Good grief!. Have you seen the new Cotswold Outdoor website?. This is a new URL and a completely new monstrosity:- one of those appalling websites written entirely in Flash.
If you go to the old .co.uk URL, all you get is a screen from the parasitic TradeDoubler website.
For a start, I have the FlashBlock extension installed on my Firefox browser to keep this crap at bay normally. When I grudgingly click the play button, it takes a long time to load and my mouse cursor disappears for the duration, which really got me rattled - this is not the way to endear potential customers.
When it finally loads, in the bottom right of the screen there is a button labelled “Accessible site”, which takes you to a separate HTML version of the site without the cursed Flash - this is the page you get if Flash Player is not installed. This site displays a self-important demeaning message to the reader:
“You are currently viewing our accessible site which has limited functionality. In order to enjoy the full Cotswold Outdoor shopping experience you will need to download Flash Player 9″
This should read:
“You are currently viewing our accessible site which behaves as you would expect. If you wish to wreck your Cotswold Outdoor shopping experience completely, you will need to download Flash Player 9″.
The very fact that they have a separate accessible site is a total indictment of the design - every commercial site should be accessible as a matter of course. No doubt some marketing hack had the bright idea that the old site was not… well… flashy enough, and a new gee-whizz site with slick Flash graphics would impress people no end (the worst of it may be that they are right).
FlashBlock is one of the most popular plugins for Firefox - there is a very good reason for that.
We bought quite a lot of our stuff from Cotswold and still do occasionally, we have a 10% discount card and know some of the guys at the shop. I won’t be able to resist a little hint next time I’m in.