[thelist] whatis.com redesigned into uselessness.

Martin martin at members.evolt.org
Sat Aug 19 07:09:04 CDT 2000

rudy limeback wrote on 18/8/00 7:27 pm

>> Anyone who does this kind of a radical redesign of the 
>> content and the usability to a content site deserves the wrath of users.
>i too sent a long list of complaints yesterday
>today, i got two replies, one from a marketing manager at techtarget
>and the other reply was from the guy who created whatis.com 
>quite an interesting difference in tone, eh?
True, but one was an 'official' reply. Not very cluetrain-ish, but
hardly surprising. At least they had the same essential message.

>he also asked about content management systems (expressing doubt that they 
>would switch from vignette at this point) 
If you need a sizeable CMS (and unless they have some *really* 
future plans, I don't think they do), then Vignette is a fairly sensible 
to go... apart from the mad URLs.

>so in my reply back to him, i 
>pointed him to martin's article http://evolt.org/index.cfm?menu=8&cid=1449 
That's another pint I owe you.

Do you think they could use/would buy some consultancy?

>one of the remarks he made about vignette was that techtarget chose 
>vignette "because
>ZDNet and similar companies use it and because, as with any new startup, 
>there's a need to ramp up quickly"
According to Vignette, average time from signing the contract to having
a working system is 90 days. That's not 'quickly' for a site as simple
as whatis.
><rant type="the insanity never ends">
>the company i work for made a similar decision this week, using a 
>committee of twenty mostly IT people (i was excluded -- sniff) to settle 
>on using office 2000 as the company's new standard web publishing tool, 
>specifically a consulting-company-written custom front-end content 
>management system interfacing office 2000 to a site server backend...  the 
>scuttlebutt says one of the strong selling points was the live demo (and 
>we all know what that means)...  now "ordinary people" will be able to 
>publish to the intranet, using tools like word and excel and powerpoint 
>that they're already comfortable with... thank god they decided to 
>terminate me later this year, i really don't think i would want to keep 
>working here, and to have them pay me to leave, well, that just seems like 
>a nice bonus...

<dummy mode>
Hey, it's produced by Microsoft - it *must* be good
</dummy mode>
Almost every sizable CMS out there will allow updates from (at
least) Word. Even if it's fundamentally inappropriate. 

What many people don't realise is that tools produced for a purpose
will tend to force you into working to that purpose. Word is fundamentally
designed for print use. If users use Word to update web pages, they will
expect it to work as it does coming out of a laser printer. And it won't
(although it will be closer if you're using Win/IE).

This is why the suits at Quark & Adobe who put Web export options
into Xpress & PageMaker/inDesign should be taken out and shot.

At least this week I got FrontPage connectivity removed as a mandatory 
for the CMS we're sourcing at the moment.

>of course, what everybody forgets is that it isn't about the technology, 
>it's about the content
+1 - technology is merely a facilitating tool.


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