Posts tagged “web design”

ChittahChattah Quickies

Overdone: Why are restaurant websites so horrifically bad? [] – It’s true! Restaurant websites are terrible! Farhad Manjoo gives us a fun and interesting analysis of what has led to us having to endure music and pdfs and pointless flash dohickeys and long page-load times to get to things like the food and prices and what the restaurant looks like.

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent countless hours, now lost forever, plumbing the depths of restaurant Web hell. I also spoke to several industry experts about the reasons behind all these maliciously poorly designed pages. I heard several theories for why restaurant sites are so bad-that they can’t afford to pay for good designers, that they don’t understand what people want from a site, and that they don’t really care what’s on their site. But the best answer I found was this: Restaurant sites are the product of restaurant culture. These nightmarish websites were spawned by restaurateurs who mistakenly believe they can control the online world the same way they lord over a restaurant.

Page Not Found

I was fixing broken links on our blog today and had the opportunity to look at many different versions of the “Page Not Found” page in fairly rapid succession.

Here of course is the basic version; with its classic minimalism, one imagines how it would look in Helvetica.

Many sites provide some form of what the Montreal Gazette offers – “we didn’t find what you wanted, here’s a way to search our site.”

But one stood out…

Penguin Books, Australia, takes this little corner of their site – a place where mere arrival already means something has failed – and offers users an unexpected dose of humor, acknowledgment of the situation of being there, and a full set of choices about where they’d like to go next on the site. It was a little spark of delight, and it made me want to buy a book from them.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • UX guy complains about being crap and UX guy from responds – UX guy reprints email and then attempts to address corporate culture issue; strong opinions follow but most compelling part is the insight from the UX guy himself (known as Mr. X)

    "But—and I guess here’s the thing I most wanted to get across—simply doing a home page redesign is a piece of cake. You want a redesign? I’ve got six of them in my archives. It only takes a few hours to put together a really good-looking one, as you demonstrated in your post. But doing the design isn’t the hard part, and I think that’s what a lot of outsiders don’t really get, probably because many of them actually do belong to small, just-get-it-done organizations. But those of us who work in enterprise-level situations realize the momentum even a simple redesign must overcome, and not many, I’ll bet, are jumping on this same bandwagon. They know what it’s like."

  • Health management goes for ethnic marketing/customization: Asians and diabetes – Rice is a carbohydrate that is particularly unhealthy in large quantities for people with diabetes. That's why doctors and other health care providers are increasingly trying to develop culturally sensitive ways to treat Asians with diabetes – programs that take into account Asian diets, exercise preferences and even personality traits. "Diabetes is primarily a self-managed disease, and you have to try multiple approaches with different patients. But many of those are not culturally appropriate for Asians."

QA/validation not so important at United

A screenshot from the My Itineraries page at United. I’m trying to cancel a flight. Their FAQ suggests you can do it from their site, but I had all sorts of trouble on Friday and ended up sending them an email (nicely enabled from that part of the site, with automatic form filling with my ticket number and all that good stuff). It’s 5 days later and they haven’t canceled it or otherwise responded. So now I’m in limbo. Today I went back to check what itineraries they were showing for me. And here’s what I find – button and other interface text is replaced by labels in the code, probably variable names instead of their values.

Neither the bad service nor the poor attention to detail gives me a great feeling about United.


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