Government contractors’ favorite Web site, FedBizOpps.gov (known as FBO.gov), launched its redesign this week, and there are some significant problems with it. I just e‑mailed this list to the site maintainers:
1. New site registrants are sent their username AND password in a plain text e‑mail, together, in the same e‑mail in which a “verify your registration” link is included. This is a massive security risk by anyone’s standards. Sending a password via e‑mail is bad enough but sending it together with a username is plain suicidal.
2. The registration process requests an MPIN (Marketing PIN) for access to “secure but unclassified information”. The MPIN is contractor’s passwords for the ORCA Web site. It’s unclear why contractors should provide the MPIN to FBO, or what it will be used for. Again — a security problem.
3. All opportunity postings now appear in a single block of text. Lists, bulletpoints, and paragraphs are eliminated and therefore unreadable.
4. Printing opportunities yields a page of headers and following pages of the huge block of text, in an excruciatingly small font. This makes the whole thing almost unreadable.
The new site is developed by Symplicity using their SympleObjects e‑Business Framework and a stack of other products. How this site got out of user acceptance testing is beyond me. These are fundamental problems that create significant concerns and frustrations. Let’s hope that these are “version 1” problems that will be swiftly fixed.
[Update 4/23/08] I just posted an update to this issue, here.