Web design 'causes confusion'

This BBC article comes to the shocking conclusion that:

People don't remember websites the way web designers think about it ... designers should organise information on websites in categories that are obvious to users.

I don't mean to be rude, but this sounds like a study conducted by the Center For Figuring Out Really Obvious Things. I'm sure it's a fine study, but it's certainly not news. John Rhodes' has written about Perceived Information Architecture, described a Perceived Information Architecture Test, and even posted feedback about a Perceived Information Architecture test run by (gasp) the BBC themselves. (Of course, John wasn't the first person to come up with the idea of seeing how users thought sites were organized nor the first to suggest that sites should be organized according to the way users think. But I do give credit where it's due...)

Information Architects and most people working on the web have known this for a while, and it's kind of disheartening that the BBC only picks up on it when it's a “study” conducted by a university. (At first I thought that maybe the BBC picked up on a SURL newsletter report, but then I realized that SURL is at Wichita State University, while this study was run by the Department of Psychology at Kansas State University. Kansas — hotbed of usability research!)

While it's nice that something like this appears in a “mainstream” publication like the BBC, it makes it seem like the only way this would have ever been found out is because they conducted “a study.” Maybe we should start calling usability tests “studies” and then people will take them more seriously.

I don't mean to rag on Kansas State, since, from their website, it seems like they have a pretty good focus on HCI and human factors. I guess it's one of those things where some publicity is better than no publicity.