Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why is searching for what you want to find so hard?

With all of the millions of bits and bytes that have been spent on discussing search and search engines, the Google and Yahoo! phenomena, etc., why is it so hard to find what you want on most newspaper sites and, really, most sites of any kind? Is it because the people who organize them don't think like the rest of us? Is it becasue they or others don't care or are lazy? I don't know.

On The New York Times website, I am repeatedly stymied when I see something in print that I want to access on the site and cannot find through search. It appears that the searchable words from articles are somebody's (or som computer's) choices and they don't start from the premisu of someone with a piece of newsprint in her or his hand and wanting to find the same online. Try it a few times and you will see what I mean.

Much more important on so many levels is the inabilty to pursue any print advertising online or to find online advertising after you have left a pages. I am not saying something as dumb as a searchable file of PDFs of print ads; no, something more creative than that. Where is the place in the NYT site where I can go to pursue the interest inthe advertiser that was prompted by its print ad? I don't know of any such place. And for online ads, I twice saw a banner this morning with this in it "see how easy online printing really is", but I did not catch the advertiser and I did not click. How do I find what that was?? I know of no way to do this and it's as though the people organizing this at the Times and beyond never expect someone to see the ad and actually be interested in it, but maybe a few seconds after seeing it. Astounding notion!

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