Stupid websites are stupid

by Ginger on November 3, 2015

in Random

Guys, I don’t know if I’m smart enough to be unemployed. Or I guess more accurately, I don’t know if I’m smart enough to use all the horrible government websites I’ve had to use now that I’m unemployed.

Today, I was looking for an answer to one question. ONE QUESTION. It took three hours, four websites, & two calls to the help line (which isn’t where I ended up getting the answer I was looking for by the way) before I found the answer I needed buried away on some obscure page on one of those four sites that I probably couldn’t find again if I tried. Look, I get that these are government websites, but it’s 2015. There is no excuse for how bad some of this junk is. I mean seriously, did they have monkeys create these sites back in 1997 while blindfolded? Because that’s about how much sense some of the UI on these sites makes.

I think what’s especially frustrating is that these sites are supposed to be helpful to people. They’re there to serve people (and in many cases, they’re there to serve people at a not particularly awesome time in their lives, where there are lots of moving parts to figure out), and they are clearly doing a TERRIBLE job at it. And maybe that’s because they want to funnel everyone to call or come into an office (though I doubt that last one), but you shouldn’t be driving people to call you just because they’re too lost on your website! ARGGGHHH.

And here’s the thing. I’m someone who knows my way around a computer, around websites. It’s ended up being a big part of my career–I’ve worked on websites, on design, on UX/UI, on layout and flow. Beyond that, I know where stuff gets “hidden” on sites and I know how to find what I need. But it still took me three hours to find the info I needed on these sites. Just…come OOOONNNNNN. That’s insanity. And doing a real disservice to not just me, but to anyone who has to use those sites, especially those who maybe aren’t as web savvy. I mean, sure, right now I’ve got 3 hours to spend looking for the answer I needed, but I shouldn’t HAVE to spend that much time. No one should. I get annoyed at times with the homogeneous look that a lot of web design currently uses, but I’ll take same but functional over different but stupid any day of the week.

P.S. All this is making me want to redesign this blog. HA!

 

 

Jesabes November 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm

I can’t remember if you’re a podcast person! If so, you’ve probably already heard this, but I loved the Reply All episode on government websites…https://gimletmedia.com/episode/34-dmv-nation/

Alexis November 4, 2015 at 4:29 pm

If there is one thing we learned from our time with the DoD, bureaucracies that can only be navigated by those with advanced computer training, unlimited phone/internet access and scads of free time are a huge money saver for the government. The fact that people who need these services the most are the most likely to be unable to complete the paperwork nightmare…that is a feature, not a bug. Good on you for doing it, even though it is a chore. You rock!

Older mom November 5, 2015 at 2:09 am

Ditto everything you said AND ever notice that government websites are the ones most likely to have out of date Security Certificates? What is up with that???

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