dream projects

I have a little list of websites I dream about fixing. The top two are: 1. Netflix: Everything […]

I have a little list of websites I dream about fixing. The top two are:

1. Netflix: Everything that is wrong with them is stuff I love and understand: their IA is horrible, and the interaction desing for the queue is a really attractive problem of scaling design.

2. Via Michelin: A wonderful print product that hasn’t quite figured out the web. It could be the single resource for European travel.

Both are sites whose product I love, and whose problems seem more than skin deep: from a glance I’d say both are free from interface politics and have excellent visual desingers, and are missing the IA/ID understanding.

Wells Fargo just came off the list (it’s gotten way better in the last few years), Travelocity is on the maybe pile (it does show signs of interface politics), almost all wine sites are definates (’cause the are both cute and broken and sell stuff I like), and as temptingly broken as the Sprint website is, I fear it. The interface politics look like chasms as big as the grand canyon.

What broken experience would you love to fix?


Add Yours
  1. 1

    I would like to redo a lot of non-profit sites to help them find audiences outside of the people who physically find them. Most sites don’t take advantage of the “physical-less-ness” of the medium and the wide reach. Archives, learning tools, exta information, email marketing landing pages, signups, newsletters, membership…

    I definitely agree with the NetFlix experience. I liked the previous design because “my account” was so easy to find. Today I just accept it for what it’s worth because I set up a que of 60+ movies and just wait. It’s fun just sitting there wondering which movie came in. How I would like a “randomize my list” feature to spice things up.

  2. 2

    re: Netflix, I wonder about their logs. Do people browse much, or is the desire sparked offline, then they search online, add to queue, and sort? Dunno. But that queue is a good problem. Someone somewhere has to make drag and drop accessible to the masses, and that queue is the opportunity.

  3. 3

    I search on different movie sites to find movies, and then go to Netflix to add them. I don’t find it easy to browse Netflix.

    And doesn’t the queue randomize by default? Seems like every time i have a movie i’m looking forward to next in line, suddenly the availabilty goes from “now” to “long wait” and I get some unexpected movie further down the list.

  4. 4
    Brett Lider

    Amazon – ‘cuz knowing the title or author shouldn’t be the only way to buy books. One could consider all their collaborative filtering technology to be a band-aid on top of their ineffective browse functionality.

    Any product-based e-commerce site – because I have yet to see one that really, really rocked: exploiting all of what is known to make e-commerce better. It might be straight-forward, but I still would like this type of put-all-the-pieces-together project.

    A complicated itinerary builder for a travel site. Take this simple scenario and imagine trying to do it on any of the big three travel sites: Girl travels to city X Wed-Sun for work and fun. Boy joins her on Fri night because he has to work that week. But Boy and Girl want to take the same flight home and sit next to one another… Time to call the travel agent.

  5. 5
    Lyle Kantrovich

    Yahoo’s Launchcast

    Great site/service, but missing a number of things that music lovers could use and that Y! could make $$ from (I think). E.g. a wish list to add new music to when the service recommended something you liked. Also a persistent “cart” that you can take to an online retailer. I’ve got about 20 other ideas for them as well…

    Being a music junkie and ex-DJ also means this site would be more fun and interesting for me to work on as a “dream project.”

  6. 6
    daniel harvey

    Friendster, Amazon, Yahoo. The company I work for is in the process of working with one of those sites so I’m confident at least one of them will see some improvement in the user experience.

  7. 7

    I would like to see less “solution-based” content and structure on the web. That’s my pet peeve right now. It’s almost impossible to figure out what a company sells anymore. The words that are used to describe these “solutions” are so flexibile, configurable, and scalable that it’s hard to figure out if you’re buying a brick, a book, or a coconut.

    Also, if you are tired of Netflix, try GreenCine. They have some excellent features, cult films, and a lively community that produces lots of lists that help you figure out what to put on your queue.

  8. 8

    I was thinking about this a lot and then last night had an occasion to be dealing with my stock options at Etrade. This site is terrible. The Corporate OptionsLink site is linked up with the Brokerage site in very obtuse ways and trying to find out where my money was turned out to be next to impossible. I kept getting screens telling me to link accounts – which I already done when I started at AOL. The interaction of this site should be flawless – this is my money afterall and I should be able to find it, move it and do other things with it without yelling at the computer for an hour and pulling my hair out.

    There is a great opportunity here for a redesign and improvement.

    On another not – the Fidelity site isn’t super great either – but I can get around much easier and can find my money there.

  9. 9

    CiteSeer. Do a search, find a document, plus you get to see a list of all the papers that reference that same document. You can then download the document that you originally selected or follow the citations and download one of those.

    The goal is to get a paper to read, of course. However, it took me a while when I first used it to figure out how to download one since that link was crammed in to the upper right-hand corner of the page. The part of their technology that they’re most proud of, citation indexing, takes precedence in the visual hierarchy of the page. It’s as if amazon let the “people who also bought” dominate the page and obscured that “buy” button.

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