Blog it: Life in the slow laneWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When my dsl modem quit working on Monday, I realized how long it’s been since our family has had a dial up internet connection, when my youngest daughter did not have a clue how to access the internet without that “always on” ability. It was almost as funny as watching her not understand why her favorite music and videos on MySpace wouldn’t load or why more than one computer can’t be networked using a dial up connection. So while she was learning she had to make the choice between talking to her friends on the phone or being online, I noticed that some of the governmental websites out there are not designed to be user friendly for those who do not have access to a high speed internet connection.
The City of Toledo website did not score well as far as loading time. It took over five minutes for the front page to load fully. The culprit is the series of slides of items under the “Welcome to Toledo” section of the website. Pages off of the front page load faster, though even on pages like the City Council page that contain no graphics, the load time is several minutes. I don’t recommend even trying out the “Mayor on the Mic” unless you have some patience. After 20 minutes? I gave up after only hearing a few words.
The Toledo Clerk of Courts website scores high, not only does the first page load within a minute but the search feature for case histories is still usable for those who have a dial up connection. This was actually the fastest loading website.
What about our county government? The Lucas County website would not win any design prizes, but as long as you don’t have to head over to the Board of Elections website to try to view any election results, all of the pages load within one minute. Both Areis and the Lucas County Court Docket system work very well on a regular dial up connection.
The Ohio House loads a bit slower than the entry page for the Ohio Senate but faster than the City of Toledo’s website and the search feature for legislation and journals is able to be accessed without feeling as if you have time to make a snack while you are waiting.
The front portal page for the State of Ohio’s website seemed to be hit or miss, at times it would load within a minute or two, other times it would lag a bit, almost as slow as the City of Toledo website. The various department websites all load fairly well, with the exception of the Jobs and Family services page, which never completely loaded but was still usable and the Secretary of State. That website for the Secretary of State surpasses the City of Toledo for the slowest loading website and the most unuser friendly one for those on a dial up. I went downstairs, poured a glass of diet pepsi, put in a few ice cubes, walked back upstairs, and it was still loading. The Treasurer’s website loaded the fastest of the State websites.
Why this is important to point out is many parts of our area and our state do not have cable or dsl access, which means those who connect to the internet have no affordable option other than dial up. We also have a good number of residents who are casual internet users, who use a dial up connection. If we want people to turn to these governmental websites for information? Making them only easy to access for those who have a high speed connection creates a disconnect…
Thankfully Glass City Jungle is accessible using dial up or Lisa Renee would be having a much worse week. If you have a blog you’d like her to know about? Email her at email@example.com.