Monday, July 03, 2006

When Good Technology Goes Bad (part 2)

I have been in the computer biz for 30+ years. From a very early age I figured out that using the philosophy of "if it is not broke don't fix it" was an excellent strategy. Generally fiddling for fiddlings sake leads to bad stuff.

Unfortunately not everyone shares my philosophy, and people boldly go where no sane person should.

A fine example is the Calgary Transit web site. This is essentially a site that tells you about bus and train routes, and more importantly the schedules.

The way it used to work was you would put in the Bus or Train route number, a 4 digit stop number (which was easy to look up), and optionally the time of day that you wished to travel, the default being right now. Hit the button and voila, you got a list of the next 5 times that the transit would be at the stop.

A simple and elegant use of the internet.

This apparently was not complex enough for the web weenies at Calgary Transit. So starting today they have replaced the simple interface that a child could use, with a much more involved system that should only be used if you either have a PHD in astrophysics or are a member of MENSA.

You now have to go through several screens worth of menus. How the hell this got by the 'Quality Control' people is beyond me.

For those of you that are not convinced that this new system is a huge improvement over the old 'single page' solution, let me walk you through the new system.

Step one is to select the route number that you want, and then click on 'Get Route'.

Step 2 is to select the time of day that you want to travel, it defaults to 4:am, this is a huge improvement over using the current time! Then you need to click on 'Next'

Step 3 makes significant improvements over the old drop down list box that allowed you to type in your stop number if you knew it, or use the drop down list to find the stop number if you did not know it. This new page allows you to scroll down for 10 minutes while you locate information that you likely already know (ie the stop number!). Once you have clicked the check box for the stop you want you can then scroll around some more to find the 'Get Schedule' button.

Step 4, you finally get the information that you were looking for.

Yup, this is a huge improvement! Keep up the good work Calgary Transit!


Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty darn easy to me! is it too complicated for you?

Simon Barrett said...

4 screens instead of one?

I prefer a single screen, it is quicker and simpler.

I can only guess that you are an IT person (probably the perpetrator of the crime), why make it easy when you can make it really hard!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, shove it up your ass.

And yeah, Zssimonb, the Calgary Transit web designers were just trying to justify their own existences. It's a stupid change. I'm going there to complain right now.