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TSA debuts new website

I just got back from some much needed R & R, and since I left before the most recent Homeland Security PR campaign terror scare, I spent a lot of time on the TSA website the last few days of my vacation trying to figure out the ever-changing array of prohibited items. It wasn't much help. It seemed like they were updating the regs hourly, but the website only every couple of days, and then in English taken from a Chinese takeout menu. "These items are permitted, but to physical inspection" was a particular favorite that seems to have stuck. It's okay, though, TSA love you long time.

Now they seem to have redesigned the site, which was badly in need of an overhaul. Unfortunately, there aren't many changes, and they seem to have given the job to FBI programmers. They certainly haven't made the site more useful to travelers, or anyone else for that matter. It features the same contradictory information--beverages are not permitted except when they are. Unless you're a diabetic who needs juice; then juice is permitted except when it isn't--now in a new, less user-friendly layout. Every single page is now one huge iframe centered in a useless striped gray background, guaranteeing that you will have to scroll not once but twice to access any useful information. Assuming you even notice the information you want has scrolled off the bottom of the iframe. And, of course, the navbar is in the iframe, so it scrolls off the top any time you scroll down the page. Add to that some of the usual Firefox and Safari rendering errors, and you can have the full airport checkpoint experience without ever leaving your keyboard.

There are some improvements, though. We now have a new slogan--"TSA...Vigilant, Effective, Efficient"--some nice pics of mountains to remind us the TSA is "strong" and "formidable," a puppy gallery, and a nice graphic of the layered security model that implies the most important site for security is the airplane cabin. That's right folks. All that fancy new screening is wonderful, but when it comes right down to it, in-flight security is up to the overworked, under-trained flight crew, that woman next to you with the screaming toddler, and "YOU--THE PASSENGER."

[via 27B/6]

Tags: air travel, airplane, AirTravel, counterterrorism, flying, government, homeland security, HomelandSecurity, terrorism, timewasters, Transportation Security, TransportationSecurity, travel, TSA, US, USA, web design, WebDesign