[thelist] Really bad design from an organisation that should know better

Ben Henick persist1_pdx at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 14 03:03:36 CDT 2000

--- Erika Meyer <erika at seastorm.com> wrote:
> Though I'm not sure what you really mean by 'artist.'  Almost 
> anything could be an art, couldn't it?  Even web design?  Or???

I shan't go into my deeper thoughts here, but I do want to say that I
find Web-building to be perhaps the most interdisciplinary endeavor
going these days.  'Course, I'm probably preaching to the choir when I
point that out in this forum.

I *do* wish that higher-ups would figure that out, though.

> Speaking for academia, they are always worried about funding, and 
> most universities seem chronically underfunded in the web department.

I don't think I've ever heard of a department (or a whole school, for
that matter) get a budget of more than four figures yearly to devote to
their external Web site.  As for the Webmasters, they're all paid out
of IS budgets, and individual departments are left on their own... I'm
sure there are exceptions to the scenaria I've suggested, but I've not
heard of any personally.

> The PR offices  in many universities still haven't been able to deal 
> with the WWW fully, perhaps because the academic higher ups have not 
> been too quick to recognize the value of the web, nor the investment 
> required to do it well.

Another thing that's really gotten pounding in my experience has been
the dreaded PEER REVIEW.  I know that in the case of my father (a
tenured American History professor at a four-year school in San Diego)
his colleagues are far more concerned (and overprotective) about the
reflection the Web site has on them.  No matter that a useful and
catchy departmental site can provide a boost in enrollment, thus
visibility, thus funding (lather, rinse, repeat)...

> At lower levels, where stuff has to happen, the academic POV often 
> is: 'The young 'uns know this computer stuff.  Let's have a student 
> design our site for work-study money!'  (or better yet, for free! 
> They can turn it in for a 'class project.')

Or, a quote from my father:  "It's far more impressive if you PRINT IT
OUT and *then* submit it."  Arrrrrgggghhh!!!

> Hows this for scary: a university art department site which was 
> developed as a series of student projects?)
> http://www.humboldt.edu/~artdept/


Ben Henick              |  "In the long run, men hit only
Web Author At-Large     |  what they aim at.  Therefore,
www.io.com/persist1/    |  though they should fail
persist1 at io.com         |  immediately, they had better aim
persist1_pdx at yahoo.com  |  high."  --Henry David Thoreau

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