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Can't read LCR website, inaccessible

P: n/a
Hello

I can't read the London & Continental Railways website and they have no
email address to complain to. I tried calling them, but got put through to
one guy who hung up, and another who had voicemail. Does anyone know how to
contact them?
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/

What I want to tell them is that I have an automatic press release
monitoring program, Marvin, which tracks press releases for over 80
companies and organisations in the rail business, mostly in Europe and North
America.

Many of these companies have poor websites, but I can often have Marvin work
around this. Not so with London & Continental Railways, because their
website is completely done in Flash, and there is no text version or any
html pages at all, except the one single page which contains their Flash
animation.

To my knowledge, Flash is not an official web standard, so I will not have
Marvin learn Flash. In addition, the blinking lights and spinning logos at
the LCR website can be done with html + javascript. This eliminates the need
to make the website inaccessible to those who are unable or unwilling to use
a Flash client reader. The advantage of removing this hurdle is generally
applicable, but particularly to those connecting over a mobile phone network
or a conventional modem, as well as people like me trying to monitor
content.

Catering to these people is obviously in the interest of any organisation
wishing to have people read about what they are doing. Another disadvantage
with an all-flash website is that you can't send a link to a particular page
to a friend over email. This is exactly the problem Marvin is encountering
while trying to monitor LCR.

Removing html content in favour of Flash harkens back to the bad old days of
incompatible diskettes and file formats. It is also similar to installing
steps on concourses which previously were wheelchair- and
suitcase-accessible.

I would be most grateful if this message could be forwarded to the LCR
website guys.

--
Erik Sandblom
my site is EriksRailNews.com
for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible
for those who do, no explanation is necessary

Feb 1 '06 #1
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19 Replies


P: n/a
Yes, Flash only websites are moronic.

There is precious little information on that particular website anyway.
Strip away the pointless annoying animations and you could easily fit
all the text on to a single page.

Feb 1 '06 #2

P: n/a
Erik Sandblom <er***@operamail.com> wrote in
news:C0069657.17A8D%er***@operamail.com:
Removing html content in favour of Flash harkens back to the bad old
days of incompatible diskettes and file formats. It is also similar
to installing steps on concourses which previously were wheelchair-
and suitcase-accessible.


Companies that do this don't know any better and even worse, they don't
seem to care. Often, the company leadership doesn't understand the
importance of their web site; they've been told they should have one so
they get some secretary or someone to put one together even though that
someone has zero experience; they might be a great secretary, but that
does not automatically make them a great web developer.

Personally, I don't even have the Flash plugin installed on most of the
systems I use. I do on one computer for the portion of my advanced web
development class where I teach how to use and how not to use Flash. I
usually don't bother with Flash as there are so many sites that use it
poorly as you described. It is totally useless on way too many sites.

--
Stan McCann "Uncle Pirate" http://stanmccann.us/pirate.html
Webmaster/Computer Center Manager, NMSU at Alamogordo
http://alamo.nmsu.edu/ There are 10 kinds of people.
Those that understand binary and those that don't.
Feb 1 '06 #3

P: n/a
Els
Erik Sandblom wrote:
Hello

I can't read the London & Continental Railways website and they have no
email address to complain to. I tried calling them, but got put through to
one guy who hung up, and another who had voicemail. Does anyone know how to
contact them?
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/

What I want to tell them is that I have an automatic press release
[snip]
I would be most grateful if this message could be forwarded to the LCR
website guys.


Here's the content of their contact page:

KEY CONTACTS

LCR
3rd Floor, 183 Eversholt Street
London
NW1 1AY
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 4300
Fax: +44 (0)20 7391 4400

LONDON & CONTINENTAL STATIONS AND PROPERTY
3rd Floor, 183 Eversholt Street
London
NW1 1AY
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 4300
Fax: +44 (0)20 7391 4400

UNION RAILWAYS (NORTH)
CTRL House
2 Ossulston Street
London
NW1 1HT
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7681 5000

RAIL LINK ENGINEERING
CTRL House
2 Ossulston Street
London
NW1 1HT
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7681 5000

CTRL 24 HOUR CONSTRUCTION HELPLINE
Tel: 0845 60 40 246 (local call rate)

MEDIA ENQUIRIES
If you are a journalist and have a media enquiry about LCR or any of
its subsidiary companies, please contact the LCR Press office:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 4360
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7391 4460
Email: ld******@lcrhq.co.uk

Out of office hours, please call our 24 hour public helpline on 0845
60 40 246 to be put in touch with an on-duty press officer.

***

HTH

--
Els http://locusmeus.com/
accessible web design: http://locusoptimus.com/

Now playing: King Crimson - Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part III
Feb 1 '06 #4

P: n/a
i artikel wg****************************@40tude.net, skrev Els på
el*********@tiscali.nl den 06-02-01 17.57:
Erik Sandblom wrote:

I can't read the London & Continental Railways website and they have no
email address to complain to. I tried calling them, but got put through to
one guy who hung up, and another who had voicemail. Does anyone know how to
contact them?
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/

What I want to tell them is that I have an automatic press release
[snip]
I would be most grateful if this message could be forwarded to the LCR
website guys.


Here's the content of their contact page:

Snip
MEDIA ENQUIRIES
If you are a journalist and have a media enquiry about LCR or any of
its subsidiary companies, please contact the LCR Press office:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 4360
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7391 4460
Email: ld******@lcrhq.co.uk

Isn't that something. I was actually able to get that page using a different
browser, but didn't notice the little down-arrow-thing indicating the
presence of more information, so I missed seeing the email.

I have just written a paper letter and intend to send it, but will also send
an email to tell them what people are saying here.

Thank you very much for the transcript, I wouldn't have seen the email
otherwise. By the way, I hate non-standard javascript and Flash scrollers
because they are fiddly and you don't notice them... Why no just use the
System (Windows/Mac/Linux/KDE) scrollbars? Breath deeply...

--
Erik Sandblom
my site is EriksRailNews.com
for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible
for those who do, no explanation is necessary

Feb 1 '06 #5

P: n/a
Stan McCann wrote:
Personally, I don't even have the Flash plugin installed on most of the
systems I use. I do on one computer for the portion of my advanced web
development class where I teach how to use and how not to use Flash. I
usually don't bother with Flash as there are so many sites that use it
poorly as you described. It is totally useless on way too many sites.


And I am sure the site is inaccesssible to anyone with any form of
visual disability.
--
Bruce Fletcher
Stronsay, Orkney
<www.stronsay.co.uk/claremont>

Feb 1 '06 #6

P: n/a
In uk.railway Erik Sandblom <er***@operamail.com> wrote:
Thank you very much for the transcript, I wouldn't have seen the email
otherwise. By the way, I hate non-standard javascript and Flash scrollers
because they are fiddly and you don't notice them... Why no just use the
System (Windows/Mac/Linux/KDE) scrollbars? Breath deeply...


Usually because you've employed clue-deficient "web designers" who are
trying to impose authoring concepts from paper based graphic design
inappropriately on digital media. The managers who employment them
see a glitzy "web site" (even if its all Flash - they often don't know
the difference) and are disconnected from any end user feedback that
says, "this is crap - I can't access it."

They make a better target for the DDA police than footbridges on
wayside halts in the middle of nowhere me thinks...

Jim'll
Feb 1 '06 #7

P: n/a
Bruce Fletcher wrote:
Stan McCann wrote:
Personally, I don't even have the Flash plugin installed on most of the
systems I use. I do on one computer for the portion of my advanced web
development class where I teach how to use and how not to use Flash. I
usually don't bother with Flash as there are so many sites that use it
poorly as you described. It is totally useless on way too many sites.


And I am sure the site is inaccesssible to anyone with any form of
visual disability.


Isn't that against some sort of UK law?

Feb 1 '06 #8

P: n/a
Erik Sandblom wrote:
Many of these companies have poor websites, but I can often have Marvin work
around this. Not so with London & Continental Railways, because their
website is completely done in Flash, and there is no text version or any
html pages at all, except the one single page which contains their Flash
animation.


If you look at the files being loaded (Safari and Firefox make this
easy), you'll see that the Flash file is actually loading in a bunch of
XML. Look at:

http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/xml/newspress.xml
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/xml/newseditors.xml
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/xml/newsimages.xml

You could theoretically parse this XML to get the news stories.

But I agree that you shouldn't have to. Flash is a great, mature,
reliable technology for producing certain types of webapps, and people
like LCR give it a bad name with this sort of unnecessary shenanigans.

Richard

Feb 1 '06 #9

P: n/a
Richard Fairhurst wrote:
But I agree that you shouldn't have to. Flash is a great, mature,
reliable technology for producing certain types of webapps, and people
like LCR give it a bad name with this sort of unnecessary shenanigans.


Agreed!

I agree with pretty much everything that's been said so far. Sites like
these result when you hire a bunch of web "designers", who know (or
care) nothing of web _development_, accessibility, standards, etc.

One of my friends in college was taking a web design class and he said
he liked using Flash because he hates "that HTML crap". Luckily he
didn't get a job doing web design after college!

Feb 1 '06 #10

P: n/a
i artikel 11*********************@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.c om, skrev
Richard Fairhurst på ri******@systemeD.net den 06-02-01 19.30:
Erik Sandblom wrote:
Many of these companies have poor websites, but I can often have Marvin work
around this. Not so with London & Continental Railways, because their
website is completely done in Flash, and there is no text version or any
html pages at all, except the one single page which contains their Flash
animation.
If you look at the files being loaded (Safari and Firefox make this
easy), you'll see that the Flash file is actually loading in a bunch of
XML. Look at:

http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/xml/newspress.xml
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/xml/newseditors.xml
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/xml/newsimages.xml

You could theoretically parse this XML to get the news stories.

That's great! Richard, you are a genius.

I don't think I could find a url to link to though, it would have to be the
press release title linked to the front page. Better than nothing.

But I agree that you shouldn't have to. Flash is a great, mature,
reliable technology for producing certain types of webapps, and people
like LCR give it a bad name with this sort of unnecessary shenanigans.

Totally! And what scares me a little is this idea that it is "better" or
"more advanced" than html + javascript, when it's really just complementary.
For things like interactive maps and stuff.

--
Erik Sandblom
my site is EriksRailNews.com
for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible
for those who do, no explanation is necessary

Feb 1 '06 #11

P: n/a
Erik Sandblom wrote:

I have just written a paper letter and intend to send it, but will also send
an email to tell them what people are saying here.
Good luck with that, Erik! I contacted them before Christmas because I
just couldn't get into their new site at all. Here's their reply:
Thank you for your email. I have just tested the new website and it is
fine. Unfortunately this is a problem at your end - you require a flash
enabled PC to run the site. You should be able to download a Flash
player at:

www.macromedia.com

Regards,
Laura
Laura Wise
LCR Press Office
3rd Floor
183 Eversholt Street
London
NW1 1AY

Tel: +44 20 7391 4370
Fax: +44 20 7391 4470
Mob: +44 7810 377711
www.lcrhq.co.uk
I replied thusly:
Thank you for your reply, which I find rather disappointing. I don't
wish to use Flash - I simply want to access information quickly and
simply.

Perhaps you could consider a "skip intro" link or similar on your home
page.


I'm still waiting for a reply to that one!
--
Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
=================================
Visit "Joyce's World of Transport Eclectica" -
<http://www.btinternet.com/~joyce.whitchurch/>
Feb 1 '06 #12

P: n/a

Erik Sandblom wrote:
Hello

I can't read the London & Continental Railways website and they have no
email address to complain to. I tried calling them, but got put through to
one guy who hung up, and another who had voicemail. Does anyone know how to
contact them?
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/

What I want to tell them is that I have an automatic press release
monitoring program, Marvin, which tracks press releases for over 80
companies and organisations in the rail business, mostly in Europe and North
America.

Many of these companies have poor websites, but I can often have Marvin work
around this. Not so with London & Continental Railways, because their
website is completely done in Flash, and there is no text version or any
html pages at all, except the one single page which contains their Flash
animation.

To my knowledge, Flash is not an official web standard, so I will not have
Marvin learn Flash. In addition, the blinking lights and spinning logos at
the LCR website can be done with html + javascript. This eliminates the need
to make the website inaccessible to those who are unable or unwilling to use
a Flash client reader. The advantage of removing this hurdle is generally
applicable, but particularly to those connecting over a mobile phone network
or a conventional modem, as well as people like me trying to monitor
content. Ahh yes. But some "designers" have a belief that the web is a visual
medium.
I do not really support this view.

Catering to these people is obviously in the interest of any organisation
wishing to have people read about what they are doing. Another disadvantage
with an all-flash website is that you can't send a link to a particular page
to a friend over email. This is exactly the problem Marvin is encountering
while trying to monitor LCR. Not to mention, my screen reader has similar problems.
As Flash is a graphical medium, I think it would be very hard to get
any text of that site at all. Also, I do not even notice a need for any
dynamic script, such as JavaScript on this site at all!.
Removing html content in favour of Flash harkens back to the bad old days of
incompatible diskettes and file formats. It is also similar to installing
steps on concourses which previously were wheelchair- and
suitcase-accessible.

I would be most grateful if this message could be forwarded to the LCR
website guys.

That's fine, but whether they would care to do anything about the issue
is another story.
--
Regards Chad. http://freewebdesign.cjb.cc

Feb 2 '06 #13

P: n/a
i artikel 43***************@btinternet.com, skrev Joyce Whitchurch på
Jo**************@btinternet.com den 06-02-02 00.44:
I replied thusly:
Thank you for your reply, which I find rather disappointing. I don't
wish to use Flash - I simply want to access information quickly and
simply.

Perhaps you could consider a "skip intro" link or similar on your home
page.


I'm still waiting for a reply to that one!

I applaud your effort.

Unfortunately they don't seem to understand what the problem is. They
probably already think you can access the information quickly and simply.

They need to know that Flash is available for fewer devices than web
browsers; that Flash content does not reformat to fit devices like the Nokia
9xxx and the SonyEricsson P800 and P900 devices; that unlike html, it is
inaccessible to people with limited eyesight. As such, Flash is suited to
non-text applications, and html is better wherever text is required.

And then there's all this:
http://www.granneman.com/webdev/grap...flash/whatswro
ngwithflash/

Erik Sandblom

--
Erik Sandblom
my site is EriksRailNews.com
for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible
for those who do, no explanation is necessary

Feb 2 '06 #14

P: n/a
Erik Sandblom wrote:
> And then there's all this:
http://www.granneman.com/webdev/grap...flash/whatswro
ngwithflash/


Hmmm. He should also have set up
http://www.granneman.com/whatswrongwithlongurls/

Seriously, though, that's an example of the hysteria that surrounds
many people's attitudes to Flash. I agree with his general point
("building entire Web sites in Flash is a bad idea"), but a lot of his
assertions are way offbeam. In particular, he's comparing good use of
HTML to bad use of Flash... and there's a lot of bad HTML out there.

- "Create-able only if you own Flash, which runs only on Mac or
Windows, and costs 100s of dollars." No - see ming.sourceforge.net,
sswf.sourceforge.net, and several other projects.

- "The user has no control over what the Flash animation displays..."
Not quite true. Flash Player usually provides a contextual menu with
controls like play, stop, zoom in, zoom out.

- "Not cacheable on your hard drive, so you have to reload the Flash
animation every single time you return to the page." Simply not true -
in fact, SWFs on WinIE tend to cache themselves rather too
enthusiastically.

- "Cannot copy text and images." You can copy text if the SWF author
permits it.

- "Not indexable by search engines." Not true - Google indexes SWFs.

- "Generally, larger downloads than straight HTML." That's a gross
generalisation. HTML is not compressed unless served via Apache and
modgzip (or similar); SWF is compressed by default. Overall, HTML is
optimised for human readability and authorship, SWF is optimised for
efficient delivery and computer readability.

Richard

Feb 2 '06 #15

P: n/a
Chaddy2222 wrote:
I can't read the London & Continental Railways website and they have no
email address to complain to. I tried calling them, but got put through to
one guy who hung up, and another who had voicemail. Does anyone know how to
contact them?
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/
<snip> Not to mention, my screen reader has similar problems. <snip> [W]hether they would care to do anything about the issue
is another story.


Aren't LCR in breach of the Disablity Discrimination Act if their
website can't be read by screen readers?

http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/content/info/dda.htm

Perhaps some UK-based visually impaired Usenaut would like to make a
complaint...?

--
John Band
john at johnband dot org
www.johnband.org

Feb 2 '06 #16

P: n/a
In article <C0******************@operamail.com>, Erik Sandblom
<er***@operamail.com> wrote:
i artikel 43***************@btinternet.com, skrev Joyce Whitchurch på
Jo**************@btinternet.com den 06-02-02 00.44:
I replied thusly:
Thank you for your reply, which I find rather disappointing. I don't
wish to use Flash - I simply want to access information quickly and
simply.

Perhaps you could consider a "skip intro" link or similar on your home
page.


I'm still waiting for a reply to that one!

I applaud your effort.

Unfortunately they don't seem to understand what the problem is. They
probably already think you can access the information quickly and simply.

They need to know that Flash is available for fewer devices than web
browsers; that Flash content does not reformat to fit devices like the Nokia
9xxx and the SonyEricsson P800 and P900 devices; that unlike html, it is
inaccessible to people with limited eyesight. As such, Flash is suited to
non-text applications, and html is better wherever text is required.

And then there's all this:
http://www.granneman.com/webdev/grap...flash/whatswro
ngwithflash/


I hate URLs that break over 80 column windows, but angle braces help:

<http://www.granneman.com/webdev/grap...edia/flash/wha
tswrongwithflash/>

Flash has its place, but not for whole websites. It's a useful tool
for on-line educational content, for example, simply because it _can_
provide animation and user interaction; you can stick flash objects
into the html content to reinforce points, or give students a "virtual"
experiment to play with. Having started working in Flash, I'd have to
say that, for text and static images, html is better (faster for folks
on slower connections, for one thing). I'd also argue that reasonable
html pages are easier to produce than flash ones. I do not see how I
could produce some of the things that I want to do in html/javascript
(and I have an in-built aversion to Javascript thanks to various
exploits, thank you very much), but if all I'm doing is posting a
lecture schedule, there's really no need for anything fancy at all.

Here's some examples (not mine) of what can be done:
<http://www.chem.iastate.edu/group/Gr...ectfolder/anim
ationsindex.htm>
Feb 2 '06 #17

P: n/a
In article <02*************************@example.com>,
David C. Stone <no******@example.com> wrote:
I hate URLs that break over 80 column windows, but angle braces help:

<http://www.granneman.com/webdev/grap...edia/flash/wha
tswrongwithflash/>


The obvious solution to me is to use a newsreader that doesn't
deliberately break long URLs.

http://www.granneman.com/webdev/grap...rongwithflash/

Nick
--
So when is Tony Blair going to start treating *us* with respect ?
Feb 3 '06 #18

P: n/a
Richard Fairhurst wrote:

- "The user has no control over what the Flash animation displays..."
Not quite true. Flash Player usually provides a contextual menu with
controls like play, stop, zoom in, zoom out.
Um, if you ever had an actual need to use Flash's zoom feature, you
would know what a woefully inadequate thing it is. If the user had any
control over either the zoom factor or the area of zoom, it might be
useful. As is, it sucks. And whether the context menu displays at all is
apparently at the whim of the author.
You can [do various things] if the SWF author permits it.


Therein lies the problem. Authors have all the control, the user has none.

I'll take HTML any day. At least I know I can always make the text
readable. That's not possible with Flash.

--
Reply email address is a bottomless spam bucket.
Please reply to the group so everyone can share.
Feb 3 '06 #19

P: n/a

John Band wrote:
Chaddy2222 wrote:
I can't read the London & Continental Railways website and they have no
email address to complain to. I tried calling them, but got put through to
one guy who hung up, and another who had voicemail. Does anyone know how to
contact them?
http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/
<snip>
Not to mention, my screen reader has similar problems.

<snip>
[W]hether they would care to do anything about the issue
is another story.


Aren't LCR in breach of the Disablity Discrimination Act if their
website can't be read by screen readers?

Yes. Most likely.
But, it also would not be able to be accessed by text only browsers,
which are also used by some people with Vision impairments.

http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/content/info/dda.htm

Perhaps some UK-based visually impaired Usenaut would like to make a
complaint...?

Hmmm, maybe some one should refer that organisation too that rather
famous story regarding the Sydney Elimpic Games website.
It would be a good reference point for them I reckon.
--
Regards Chad. http://freewebdesign.cjb.cc

Feb 3 '06 #20

This discussion thread is closed

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