Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Web CMS: Slogging Through Mud Part II

At the Raleigh Durham Web Design Meetup I mentioned the feeling of general malaise I get when working with Web interfaces. A meeting visitor commented that often he has observed this was due to a mismatch of skill level to the task at hand.

I've heard that before more than a few times. It is sometimes, but not always, a suggestion that the person making the complaint is not proficient. I object to that suggestion, first, because it did not take me very long to get the task done, and second, but more importantly, because it is on its face obvious that most computer interfaces suck. Unfortunately, many people inappropriately attribute their own poor performance internally, on themselves, instead of the sucky Web interfaces.

W. Edwards Demming pointed out that preaching and chiding workers for job performance is counterproductive when they have no control over the system under which they labor. Most people don't have the skills I have to hack code, and are forced to labor with Web CMS systems that get more craptastic with each new release. The situation was not entirely unavoidable, and that is the source of my irritation.

One more thing: we also have Web geeks who will willingly, and IMHO unethically, foist upon an unsuspecting client a one-of Web application project, which the client all too often is ill-prepared to maintain and operate. That's like selling a cedar shingle roof to a homeowner but omitting the fact that the roof will need to be cleaned and treated every year by the installer, to avoid catastrophic failure. I'm irritated because many Web CMS's are designed as cedar shingle roofs.

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