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More on FEMA's browser boo-boo: Was FEMA not thinking clearly or just lazy

Frank Hayes at Computerworld: "Ever think that cutting a corner that simplifies development but limits who can use your systems is no big deal? Maybe that's true if you're working in a corporate IT shop on a retail Web site or a business-to-business e-commerce application. For hurricane survivors, the corner-cutting at FEMA is a kick in the throat while they're down. After everything they've been through, it's one more cheap shot when they can least afford it.

Here's Frank Hayes at Computerworld on the seemingly trivial matter of FEMA's aid application site requiring IE6 for Windows.

[... F]or hurricane survivors, the corner-cutting at FEMA is a kick in the throat while they're down. After everything they've been through, it's one more cheap shot when they can least afford it.

The worst part is, it's probably not intentional on the part of whoever built that FEMA Web site. Those developers likely weren't trying to lock anyone out or favor Microsoft. They probably just didn't think about the fact that people coming to a Web site named "disasteraid" might not have their choice of browsers.

Or maybe they did give it a moment's thought but decided that their own convenience mattered more than how usable their Web site would be and that using their favorite tools was more important than following standards.

And so a little pain saved by a few software developers results in lots of pain for thousands of disaster victims.

Ordinarily, I'd call that irresponsible, poor development practice, maybe even incompetent. That's when the cost would be measured in lost business.

But when this sort of foul-up locks out people in desperate need of help, it's not just irresponsible. It's unconscionable. It's shameful.

Sure, it's a little thing in the context of this huge, awful calamity.

It's IT's little part in making the enormity of Hurricane Katrina just a little bit worse.