December 22, 2003 | View Comments (20) | simpl(e)y done different

Being a new company we are always looking for opportunities to add credibility to our name. A good way to do this is to join professional associations to add some legitimacy to what you do. With this in mind we wanted to join the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture. However, when we went to the signup page we were nothing but confused. How a professional association could let an important page get away with this was beyond us, but we wanted to join it so we decided we would make some changes and maybe they will catch on. jandrugs.com

One-half of what?

We love to see forms that inform us what part of the process we are on. AIfIA attempted to do this by telling us that we were on the "1/2" page. This could either mean "1 of 2" or "one-half". Why not just call it "1 of 2" so that it kills all confusion. This is an international audience they are aiming for, so the simpler the better sometimes.

Useless content

AIfIA is a non-profit organization that supports the global information architecture community.

Why that is even included on the signup page is beyond us. If users were going to signup wouldn't they already know what the organization is about? So we would just cut out the information as it does nothing to help the page.

Who am I?

They have divided their membership types into three categories: student, professional, and organization. Since we are all three what type do we signup for? What are the differences between them? We would like to know this before we signup so that we believe we are making the right choice.

Payment time

Whenever we visit a site that wants our money we are always curious to how we can pay them. We love online check processing or paypal. Fortunately, AIfIA accepts paypal, but you have to read the paragraph to figure that out. It does not jump out at you like it should. An easy fix that could make a huge difference between making the sale or not.

Our version

simpl(e)y done AIfIA.

No big design changes as you can see. We merely did some usability things along with other small changes. It just goes to show that you don't need to redesign a page to make it better. AIfIA had the right idea with the original page, but fell just short or making it useful for an international audience.

Oh and we made it XHTML 1.1 just for kicks. Now maybe we can get a free membership.

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Thanks for the time & attention--there are some great suggestions here. AIfIA is a volunteer organization, and as such it can take us a while to incorporate improvements, but we're always gathering input. Over the past couple months we put together a team to redesign the aifia.org site; the team is made up of students at the University of Michigan School of Information and AIfIA members. If there is anyone from simpleydone who would like to volunteer for the project, please let me know, as we could use additional volunteers. The project is slated to begin the first week in January and we're hoping to launch the redesigned site in June.

-Samantha Bailey

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Count us in.

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