What would MacGyver do?


I position myself as an expert in (X)HTML, CSS and web accessibility with a good understanding of those design principles that don’t involve opening Photoshop.

Today, I learned that my company has had someone design and build our new corporate website without consulting me. It’s simple fare, your typical static-content website.

Yet it’s incredibly poor at all levels:

  1. brand new website – Transitional DOCTYPE.
  2. JavaScript rollovers. Really? In 2009? Have you heard of CSS?
  3. Tables for layout. See Point 2.
  4. No semantic use of HTML, no heading heirarchy.
  5. Not cross-browser compatible.
  6. You can tell it fails web accessibility standards just by looking at it.


I could go on of course – it’s clear the person responsible needs guidance on modern development techniques.

What’s most upsetting is this: A future employer will know where I work from my LinkedIn profile, they will Google for the corporate website – and find that train wreck. My position as an “expert” has been severely compromised.

It’s bad enough that I have to produce HTML/CSS wireframes from unimaginative visual designs that then get twisted beyond recognition with the junk markup our antiquated CMSs output or that third-party .NET programmers come back with.

I’ve designed a new WordPress theme for my main website using HTML5 but I’m ashamed to publish what else I’ve been involved with these last 4 years in my current role. God knows I’ve tried getting out, but when most of those companies I’ve applied to are not much better in terms of a real understanding of web standards and web accessibility, I feel like I’m on a hiding to nothing.

What would MacGyver do in this scenario?

I understand where you’re coming from — it is so soul-destroying every time you see a new website being made which is using out-of-date techniques, let alone your company’s website! I would be furious.

To lose a job (usually because of costs), and later find out they had it done by some idiot with MS Front Page — just because it is cheaper — is insulting.

I have recently worked on a large company’s website who certainly have the funds to re-do their site but all they asked were for some changes to be made. I did my best to remove as much awful code as I could (but had to keep the tables and sliced images, etc. because of limited time) then just a week later I had an employee of the company on the phone to me saying she was having trouble pasting her news item from MS Word into Contribute to update the site. In a matter of moments all the work to validate it had been wasted as she pasted in the mess than Word creates.

The problem is customers simply do not understand the benefits of valid HTML, and can’t tell the difference between a nice site and an awful one. It is our job to try and help them understand how much their website needs a makeover — and that it is not just about looks!

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