases business. Shudder!

  71. #71 On November 5, 2005 10:42 AM Karurpan said:

    Its seems i have just tested the old site and latest akiko site. (using my knowledge of ip address.) using webxtact. Both site are not passes DDA complient.
    This forum completely wasting time. We can make request to Disney to make their site to DDA complient.

    Mr Malarkey. Its so stupid to comment others when your site not DDA Complient.

    Have You tested you site First??? http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk

    Oh god its very shame..How come dear.Your site just clears the Priority 1 only.

    Automatic Checkpoints Manual Checkpoints
    Status Errors Instances Status Warnings Instances
    Priority 1 0 0 9 21
    Priority 2 2 11 16 23
    Priority 3 1 6 8 8

    Regards
    Karurpan

    (Ed says: I will tolerate all opinions here, but I won't tolerate anyone being rude or disrespectful. Please refrain in future.)

  72. #72 On November 5, 2005 04:41 PM Veerle Pieters said:

    My condolences my friend. I know exactly how you feel, been down this road a couple of times myself. I hand over my clean standard code to developers and they just go on 'polluting' them :-( Or even better, they ask me just to deliver the Photoshop layout, they claim they have to start from scratch anyway if I deliver them templates. I can write a book about this :-(
    Peace.

  73. #73 On November 5, 2005 07:10 PM Malarkey said:

    Hi guys. I might not be commenting, but it appears that all over the world people are interested and commenting on this story. Here are some links to further reading and thanks to everyone for contributing.

    Disneystore: One Step Forward And a Mad Dash Back to The 90's
    Businesspeople Do the Darndest Things
    One step forward, several steps back
    Another one bites the dust
    A Mickey Mouse Site
    An Open Letter to Disney Store UK
    An Open Letter to Disney Store UK (with comments)
    Spacer Image - Disney Store's number one gift idea this Christmas
    The degeneration of Disney Store UK
    The Disney Store UK: Then and Now
    A sad, sad day for Disney UK
    DisneyStore.co.uk in retrograde
    Mickey Mouse Designers
    www.camaban.co.uk
    pigwork.info
    www.pixelgraphix.de
    kimmo.takatalvi.net
    www.juque.cl
    www.einfachfueralle.de

  74. #74 On November 6, 2005 05:40 PM Roger Johansson said:

    It appears that either someone is trying to do something about the site or they've run out of Spacer Images - I can't find any in the markup now.

  75. #75 On November 6, 2005 08:36 PM Phil Clarke said:

    These chaps may have had a very busy weekend trying to put a sticky plaster over their work, but it's still shocking - particularly like the use of commenting items out in production code. Nice.

  76. #76 On November 6, 2005 11:08 PM Jens Meiert said:

    lol. The screenshot hurts. I actually feel the pain.

  77. #77 On November 7, 2005 01:28 PM pid said:

    Amazing, and by complete coincidence there are *two* pigs ears on the homepage...

  78. #78 On November 7, 2005 05:32 PM Simon Cox said:

    It's going to take a long long time and a lot of hard work to make some managers realise the benefits of a long game. Looks like Disney wanted a new site on a shoestring - sales will be down badly.

    Which means that they will be looking at their Mi to see what's gone wrong - including the search strings that users are inputting. I find it a good back-door way to leave messages for e-commerce teams. Paste this in the search box on the UK Disney store:

    "How silly are you - what happened to the lovely html mark up you used to have..."

    or this

    "If you are looking for why your sales have dropped try looking at the redesign first"

    or just this
    "Malarkey!"

  79. #79 On November 7, 2005 09:07 PM Roger Johansson said:

    They could also do a Google search for "Disney Store UK" and find some interesting discussions about the quality of their new site ;-).

  80. #80 On November 8, 2005 02:37 PM doug said:

    Is Andy going to come to light on why Disney switched over? Contract expire? Charging too much money? Not repsonding to updates fast enough? What is the deal?

    I believe that Disney may know better. Perhaps they where forced to this.

    There could be other factors here then what we are seeing as lucifer styled code and lackluster design.

  81. #81 On November 8, 2005 03:14 PM Jem said:

    They may has well of taken Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and chucked a tin of paint over it — that's the kind of difference I think there is between the beautiful and standards compliant design and this new mess.

    For shame, Disney, for shame.

  82. #82 On November 9, 2005 10:24 AM jim said:

    http://www.jwolfe.clara.net/Humour/NonMedPicts/MickyMouseGivesAShit.gif

  83. #83 On November 9, 2005 10:26 AM jim said:

    Hoping this doesn't double post...

    it really is a crying shame, Micky has an opinion on the subject...

    clicky

  84. #84 On November 9, 2005 01:14 PM Robin said:

    This probably wasn't the intended effect but half of the top ten results on Google for "Disney Store UK" now point to a blog entry about this.

  85. #85 On November 9, 2005 11:13 PM John said:

    Dear nonsense.co.uk ................... will inform disney about this.

  86. #86 On November 9, 2005 11:19 PM Karl said:

    Wow, the comments are still coming so I'll just add that I've noticed that anchor tags on the home page are getting the alt attribute treatment now. Genius. Pure Genius. :p

  87. #87 On November 10, 2005 06:48 AM Mike Cherim said:

    If I need spacer images, now I know where right-click and get some.

    What a shame it is such a choice had been made. I would venture to say it has something to do with money -- at least in the eyes of some marketing hot-shot. Doesn't it always have something to do with money when mega-corporation does something, anything, foolish or otherwise?

  88. #88 On November 10, 2005 10:33 AM Nathan said:

    If only the people making the decisions knew what we know... Damn shame that!

  89. #89 On November 10, 2005 05:30 PM D said:

    Just to let you know, this page is unreadable in IE. I know it's supposed to be in black/white for IE users but the left-hand black border covers half the text in the comment boxes completely, which it hasn't done in the past, making them unreadable.

    (Ed says: Thanks D, fixed now.)

  90. #90 On November 11, 2005 12:11 AM Dave said:

    Do you think somebody accidently restored a really old backup?!?

  91. #91 On November 11, 2005 10:20 PM Jack said:

    Hi,
    It seems someone working on their site its looksJAWS screen reader it their site.

    Good Luck.

  92. #92 On November 13, 2005 08:32 PM Dan said:

    Google Search brings up correct listing details for Disney Store now.

  93. #93 On November 17, 2005 01:27 PM Laurence Veale said:

    People don't care about web standards or accessibility.

    Business owners/decision makers don't know anything about it. It's not even on their radar. It's an 'under-the-bonnet' detail that they don't need to know about because they are paying a thrid party company to take care of it.

    These people are not reading this blogs, or any other blog for that matter so unfortunately, while web standards projects and open letters have the best intentions, they are falling on deaf ears for the most part.

    There is only one really effective cause of action, that of legal compliance. I've worked for financial organisations for many years and nothing lights a fire under the company's ass like a change in the law.

    Whether it be examples of new Criminal Justice Acts, Sarbanne-Oxley (SOX), or EU Savings Directive, all drive the necessity to change Backend IT Systems and of course, with that the frontend must change with it to be legally compliant. It is an IT-wide change that must be undertaken so there is a lot of input and a big investment.

    However, accessibility is predominantly a frontend issue and in most organisations, the frontend is an afterthought unless the designers/developers are good enough to understand the issues and build it in without having explicit requirements to do so.

    What the whole issue needs is for the legislation to be tested in the courts. Put disability legislation in the spotlight and see if anything comes of that. It's unfortunate, it's sad, but it's what it has come to.

This article was originally published by Andy Clarke on his personal web site And All That Malarkey and is reproduced here for archive purposes. This article is published under a Creative Commons By Attribution License 2.0.

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