Jump Ship!

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Overcrowded homepages remind me of Titanic. I don't want to be there. I want to leave as soon as possible. Or go back in time so that I'm at Google again and can board another, better looking page. Krug does a good job illustrating how this comes about and how to fix it. A welcome blurb and tagline are good ideas for my homepage. I just wish I knew how to make that look professional.

I did think there was an Average User before I read Chapter 8 also. To me, it just seemed there had to be some similiar pattern to most people. Anything can be proven with research, right? But, I see how an Average User just cannot be. Certain things work with certain sites when done well. 

I look forward to the next chapter, helping me learn usability testing. All his information has been short and concise, but I really want to start learning what I don't know consciously and unconsciously. That would be the testing.

Can anyone explain to me the Web crash of 2001 that destroyed these sites?

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Sure.... I was looking for an opportunity to talk about the great Dot-com meltdown.
I blogged about it a few years ago...

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/weblog/permalink/2784/

Briefly, in the late 90s, people with a lot of money but no knowledge of the internet made a lot of risky, sometimes silly, decisions, often giving millions of dollars to clever geeks with great ideas for doing cool stuff, but nobody had a real business plan. The basic idea at that time was to get the attention of a lot of internet users by giving away lots of cool stuff (articles written by high-profile writers, storage space, computer expertise, etc.), in the hopes of building loyalty, then eventually figuring out how to get money from the people who had become addicted to your site. Since one company was often giving away for free the very thing that another company was trying to sell, the web at that time gave away a huge amount of stuff, and the only people making money were the geniuses who would sell their companies to other investors... it was phantom wealth, driving up the salaries of dot-com executives and HTML code-slaves alike, but the only dependable source of revenue was the deep-pocketed investors who kept giving money to the CEOS (who spent the money anyway they could, often knowing that the company was destined to fail).

Around this time, Time Warner (the huge media company) bought America Online, and briefly changed its name to "AOL Time Warner," on the belief that AOL would become more valuable than all the other Time-Warner products (HBO & Cinemax, CNN, The Cartoon Network, NASCAR, Sports Illustrated, People.. the list goes on). I think you know how that one turned out.

Eventually, in 2000 and 2001, the venture capitalists stopped pouring money into untested web ideas, and companies who ran through their savings without finding a sustainable income started folding left and right.

Even companies that didn't fold suffered... at one point during the "dot-com boom", Yahoo! was worth $128 a share, but at the end it was down to $4. In the aftermath, lots of web programmers were out of work, which led to a big drop in the number of people taking computer science degrees in America (and may have contributed to the current trend for outsourcing tech support jobs to foreign countries).

Aja Hannah said:

I don't follow AOL, but I'm assuming because it's not called "Time-Warner" anymore it died too. Does Time-Warner still exist? I think so, seeing as Cartoon Network exists. Am I right?

I also heard trying to make any kind of money on the internet is like phantom money because there are so many free sites and how do yo calculate how much a site makes (aside from buying and selling) or is worth. By number of clicks?

Does Amazon.com get any money by letting others sell products?

Jed Fetterman said:

I can tell you what I do not think looks professional. I absolutely hate the "Yahoo-style directory" that Krug describes for the one website. I can never tell if the links have anything to do with the website and they never seem to fit in. That is the only real pet peeve that I have when I am on the internet.

KevinHinton said:

Have you ever rode in a car with a person who read every billboard on the highway? You probably would be annoyed but you would know what kind of restaurant is located in the next exit. That is the purpose of the homepage, to remind you what the in the world you are doing or going to do on that website.

Aja Hannah said:

I agree with you Jed. When I come across any page like that I automatically assume, it's unprofessional and a bunch of advertisements. I never waste my time on a site like that (unless I have to for schol). I always click the go back button and google something else that looks better.

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