Saturday 21 April 2012

PAS Blames the Squirrels

The fourteen-million pound Scheme in the British Museum has a somewhat juvenile means of telling members of the public that they cannot find some data in their database.

Well, actually I used a drop-down menu on the database's search to try and find a correlation between two rather simple search terms. Still I am glad to know the BM is not wasting public money on IT professionals and will get some scruffy 11-year olds on the problem just as soon as they get back from school.

This is the Scheme which will be spending hundreds of thousands over the coming months in an effort to convince professionals that this is a serious data source. Maybe they could start by presenting a more professional face to its users, and not stoop to the lowest common denominator just because in reality  most people using it will be tekkies trying to look up each others' geegaws. 

Meanwhile the non-computer savvy member of the public getting this message could well concluded that they have been rebuked for having "fat fingers" and making an error with a task the name of which looks like "squirrel". If this is their first visit to the PAS geegaw showcase, it may well be their last and they may want to know where all the money has gone. Perhaps there is a case for more professionalism in the face the PAS presents to its funders and less attempts to be dumb-down cutesy. 

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