I tried to e-file today, only to find myself waiting for 27 images to load. They didn’t. The largest image was 700×800 pixels in size, and there was no ALT text indicating what each of the images stood for.
There was a text-based nav bar, but some links were broken or led to pages with more missing images. A red scroller declared, ‘Our website will be under maintenance on 8 February 2003 to 9 February 2003. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’
While the idea of making citizens file their income tax online was pretty visionary a few years ago, it takes much more intuition to realise that you don’t just have to get people to key in your URL for the magic to work.
Instead, visitors should be able to identify where they can log in at once. They shouldn’t have to download huge and meaningless graphics, or read press releases about e-filing deadlines when such information could be easily summarised.
Maybe as I type, somebody’s frantically trying to fix all the bugs. But even if the site required maintenance, why couldn’t it have been done before we received our notice from the IRAS to e-file early … and increase our chances of winning, um, cash prizes?
[ update: after writing in to the IRAS, I received a reply this morning telling me that the new site is up. Hurrah! Although they should have put up a placeholder in the meantime, so nobody would see all the ugly broken images in the first place. ]
[ update #2: Don’t worry. E-filing commences Feb 22, not immediately as I misread it. Such was my excitement upon receiving a letter from the IRAS. Doh. ]