Greasemonkey to the rescue!

Some nifty things have been done with Greasemonkey, not least Julian’s excellent LDDMonkey, but I have to say, this one is surely one of the most useful:

Accessible Odeon: The Return.

Some background:

A while back, Matthew Somerville took issue with the UK cinema chain, Odeon who have long-maintained an inaccessible website. Essentially, some stupid IE-only Javascript meant that the site was totally useless: no menus, no ticket booking, no cinema details, nothing. If you emailed Odeon they would tell you that their site was being re-coded. In fact, they followed this line for at least three years by my reckoning. All because they couldn’t be bothered to update some simple menu Javascript. Tsk.

Matthew came up with an accessible version of the Odeon site and offered it up for free as a public service. Odeon were initally happy with this — and why not? They got more ticket bookings and more people could get information on their services — but then of course the predictable lawyers’ letters starting dropping on Matthew’s doormat, citing the Data Protection Act, copyright laws, etc. etc.

There’s just no helping some people. Well, Matthew took the site down, Odeon introduced a lame text-only version of their site (no on-line booking etc.), and that was that… Until Greasemonkey came along that is! As Matthew says:

Obviously this is client side, so is perfectly okay; I am not copying any information, infringing any copyright, or allegedly misleading anybody. Note the script is not exactly very long; all that’s left to wonder is why Odeon couldn’t apply these fixes any time in the last 3-4 years…

So, well done to Matthew, and shame on Odeon. Here’s hoping some other businesses take heed: the web can make you money if you let it. There is no excuse for IE-only websites in this day and age.

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.