July 18, 2003

More Political Fun from the White House

To e-mail Bush, follow instructions to the letter

Basically, the White House has made it harder to get an e-mail to the president; it's a new, form-based, choose-the-topic-from-the-list format.

Jimmy Orr, a White House spokesman, described the system as an "enhancement" aimed at improving communications.

...Some Internet usability experts think the new method for sending messages is not doing much to enhance communications between the White House and the public.

"Overall it's a very cumbersome process," said Jakob Nielsen, an authority on Web design who helps run a consulting group, Nielsen Norman Group, in Fremont, Calif. "It's probably designed deliberately to cut down on their e-mail."
The various categories for describing a message's subject is also a big muddle, he said.
"One of the categories is National ID Card," he said. "Does it mean you're in favor of National ID or in favor of the president's position, which it doesn't describe?"
He said he particularly disliked being forced to specify whether he was offering a "supporting comment" or a "differing opinion" to Bush.

"Can't I just say something or ask a question?" he said.

Matzzie was also upset that none of the many categories listed included either "unemployment" or "jobs."

"This is the most ridiculous Web form for contacting someone I have ever seen," said Matzzie, who is a professional Web site designer and an online organizer for the labor organization.

Really, if you're going to be this blantant about ignoring the public, Mr. President, don't insult our intelligence by saying it's to communicate with us better.

Posted by Ted Stevko at July 18, 2003 05:34 PM