Today Rapid Intake announced a new service named Unison.

Not having used the service, I won’t pretend to know whether it’s a worthwhile service or not. It’s certainly an intriguing idea, and with its oft-mentioned low price, it’s guaranteed to get some industry buzz.

Out of curiosity, I perused the Rapid Intake site to read more about Unison. I wasn’t very impressed with the Unison product webpage. Being the geek I am, I decided to take a peek at the Unison page’s source code. UGH! They’re using tables for layout, JavaScript for simple navigation menu mouseovers, are omitting alt tags on many images, are using non-web-safe fonts, and are positively abusing CSS styles by applying a class called “maintext” to almost every paragraph.

Here’s a snippet:

<td height="310" valign="top" class="h1">
<p class="h1">Collaborative eLearning Development and
Review for Teams</p>
<p class="h1"> </p>
<p class="mainText">Built on the Rapid Intake eLearning 
Development Platform, Unison is a web-based solution 
[ ... ]</p>
<p class="mainText"> </p>
<p class="mainText">Now all your SMEs, designers, 
and reviewers can work together on e-learning courseware 
[ ... ]</p>
<p class="mainText"> </p>
<p class="mainText">All you need to do is <a href="#">logon and get started.</a> </p>
<p class="mainText"> </p>

This code clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of long-established web standards and best practices.

I certainly don’t mean to beat up on whoever designed their site, but as a company whose business is publishing web-based documents, this website gives me zero confidence in the quality of their product.

Please understand that I’m not trying to be a jerk here. I wouldn’t rag on an individual person’s site or home-brewed course system (I know my site isn’t perfect, either!). It’s just that this site is a perfect example of how our industry appears to pay little heed to web standards and best practices. Rapid Intake — a company clearly on the rise in our niche market — is in a perfect position to be a role model for ‘doing it right.’

Standards make development work easier, and greatly reduce compatibility issues. I just don’t understand why companies like Rapid Intake don’t see that.

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