Hey You, know any HTML?

fnaah 11 January 2007 15

The Governance Division of the ACT Chief Minister’s Department have recently “overhauled” their website.

How much did they spend? What abhorrent fees were extorted by savvy web guru consultants and graphic designers? How callously were our taxpayer dollars wasted?

Well, actually, it seems to have been done on the cheap. (Surprised?) One of the staffers was sent on a three-day HTML course, and came up with this:


Not only that, but the staffer posted on the Web Standards Group forums asking for critiques and advice:


I guess you get what you pay for.

What's Your Opinion?

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15 Responses to Hey You, know any HTML?
Maelinar Maelinar 2:48 pm 16 Jan 07

anybody with a gmail account now has a website for free – it’s pretty easy to use as well.


Best of luck riotacters – show us your phat skills so areaman can critique your sites.

merrys merrys 2:02 pm 16 Jan 07

by the way – the drop down menus weren’t my idea. Also a CMS is not available therefore I had the job of doing it from scratch. I understand it has alot of issues currently but it takes time as I am doing it by myself

merry 🙂

merrys merrys 1:47 pm 16 Jan 07

Hi everyone

I’m the person who designed the Governance Division website. It does still need ALOT of work but it’s a start

Thank you for your comments


RandomGit RandomGit 8:46 pm 11 Jan 07

One, I’m taking lots of notes, Two, I’m never putting my ground up sites on the RiotACT alter. areaman would be compelled by the laws of karma to behead me.

seepi seepi 8:39 pm 11 Jan 07

The ACT govt spends nothing on these things compared to the national public service.

johnboy johnboy 5:43 pm 11 Jan 07

wouldn’t work with our tortured stylesheet AM.

you make a good point though, an ACT wide CMS if properly implemented (KABOOM!) would save a fortune and solve many problems.

(not least of which would be retraining people moving between departments)

areaman areaman 5:40 pm 11 Jan 07

Damn, i tried to use a list, which is why my comment looks off. I really should have checked the allowed html list after claiming to be a master.

Hey JB how about allowing UL and OL tags in comments?

areaman areaman 5:37 pm 11 Jan 07

As some one who knows a hell of a lot about about html/xhtml and cssknows a fair bit about the Governance Division of CMD has met the person in question I think that yeah it was done on the cheap, but that just goes to show how under resourced the ACT public service is. If they had brought external contractors and spent serious cash on it I can imagine the stink that you guys would have kicked up.

The ACT government has always been pretty weak both in internet and in design, this is just a further example of it, but that’s a problem with management priorities rather than the mugginses they get to implement them. What they really need is a service wide web team (I guess in treasury or intact, ugh) to run a content management system and at least set standards and give advice if not actually set up the sites.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 5:34 pm 11 Jan 07

And again. I give up.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 5:34 pm 11 Jan 07

Argh – buggered up the blockquote:

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 5:32 pm 11 Jan 07

Looks OK to me. Seems the dropdowns weren’t the staffer’s idea:

kaydo kaydo 5:31 pm 11 Jan 07

Unless I missed it in the source, no frontpage immediately wins my vote.

johnboy johnboy 5:12 pm 11 Jan 07

I think they’ve done pretty well, I’m not a fan of the millions of drop boxes but they all seem quite functional and it’s a huge heap of data they’re trying to organise.

There is a cute typo in the metadata (view source)

The Indistrial [sic] Relations & Public Sector Management Group sits within the ACT Chief Minister’s Department

Personally I wouldn’t have used just HTML for so much data (going to be a bugger to maintain) but there’s a limit to what can be done with a three day course.

Hmm, on closer inspection many of the drop boxes have but a single entry, blugh.

Looks pretty though, and has the appearance of being organised, which is what the boss would have wanted.

Captain America Captain America 5:07 pm 11 Jan 07

In case you wanted to know what the website used to look like, click on a date from here: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.psm.act.gov.au/ – the earlier the date, the farther back you go.

It does appear to have been done on the cheap – no professional web designer I know (and I know quite a few, some pretty bad ones too) would use dropdown boxes like that for primary navigation. It just screams ‘accessibility problems’.

VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt 5:05 pm 11 Jan 07

It seems fairly straightforward. I only looked at the front page, though.

It will be interesting to see how it stands up in the wilds of the internet, though.

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