Mark Bernstein thinks we are saying the web sucks. Er, well..
I love the web, and think it is wonderful. I can’t imagine how I lived without it– how did I figure out how to make tomato soup? Or figure out what the name of that guy In Green Mile and Charlie’s Angel’s was? Or keep track of my bank account? Or find new fiction?
But there are one heck of a lot of bad websites out there. When I was writing my book, I was looking for a good example of a ecommerce store that sold only music (I was looking for taxonomies of music). I went through a directory flipping through store after store, stunned at how ugly and unusable they were. I had gotten a bit complacent– all the sites I use on a regular basis are great (IMBD), or pretty darn good (Wells Fargo Banking). But the grand mass of *professional* sites are lousy.
I’m not even including the sites built by hobbyists, families and diarists. These are small busines sites whose equivalent is a store in the mall, or on main street in a small town– but they don’t even meet that standard. You can’t find anything on these sites, they are ugly as nobody’s business and check out is often impossible to accomplish– if you dare it after taking a look around. It’s more like a old barn turned junk store you find on a lonely country road… you dig through spiderweb covered junk, and if you do find something that catches your eye, you pay in cash because the cross-eyed KKK-T-shirt wearing drooling kook at the register looks like he’d eat your credit card as likely as process it.
When you are a professional site, there is a baseline of quality you need to do business. While the web is delightful, I would say many denizens are far from reaching that baseline. This is a multipart problem, in which IA is not the solution, but a piece of the solution, which includes excellent design, copywriting, technology and more….