March 26, 2003
Survey : Making your site suck more does not generate traffic

I have to take issue with my esteemed colleague Just's opinion on the new design of Just likes it. I don't. my parameters for judgement: 1. No interesting news in the content. 2. The new site is S*L*O*W compared to the old one. And due to the way it's done the page hasn't loaded properly until ALL the crap is loaded, so you cant start news browsing until you have waited for a very long time.
I haven't seen such a poor relaunch in terms of performance since decided to destroy their website a while back, by making it a ten click instead of a 1-click operation to locate a map to some location. Among other much used but very sucking services: TDC's phone directory. First of all - even when you're explicitly looking for directory service you are redirected to the yellow pages. THAT SUCKS VERY MUCH! It's just about as annoying as spam. Second of all, the page has the same problems as Embedded script necessary to navigate from yellow pages to directory listing fail to load if you don't wait for all possible crap to load and again you have to wait a lot. Sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks!

BUT, I know that all you graphic-ponys like the information I don't use conveyed in the 'nice look' of these sites and you take issue with Jakob Nielsens strict 'the text is only the words on the page' view of webpages, and that you all feel that the look conveys information as well and of course you have a point (heck, even Google are using the rendered form of hyperlinks to enhance their page ranking algorithms by increasing the score for boldfaced links that stand out on the page). It's just that there is absolutely no way anything but the name and address entry fields of the phone directory are helping me find that phone number in any way, shape or form. That particular action is information redux - a pure memory prosthetic. Just the digits, please.
Google - as we all know - gets the idea of the memory prosthetic. Speed and simplicity of application is of the essence for the use of Google to look up a lot of stuff we actually already know. Since Google runs so fast, it is a viable replacement for keeping your own favorite links around, in some cases it is even a viable alternative to DNS lookups. The operative concept here is Michael Polanyis tacit knowledge. You really don't want to spend time thinking about how you recover information. The latency in recovery completely kills the value of the information, since information is hardly ever the end but always the means towards an end, and if you have a high latence along some information recovery path you're just not going to use that path.

Posted by Claus at March 26, 2003 02:08 AM
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