What's Your problem?

Tom pointed to What's Your problem?, in which Mark Bernstein observes that a lot of IAs say that most web sites suck and that "Trying to establish a profession on the foundation of a myth is, I think, a tactical error."

    I've been reading a lot of Information Architecture lately, and one idea is weirdly pervasive -- the notion that most Web sites are bad. Everywhere you look in the literature, you see warnings about unusable sites, idiotic sites, disorganized and chaotic sites. Sites that suck.

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oh boy do i disagree. people

oh boy do i disagree. people blame themselves when they can't get websites to work: spend ten minutes in a usability testing lab and you'll see this.

and that's unacceptable.

mark is part of the l33t - what we used to call a power user. as are many of us. the web doesn't suck for us because we're able to figure out workarounds. many, many people cannot.

Of course, I disagree as well

Of course, I disagree as well, which is why I posted this here.


I think it's more a backlash against the hyperbole of commentary - of course no site is perfect, we can accept that without question, but that doesn't necessarily imply that all sites "suck", are developed by "ego maniacs", or are "idiotic".

Another angle is that "most" sites actually go by without commentary - it's the truly terrible ones which actually do suck, developed by ego maniacs, and are idiotic; those are the ones which actually get discussed and dissed, casting a pall over the entire field. It's this extrapolation which Mark is taking exception with.

Having said that, the other end of the spectrum is sadly under-populated. Mark has a point - a better tactical plan is to celebrate what few successes there are out there, to highlight the exemplars, to increase awareness of what great design looks/feels like. It's a rising tide that raises all vessels - not just the truly excreble sucky sites, but also the wide morass of mediocre sites that occupy the centre of the spectrum.

another anonymous coward!

Sure, many sites suck and yay, fantastic for us all if we can make a living making the web and the rest of the world better. Yay for us!

I think the take-away thought from this worth looking at, however, is that so many of us are so caught up in complaining and only complaining. Whether or not it's an accurate assessment, we're perceived by non-IAs as complainers. And that's our fault for not being aware of how we're perceived, and our fault for not doing what it takes to look at the situation (learn as much as we can about business, marketing and design) and see how we can change it (provide real value for clients/employers with better products that cost less and have a greater impact).

It's up to the professional associaiton (AIFIAISALOMARWHATEVR), if it has the loudest voice, to acknowledge this issue and work to change that perception...or to further the perception.

my two cents

are here http://www.eleganthack.com/archives/003112.html#003112

in any case, we should all remember sturgeon's law: 90% of everything sucks.

I suspect he was an optimist.

Conversation thievery

ChristinaBox, why are you pointing the conversation over to your blog? We're talking here. Converse here. We like you. Speak here.