Those with the (mis)fortune to have worked with me in the past will know that I have a fairly low tolerance for what I consider to be stupid decisions. This normally comes across as me being arrogant – something which is entirely understandable – and often causes people to think I’m sticking my nose in to bits of the business which don’t concern me or which I’m not an expert in – also entirely understandable.
However, recently I’ve been exposed to the products of some decisions which fall well within the realms of my expertise, specifically those regarding the procurement of new web-based services for the University. As somebody who works in this field all day every day, I’m not impressed.
At Lincoln we have not one but two teams of people (Online Services in ICT, and LNCD in CERD) who are paid for their expertise in web application development, usability, accessibility, optimisation, deployment and support. Yet there are departments (who will remain nameless) who still insist on buying websites which do very simple things – most likely at a significant expense – without bothering to ask either of these teams. A recent example (which will also remain nameless) completely ignored the Blogs platform, which would have addressed 90% of the site functionality without spending a single penny, and the other 10% with a simple plugin which would have been done in a week. Other instances have totally ignored the fact that we have a unified web design for things, which has been the product of over a year of constant tweaking and improvement. Some things don’t bother to use any of the University’s authentication options, instead choosing to ask people to register again, or worse to email somebody asking for an account.
The fix is simple. All that needs to happen is for somebody wanting a website to call somebody in OST or LNCD and ask advice before paperwork is signed or the process has gone too far down the path.