The worst redesign of the year was that of Chapters.ca, which cost Heather Reisman and her underlings millions ($20 million on a SAP implementation alone) and produces inaccessible tag soup. Millions of personal hobbyist Weblogs produce tighter code than their site does, and someday somebody’s gonna file a complaint that will, I presume, prevail. Apart from many other accessibility deficits, invalid code violates WCAG Priority 2.

What will scarcely work in Chapters’s favour is their apparent decision to block the W3C validator from their site. Give it a whirl: Try validating any of the following Chapters URLs.

  1. Chapters.ca (or with www. hostname)
  2. Chapters.Indigo.CA (www.+)
  3. The URL to which any of those redirects, www.chapters.indigo.ca/Default.asp
  4. The lengthy French URL

Each of those URLs produces the very same result:

I got the following unexpected response when trying to retrieve [the URL]

504 Gateway Time-out

Please make sure you have entered the URL correctly.

Oh, but I had.

Seeing as how the site responds immediately in all my browsers and comes up fine when the referrer is my previous Weblog posting, well, what else is there to conclude?

I’ve sent a question for attribution to Jonathan Ehrlich and Sorya Ingrid Gaulin of Chapters. Ball’s in their court.

But the kicker?

The kicker is that when you run their HTML through the validator anyway, the homepage produces 1,520 errors and has an incorrect character encoding.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.12.28 21:30. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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