Thursday, October 02, 2008

How Minnesota Regards its veterans

Imagine you are a military serviceman, coming home from Iraq. Depleted, disoriented, and looking to make up for lost time, you want to learn what resources are available to you. A search for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs leads you to this monstrosity.

Um, thank you for your service?

Let's take a test drive here. Try scrolling over the license plate (!?!) in the upper-right corner. It switches to a blurry version of the MN DOVA logo. Aren't you glad you took the time to do that? As an extra bonus, if you click on it, you are returned to the home page. Webmagic!

In the upper-left corner, there is something resembling a toolbar. Here, you have the option to learn more about MDVA. Great. Let's click on this. Hmmm... It's the same as the home page, sans information. Sort of like an IED for the !@#$ing imagination.

The most prominent graphic on the site? The flag status. Now, I've never served in the military, but I'm guessing that the first thing our veterans probably search the web for is the flag status. I mean, that damn thing could be anywhere on the pole! Half-mast, full-mast, double-somersault-mast. It's pretty confusing.

Just to clarify this matter, I called my stepfather, himself a military veteran.

Kevin: Hey, Bob, how's it going.

Bob: Oh, things are okay. Just trying to make ends meet.

Kevin: Did you look today to find out the flag status?

Bob: Oh, did Jimmy Carter die?

And there you have it.

BUT WAIT! There's a call to action:

Check Out The Governors Support Cabinet Summit for Returning Veterans


Wow, that is not even remotely a sentence. Exciting news certainly awaits! Let's follow the link.

Minnesota Voters Summit 2006: Collaboration for the Sake of our Country's Heroes.


Gee, the Governor dealt with veterans issues two years ago? Well, that explains why McCain picked Sarah Palin, doesn't it?

The best thing about this site generally is that, no matter where you go, you see Clark Dyrud's mug, smiling firmly at you. Who is Clark Dryud? Well, actually he's a pretty accomplished guy who earned a purple heart in 'Nam, and who is earning probably not much more than the idiot who designed this website. Purple Heart or no, is he proud of this shit?

Suffice it to say, his biography doesn't indicate the sort of fellow who would insist on having his picture on every damn page of the veterans web site.

Visually, this website is a muddle, and that's being generous. For starters, we have text straddling the header, which is something against which even I know how to mitigate. This could be forgiven, were visual appeal sacrificed for functionality, but functionality does not, precisely, abound here.

As for intangible stuff, like, you know, social media, an online press kit, links to relevant organizations, or anything else that might give the impression that this website had been updated since 1996... Well, apparently, that wasn't on the agenda.

The hell with this. Our tax dollars compensate (and amply so) communications personnel under whose jurisdiction this website is allowed to continue. Governor Pawlenty ought to be ashamed.

Got complaints?

Complain here.

1 Comments:

Blogger Memphis Evans said...

I know of a guy who served in Iraq for almost two years, accepting extensions to his tour of duty. When he'd been home a while he developed a brain tumor and his wife had to scramble to the post office to get his COBRA insurance in on time so it wouldn't be considered a pre-existing condition or some such BS. Why does this man not have health care through the military? I can't remember the last time something that did not directly affect me made me so angry.

As much as I'm not for war in Iraq, I think the people who serve there need to be taken care of better than that. Thanks for your righteous post.

11:26 AM  

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