Gubment Make Website Good!

Maybe it’s just one of those “let’s knock the man” kind of days but I was kicking around the OC Clerk of Court site to find info about traffic ticketing and came across this gem that I will have to systematically tear to pieces:

Everything is off to a great start! Smiling face of Lydia Gardner assuring you that “paying your traffic ticket is FAST and EASY!” Super, if there is one thing the internet is good at, it’s making things that usually require standing in line for, much more fast and easy! Super! But wait, there’s more! Just a few things you need to know before you get started, probably things that help you to make things even more FAST and EASY, I’m sure!

Great, we can use the system to do several things, excellent! Gotta have my citation number ready, sure thing! And they accept Visa and Mastercard, no Discover, though… hmm, well that happens. It’s handled through Link2Gov, um, okay… not sure who that is or if I should know… wait… what? Service fee of $3.99?!? Well that’s usual, I mean everytime I shop online they charge me even more than usual… oh, wait… that’s backwards, it’s usually cheaper to shop online… the whole less overhead thing…. Maybe I should send Lydia some info about Google Payments or PayPal or something. Apparently Link2Gov is so grossly expensive in their transaction fees that the city has to try and recoup that by passing off $4 to us! Seeing as how this fee does not appear at the windows, it’s not related to actual credit card processing, but purely from taking the order via the internet. Good job choosing an online payment service Lydia!

Okay, well, maybe Link2Gov’s premium cost is due to their superior service, I mean I’m sure I can securely and quickly make online paymnts with it… between the hours of 2am… and 10pm… WTF?!?! I’m sorry, does someone have to wind the computer back up from 10-2 in the middle of the night? Maybe the hamster in the wheel gets tired, needs a little sip from that plastic water bottle with the metal straw hanging out the bottom. Maybe Lydia is superstitious and doesn’t trust the internet’s series of tubes to handle credit cards during the “witching hours”.

So, maybe I’m thinking the system has downtime so that the day’s citiation can be put into the system. That might make sense, given that the database servers are running from Microsoft Access off of Ms. Gardner’s desktop. But if that downtime helps us to get to pay our tickets as quickly as good citizens should, it’s worth the sacrifice! What’s this… may take 15 days for your citation to appear… you mean the citations that we have to pay within 30 days or you issue a bench warrant? That’s kinda, I don’t know, incompetent.

And the final cherry on top of this primo example of government ineptitude? “Select Pay a Ticket at left to Continue”! Um… why not just make the word “Pay a Ticket” a link? I promise it won’t make the left side nav jealous.

And in the words of Columbo… oh, just one more thing… Why would I call the number at the bottom for information in English… if the page of information you just provided was… in English?

Make sure you get a big raise Lydia, and have the deputies deliver it to you in their tights and tutus.

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