Don’t try to do this in business

Screen shot of the site requirements for the SBA Hubzone certificationIn trying to update my business HUBzone certification I ran into the following warning message:

GC MED – HUBZone – 8(a) Business Development (I’ve disabled the link because it was to a secure site with my companyID)

# SECURITY SETTINGS: Your ‘Internet Service Provider’ (ISP) or your internet browser may have the Security/Privacy settings preset to a level that might NOT allow the HUBZone System to perform correctly. Before you attempt to log in, please select this link ‘How to verify my browser settings?’ and make sure you have the right settings. After you establish that you have the right settings you may log in and complete the required steps.

# BROWSER REQUIERMENTS: You MUST Use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape version less than 6.x.
Do NOT use any of these browsers as these may not be compatible with our application system:
Firefox or Safari and Versions of Netscape 6.x and above

# OPERATING SYSTEM: This system may encounter problems if you are using a Windows XP operating system or a Wireless connection.

Our form uses Pop-Ups which are by default blocked by the Windows XP operating system. To enable our form to work correctly, please select this link ‘Block Pop-up Windows with Internet Explorer’ and follow the instructions under “To change Pop-up Blocker

As far as I can tell- this means I have to go find an antique computer running Windows98 just to update my paperwork.

There is no excuse for this kind of shoddy programming or forced requirements for web functionality by our government.

Industry standards are also accessibility standards- if anyone we elected actually knew anything about the web and computers- someone at the SBA should be fired- and probably put in jail for allowing this to happen.

Note: the site worked fine in Firefox on a Mac.

It took over an hour to fill out all the stupid questions- and they are demanding copies of all kinds of documents within 10 days.

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4 Comments on "Don’t try to do this in business"

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D. Greene

Our business is a Mac shop, and we run into this problem quite a bit, including on some government sites. Fortunately you can get a user agent switcher for firefox to circumvent some of that garbage. Basically, Firefox masquerades as IE and the website can’t tell the difference.

We’re also a hubzone business, and the whole hubzone/contracting thing is very byzantine and difficult to navigate.

At then end of the day, however, it should be illegal for government websites to be inaccessible.

David Esrati
David Esrati

D. Greene-
It wasn’t the mac thing that was so crazy- it was the no on WindowsXP too- that rules out, about 75% of the computers right now.
I know about the user agent switcher- but, Firefox worked fine- despite their warnings.
I meant to point back at my last HUB zone idea:
about allowing unlimited H-1 visas in HUB zones- but, no one seemed to take the bait.

D. Greene

I personally think it’s a great idea, and I would be interested to see what my boss thinks.

J.R. Locke

Wright State’s email and student information login sites do not “officially” support anything from Mozilla either. Neither does a majority of government sites I have been too (FAFSA the most apparent). The XP thing is especially strange considering that it had been 5 years since there was a new operating system.