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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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Sender: "ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: "John S. Rhodes" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 12:50:59 -0500
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Reply-To: "John S. Rhodes" <[log in to unmask]>
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There have been several questions asked about the Web site I mentioned in my
posting yesterday about the severe lack of user feedback, even with a site
that has incredible usability problems. Here are some details:

1. The 100%, completely original site is gone. There were originally 3 pages
(the index and two complimentary pages). I only have 1 page up now, however,
my report to you was based on that single index page.

2. Before you visit the page, I must warn you. I *deliberately* built in
problems, such as the broken images. I spelled things wrong, the navigation
is extremely poor (there really isn't any), and I have many irrelevant
links. (In part, these things were done to see how bad a site could be
before feedback would be sent.) The results, as I have stated, are remarkable.

3. The "site" (page, actually) is called CARS CARS CARS -- for people
looking for "the best information about automobiles". Here is another
warning: I am an affiliate of most of the programs I link to on the page.
This doesn't mean too much really -- I just want to be extremely open with
you about the purpose and nature of the site. It is an experiment in many
ways. I've been investigating the usability of affiliate programs too, but
that is another story.

4. The site is on a free server (through Virtual Ave); it is not on my site. However, you can see the page statistics for yourself by
clicking on the (non-broken) image at the bottom of the page.

Now that you have been properly forewarned, here is the URL:

I hope this clears up any questions about the site, its purpose, and the
nature of the informal study. I would be interested in working with someone
(or some people) on this. I think we could very easily develop a formal
usability experiment from this point (e.g., using different content,
different levels and types of problems, etc.).

- John

p.s. One more fact to chew on: I have a link to the CARS CARS CARS site from, my site dedicated to Internet usability. Thus, these users are
*interested* in usability problems. Many have read my columns, and expert
interviews. They know about usability, at least more than the average bear.
Still, even from these *informed* users, I did not get any user feedback
(e.g., "You have 3 broken links on your site!"). In my opinion, this is both
stunning and scary.

  John S. Rhodes  **  mailto:[log in to unmask]  **
   Usability Professional, Internet Strategist, Information Architect
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