Readers and my most sarcastic fans know my reluctance to blandly use the “Web 2.0” word, but bear with me– the decimals don’t matter, what I struggle with is the ratio issue.
Daily I interact, participate, create, dwell, explore in this place of “folksonomic social networked connective reading/writingWeb 2.0-ish world” — yet I work in a large organization that feels mostly around Web 0.75.
One of my peeves is the pervasive use of email as a sole communication means. What I am referring to as almost daily, there are 4 or 5 fully formatted HTML, graphic laden emails about various events and programs in our college system, and there is no corresponding related information on our colleges’ web sites. That means the only content “repository” is the inbox, which has no legacy record, no memory, no search. Our lack of a coordinated event calendaring system (beyond the clunky one to use for foisting meetings on people) means the lowest common denominator, event email spamming. A successful communication strategy ought to connect web site information, email as notification (heck, do you think RSS is on any radars around here?), and yes, sometimes even print.
And our use of web based systems, is sometimes painful. In a recent job hiring, a candidate’s application via our “online form” was not recognized correctly because they had entered a SSN without using the hyphens. Who has time for usability testing, if it makes sense to a programmer?
More. We were recently asked (by email) to complete a Trip Reduction Survey (this is done by our county to collect information on how few/many people use things like car pools, alternative travel modes, etc). These are the instructions:
By law all employees must complete an annual Trip Reduction Survey. It will only take 5 minutes of your time. Copy the link below and open it in Internet Explorer. We need all employees to participate so please ask your fellow coworkers to do so. The information used from these surveys will benefit students & employees by providing information that will enable the county and ValleyMetro to create better routes to serve high traffic areas, like our campuses.
USE INTERNET EXPLORER
Once you reach the site you will need to enter DO’s code: xxxxxxx
That is correct. A simple 8 item survey uses a technology that requires a specific web browser. And yes, I tried, it certainly ASP-barfed on FireFox.
I was not the only one scratching my head, as there was a follow-up:
You have all received the Trip Reduction Survey link by now and I have received several questions.
Let me reiterate:
PLEASE COPY THE ADDRESS BELOW AND PASTE IT INTO INTERNET EXPLORER — NOT NETSCAPE.
Now, this is a bit unfair on our organization, as the survey is actually created and posted on a county government web site. So maybe the county’s Web Decimal is down near 0.6 or lower. How can a public service government entity, charged with serving all, exploit such hokey, stone age web tools to require a specific web browser?
Now I know it takes large organizations, large amounts of time to change, but it does not happen on its own. It takes drive from the bottom and the top. I’ve been in contact with a neighboring education institution, and their CIO’s email footer has a link to a WordPress blog which links to a wiki for their technology plan.
So tag and feed and blog and wiki and podcast this… I’ve got some glitzy event emails to comb through. What’s your ratio?