Website application designers at the HMRC were jubilant yesterday, after they won the award for ‘Most confusing and difficult to use website”, for the fifth year running.
“It has been no easy feat to make a website this bad and unusable,” explained HMRC lead webshite designer, Paul Turdbucket. “It all begins with our homepage – we actually have three homepages that seemly appear at random. They sort of do the same thing but not quite. First is the Government Gateway site, then the new style Inland Revenue Site.”
“Finally there is the archaic looking HMRC website, that looks like something from the early 90’s which we expect users to trust with their financial information,” he smirked.
The Druid’s Loom approached a beleaguered small business owner who had been trying to file her online VAT return for nearly 3 days.
“Frustration sets in from the onset with the user name, it’s a fucking 12 digit number,” Sammy Punchmonitor told us. “On most websites the username is an email, or something of your own choosing – but a 12 DIGIT NUMBER. I have to keep it written down on a pad by my computer.“
“You log on to the Government Gateway website and click the link to tax services. This logs you out and takes you to a new webpage where you are forced to login again – with exactly the same fucking information. In addition you have to wait for a confirmation text sent to your phone which takes ages.”
Why is my confidential information being passed around multiple websites? I’m sure there are things in the data protection about that kind of shit,” she postulated.
The Druid’s Loom tried to set up some simple HMRC services such as VAT registration, corporation Tax and PAYE. We got taken to another website that looked like it had been designed by a GCSE student in 1993.
Each ‘service’ we enrolled on required us to enter our name, address, company details, bank details, email and much more. Perhaps it was wrong of us to assume the point of a digital service was to avoid duplication of data.
Finally we decided to change the mobile phone number we were using. It was modified in no less than 6 places. A message appeared saying that changes can take up to 48 hours to appear on the website. Why? What the hell is happening to this information.
Despite all the changes our login code is still being sent to our old phone number, a week later.
Mr TurdBucket explained the rational behind the incomprehensible website.
“With the HMRC website there is a surprise at every turn. It’s a bit like one of those ‘choose your own adventure books’ from the 1980’s. Except if you make a wrong choice here, you don’t fall into a bottomless well, you get slapped with a £100 fine,” he said, chortling to himself.