Dear National Lottery,
(let the rant begin)
Dear National Lottery,
I'm really very disappointed that you have a narrow minded, antiquated policy of only supporting certain operating systems and browsers. Many intelligent, technically aware people do not wish to use Internet Explorer (or Netscape) for many very good reasons - primarily security.
Since security is something you are concerned with, and are very keen to promote for your service, it seems somewhat short-sighted that you only support one relatively secure browser (not subject to a great deal of current development), and another which has been widely proven to have so many flaws and bugs that even security organisations such as CERT are advising against it. It has of course been widely publicised that Mozilla Firefox (incidentally almost completely compatible with Netscape) now has something in the order of 10% market share - in other words, your site can only be reached by 90% of your possible customers.
The Internet thrives on the fact that information is available to many people from disparate backgrounds and abilities. Your site is not accessible to those who may be using text to speech browsers, or even a number of text magnifying products. That same deficiency is what prevents your site being useable by all browsers.
If your development is flawed and so your site does not work very well in some browsers, then by all means post a warning to that effect. However, simply denying users access seems heavy handed and frankly incredibly rude. Would you deliberately put a step outside a shop just to stop wheelchair users? Of course not - please don't do it on the Internet either.
Please stop assuming the Internet is "Internet Explorer" and start understanding the concept that a well designed site naturally works in all browsers, is accessible to all users, regardless of their circumstances. Such sites demonstrate a keen understanding of customer service, and most importantly do not hinder users.
(sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Incidentally, the site seems to be working just fine in Firefox with the User Agent Switcher set to "IE on Windows XP". Hmm... Coofercat doesn't work very well in IE. Oh well, time to drink my own bath water.
Update 13th Nov,2004
>From: National Lottery
>Sent: 11/13/2004 4:30:58 PM
>Subject: Re: Browser Incompatibilities
>Thank you for contacting the Interactive Customer Care Team.
>At present our online games facility does not support your computer 's
>installed software.We do however update our systems on a regular
>basis therefore your system may be supported at a later date.
>You should have either Internet Explorer version 5.01 SP2, 5.5 SP2 or
>6, Netscape version 7 or 7.1, or AOL version 7, 8 or 9. To play
>Instant Win Games you should have Macromedia Flash version 6 or higher
>installed. You should also have an Internet connection of 56k or
>better for optimal performance. Both the website and Flash games
>should work on PC.
>We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.
>If you have any further enquiries or feedback to provide please
>contact us again.Alternatively you may submit your enquiries to our
>online virtual representative, Ask Evie, available by visiting
>http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/player/p/home/home.do, and selecting
>Interactive Customer Care Team
>0845 278 8000
>Open 7 days 8am-11pm
which has warranted this response from me:
You may be interested to know that not only is Firefox (Windows, Linux and Mac) almost completely compatible with Netscape, but also has a "User Agent Switcher" extension. I have used this to make Firefox tell your site that it is in fact, IE running on Windows XP (when in fact it is Firefox running on Linux). With that in place, I have sucessfully used the site, all pages looking normal, all security in place.
So your site is actually compatible with my software. You simply need to test it more thoroughly, and remove the archaic block on untested browsers.