Thursday September 22, 2005

Who's afraid of historic preservation?

“The older I get the more I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology,” said Mencken, and we’re starting to admire him for it. We agree, in particular, as it pertains to web sites. Franklin had a strong hand in the design of the new dorsch site. And while it’s much more generic in apperance then the previous site, it’s easily navigable and useful. So, mission accomplished. That much cannot be said of many web sites with much much higher budgets. Alfredo Triff recently took a few local museums’ sites for a spin, and was pretty forgiving when, for example, the navigation system of the MAM website failed to work (to this date, the site still trips at resolutions other than 800 pixels wide).

Bad enough, but god save us from the City of Miami: Historic Preservation web site. Upon arival, the 3d-viwefinder wheel graphic serves to inform us of little more then that we’ve arrived at a sit upon which lots of money has been spent. Nothing in particular tells us what we should expect, or where we should click. The first item on the menu reads “Sites & Districts,” so let’s give that a shot. Nope . . . that link takes us to a 4×4 grid of colored rectangles that have no apparent meaning, and cannot be clicked. Study this page long enough, and you might notice a link to a “map” along the left margin. If you click it (and if you have flash) you’ll see a map with a detail area around downtown. Clicking that will take you to possibly the most “useful” page on the site (3 combinations of fairly well hidden clicks later; kind of like beating a bycicle lock), a poor map of downtown and area where “sites” are indicated by light green squares on an orange background.

While you’re at it, check out this useless page, where some of the “links” go to a No listing at this time message, some link to one item, and none give any useful information other then “name.” Also note that 180 pixels is the largest image this site thinks you’ll ever need to see. Also note, for example, the Art Deco page, which does everything but let you link to all the art deco projects on the site (check it: their first “example” links to a 404 error!!). We’ve been around the block, and seen our share of less-then-useful sites. This one is our blue-ribbon winner, though.

comments powered by Disqus
  1. Alfredo Triff    Tue Sep 27, 08:40 AM #  

    Well… my issue with their site was more conceptual than technical (and that was hardly forgiving).