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If my many years of education taught me anything, except an extremely high capability to imbibe, it was the value of attention to detail. Shoddy, half-baked, error-ridden work was never acceptable in the ivory towers of academia nor in my various establishments of employment since graduation. Those who ignored this imperative were shunned from polite society and worse, not invited to the Friday night drinking session down at the local. Shame indeed.

Is there a point to this rant? I can almost hear the huddled masses cry and I am happy to furnish you with a resounding Yes.

As I travail through a plethora of websites, both at work and as an extra-curricular indulgence, I can but despair at the inadequacy of many such online destinations. Since when did allowing error messages become an acceptable online currency? Did I miss a meeting? Can I still vote? My sarcasm may seem a tad harsh and my ire almost tangible, but my constant fight with broken links, meaningless error messages and all manner of internet misdemeanors is beginning to exhaust my mortal frame and test the very boundaries of my admirable patience.

Most recently, I was ordering an online product on a website which shall remain nameless, both to avoid undue advertising as well as to arrest my potential embarrassment. Much to my chagrin, the credit card section returned with an error. I was duly informed that my credit card expiry date had been entered in an incorrect format. Me, make an elementary error such as this? The very suggestion strikes a note of impertinence and inspires offence deep within me.

Undeterred by this flagrant display of chutzpah, I entered the details correctly for a second, third and forth time. On each occasion, I was rudely ejected from the form page and chastised for my so called error. Eventually, after a brief outburst containing an obloquy which is unsuitable for this forum, I departed the website and purchased my wares elsewhere.

There is, naturally, a moral to this sorry tale. Good website usability no longer represents a luxury in the world of ecommerce; it is imperative, importunate, indispensable, inescapable, compulsory, critical and crucial. Have I made my point? Splendid. Ignore usability at your peril.

I thank you and bid you all the finest of days.