Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Let's hear it for the girls

In the past 10 issues of A List Apart, 17 authors have been featured (not counting 2 articles penned by “ALA Staff”). Of these, 8 have been women. I'm not sure if that's due to a conscience effort on the part of ALA to pick up the slack on the (perceived) gender bias in the industry or not. Either way, I think it's pretty cool. I know some of these ladies better than others, but they seem just as knowledgeable and respectable as their male counterparts and I'm glad to see them getting some exposure.

Not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. And hand mine up to me while you're down there.

In mildly related news, Happy Cog, the design firm founded in part by ALA founder Jeffrey Zeldman, recently launched a redesign for Books-A-Million. I was a lowly cashier / customer service agent at a Books-A-Million store for about a year following my marriage and move to Knoxville (now one of my least favorite places on Earth). This was 2001-2002 and even by the standards of the day their site had some issues, particularly in usability. At the time, it seemed the corporate culture was pretty clueless about technology. Everything from the way inventory was managed to the point of sale system to the tech books we carried on the shelves seemed to showcase this. Maybe that culture has shifted in the past 7 years. Then again, somewhere between delivery (at which point design studios lose control of their creations) and launch on the BAM servers, over 800 markup errors have cropped up in the home page alone. So maybe they're still just throwing money at their problems without taking the time to understand them. However, Happy Cog's case study of the work makes it sound like BAM had a lot more of the legwork done than most client would on a project like this. Obviously a few people in the organization “get it”. Here's hoping they can lead the company in the proper direction.

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