The Lords of Vendorbation -

I have just started working in a very large multinational organisation (60k+ employees), having previously worked in a 4 staff micro SME. I am shocked at the amount of money wasted on systems with such poor quality web based interfaces that no-one seems to be able to use them properly. No thought is given to the user interface and usability of a system, as long as it somehow meets the functional requirements. Apparently they don’t include being able to finish a task in the system without phoning the helpdesk.

I now know how spoiled the world of freelancers and SMEs is when it comes the quality of the software used. I consider it a real privilege to have used tools such as Basecamp or WordPress when I look at the festering piles of sh*t that are now forced upon me.

And that is the crux of the matter. I have no choice so there is no incentive for the provider to produce something usable. It’s something I remember Nielsen writing about probably more than a decade about: most menuing systems in gadgets are so poor because once you’ve bought the gadget you’re locked in. Whereas on the web if you can’t use something, you go somewhere else.

We now have the exception that proves that rule: Websites that are forced up on you due to a choice you can’t easily reverse are universally crap. Examples include your child’s school’s website and your employer’s intranet.

- Robin, commenter, Lords of Vendorbation