QUE SEURAT SIRAH

Instead of working on something important, let me beat a dead horse here and handicap the bidders on the TTC Web redesign.

There were 17 respondents to “Proposal- P01DR07248- Provision Of Ttc Website Redesign Services” (sic). If you recall your high-school mathematics, any “proponent” for whom I give odds in excess of 17:1 has no chance at all. Here, such a rating is a proxy for a response of “must to avoid” or “over my dead body.”

Active Network

Seems to be more concerned with online registration than anything else. 20:1

Advoca

Tables for layout, spacer GIFs, Handel Gothic, Flash. 20:1

Bad Math (“1,” whatever that means)

A nonsemantic homepage (not everything in the world is an h3), that appears to have been designed by Terry Gilliam, faux-munging of contact E-mail address, claimed XHTML 1.1 without knowing what that is or implies. 10:1. But based on E-mails with them, these developers (cobblers) may be able to demonstrate that their abilities have improved beyond what their homepage (child) demonstrates. 4:1

Bell Canada

Give me a break. 0

Brandworks International Inc.

All Flash all the time. The wrong people’s Internet. 0

Cyberplex Interactive Media

A shell of their former selves. They’ll simply lie through their teeth and claim to produce a valid and accessible site. 17:1

Devlin eBusiness (sic) Architects

Well, they’re pushing their work for CNIB (tables for layout, but it works in Jaws and IE6, so it must be accessible), and TTC staff are too clueless to see through that. From a code standpoint, the homepage is a disaster. Nonetheless, they stand a good chance of snowing the Web-ignorant TTC, which, weaned on a diet of human-rights complaints, thinks disabled = blind = CNIB. 8:1

eSolutions Group

They’re good at ginning up a site for a mining concern, but I see no relevant competencies whatsoever. 20:1

Envision IT (sic)

Using colgroup on a layout table that does nothing but position a few background images tends to blow you out of the water. Again, no demonstrated competencies. 20:1

Fourth Wall Media

The fact that there is no live text whatsoever on their homepage (apart from “Privacy Policy”) bodes ill. These people wouldn’t know the first thing about the Web even if you force-fed them W3C tutorials via the Ludovico Technique. (“What’s a W3C?”) Possibly the worst of the lot. 170:1

Imex Systems

I did some paid work for these people years ago, and they recently re-pitched me for more work on a project unrelated to the Web. (They desperately needed me then and that seemed to be happening now. As a test, I told them to quit top-posting if they wanted my business. What do you think happened next?)

I know what they’re capable of, I know their level of acumen, and I bloody well know that you can’t force-open a JavaScript window like this when I arrive at your page in Firefox:

Dialogue box reads: WELCOME TO THE IMEX SYSTEMS INC. WEBSITE INSTALLING MICROSOFTE IE EXTENSION FOR FIREFOX FROM MOZILLA

Fortunately, Firefox comes prepared for phishers, spammers, identity thieves, and unreconstructed 20th-century programmers like these and prevents the automatic installation of such software.

Incidentally, back in the day they pronounced “Mozilla” as though it were Italian, viz “Mohtsilla.” I see they have learned nothing from me. 100:1

Infinite Media

FLASH Experience High Bandwidth | Low Bandwidth.” Do you want an “experience” or do you want to know what time your bus leaves? Which bandwidth suits a disabled person? Huh? 100:1. But since these were the dorks who gave us MyNewStreetcar.CA, they’ve got an in with the TTC. 8:1

Intrafinity Inc.

0

Mindblossom

Apparently this company “leverages innovative marketing strategies,” doing so entirely in Flash. 20:1

Radiant Core

The least awful of the bunch. They even hire people I’ve tussled with before, so they must be right and true. 2:1

Tiny Planet Consulting Inc.

Some kind of vendor of “online tools” that had to have an outside firm design its site. A bad sign. 15:1 But various E-mails indicate, à la Bad Math, a level of acumen uncommunicated by the homepage. 6:1 (begrudging)

Website Experts (sic)

I’ll be the judge of that. “HTML $499.95”; “FULL FLASH $849.95.” And to think I pegged the TTC redesign budget at $200K! 0

IBM didn’t submit a bid. Nor did Navantis or Sapient. So much for my predictions.

I will, however, point something out one more time: Each and every bid had to include a Web-accessibility expert on the team, with qualifications attested in writing. They can’t all have hired the jovial and matey father of three and former rugger. The question becomes: Whom did they hire? Once the contract is signed, I’ll request all the documentation and name names. Again: Yeah, I can do that.

Quasi-rhetorical question

Earlier this year, did the TTC engage a headhunter to find an outside expert to hire who would manage the entire process of redeveloping the Web site? How many of the companies that ultimately bought a copy of the RFP, and how many of the ultimate bidders, were pitched by this headhunter?

If so, did it happen before or after I offered to independenly vet all the bids for Web standards and accessibility, and later vet the actual work of the winning bidder? If it happened after that proposal, is it unreasonable for me to assume that they were looking around for anyone but me to implement my idea?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.10.20 15:11. 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:
https://blog.fawny.org/2007/10/20/ttc-handicaps/

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