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Air Canada's web site is unusable

From: Gerald Oskoboiny <gerald@impressive.net>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 16:47:15 -0400
To: webmaster@aircanada.ca
Cc: ombudsman@aircanada.ca, "Robert Milton, President/CEO, Air Canada" <rmilton@aircanada.ca>, "Rupert Duchesne, President, Aeroplan" <rduchesne@aircanada.ca>, "Marc Trudeau, VP Marketing, Aeroplan" <mtrudeau@aircanada.ca>, public message archive <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20020415204715.GA25897@impressive.net>
Hi,

I have been a frequent user of Air Canada's web site for years; I
currently have Air Canada Aeroplan Elite status due to the amount
of business and vacation travel I have done recently. I spend
tens of thousands of dollars on travel every year.

Air Canada's web site has gone from fairly decent a few years ago
to completely unusable now: it doesn't work in any of the browsers
I have on my system (a modern Linux system, which is used by
millions of people worldwide.)

When I visit http://www.aircanada.ca/ I get a page asking me to
choose English or French (ignoring the language preference settings
I have already configured in my browser; you should learn about
and use HTTP's language negotiation features); the English and
French links are not real hypertext links, but instead some kind
of Javascript/cookie stuff that doesn't work in my browser
(Opera5 on Linux), or in many other browsers.

Requiring Javascript and cookies in order to use your site is a violation
of W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines; Guideline #6 is:

    Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/#gl-new-technologies


Also, your weekly Websaver mailings have gone from very useful a
while ago (a short summary of destinations and prices, and an easy
online booking process) to completely unusable now: instead of a
useful summary of the sale airfares, I get a URL pointing me to
your site. When I go there to try to view and book sale airfares,
it is impossible to proceed beyond the first page, e.g.

    http://www.aircanada.ca/websaver/YOWe.html
    http://www.aircanada.ca/specials/sun_e/YOWe.html

both have a bunch of empty popup menus that do not allow me to
proceed further.

I have purchased a lot of Websavers in the past, but now I can't
because your web site is unusable.

I could write much more about specific problems with your site,
but you have already wasted enough of my time today.

In general, you should:

  - test your site using a large variety of operating systems and
    browsers to make sure it is usable on almost all systems

  - avoid using unnecessary features that may exclude many of
    your visitors

  - comply with W3C's web content accessibility guidelines:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/

I would be happy to provide more technical details to your web site
development team if needed. (I have more than eight years of experience
developing Web applications, and I am available for consulting work.)

I have written to webmaster@aircanada.ca in the past but did not
receive a reply, so I have Cc'd this message to a number of other
addresses.

As an Aeroplan Elite member, I request a reply to this message
indicating what you intend to do to retain my business.

-- 
Gerald Oskoboiny <gerald@impressive.net>
http://impressive.net/people/gerald/
Received on Monday, 15 April 2002 16:47:41 GMT

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