Ark Group Reviews "The Website Manager's Handbook" UK Knowledge Management & Intranet journal "Inside Knowledge" (published by ArkGroup) has published a positive review of the "The Website Manager's Handbook" in this month's issue. The logo of Inside Knowledge. Copyright Inside KnowledgeThe editor (Graeme Burton) describes it as "...a sound, all-round framework that will help many organisations, either to benchmark their own website-management systems, or to establish a better management structure, regardless of the strategic use that they make of the web." Read more at (registration required)

When Google translation goes hilariously wrong

I augur you one good permanence!
Recently, myself and my brothers travelled to Sardinia for a cycling holiday. During our visit we stayed in a small, family-run hotel in the northern city of Alghero.
While the accommodation was of a high standard, we were left both baffled and amused by an English translation of the house-rules pinned to the bedroom doors.
Can you make any sense of this?
The hilarious house rules from a Sardinian hotel
"Kindly, verified the corrected closing of the taps of the water, and the points light it is by day, it is of night"
"We pray you not to insert the key in an inner part of the toppa of the main door of the house, neither the soprastante manual block the same one"
As well as being hilariously funny, this also has a serious point. It shows what could happen to your website if you put too much faith in an online translation tool.
(Names and telephone numbers have be obscured to protect reputations.)
Local Boys Done Good Logo of Statcounter.comFor some time I have been using Statcounter to monitor traffic and activity on this site. Statcounter is an easy to use and comprehensive Website Analytics tool. Best of all it is free! Only yesterday did I discover that it is an Irish company. In fact, it is located just down the road from where I work. Statcounter was started 5 years ago by two students and has since grown massively. It now has a worldwide customer base of over 1.3 million sites. Fair play to you lads!
Pain, suffering and...some tough love The comments on ALA about the article "Educate your stakeholders" indicate that however hard we try to equip clients with the knowledge they need to make good decisions - often just don't care. Why? Well, some clients are just not ready to listen. They need to learn from their mistakes before they will give us their attention. However, if we can give them a glimpse of the horrible future that waits them (if they ignore us), perhaps this will encourage their attention? One way to do this is to put a price on their ignorance. That is, tell them: "You can ignore me if you like. But if you do, you may miss something important. That creates the risk that you will do something stupid, e.g. use inappropriate technology, forget about the law. Such risks can usually be translated into a financial loss of some kind, e.g. legal penalties, lost revenue. So, now I am going to give you a glimpse of such a future, in which you fail to consider the necessary web decision factors. It may scare you! While I admit that the risks/costs associated with some factors are worse than others - if you aren't familiar with them, how will you know which to concentrate on? Now, do you still want to ignore me?"

My Article "Educate Your Stakeholders" is published on

The logo of A List Apart

I am delighted to report that the respected design journal has accepted an article of mine for publication in the latest issue, No.237.

"Who decides what’s best for a website? Highly skilled professionals who work with the site’s users and serve as their advocates? Or schmucks with money? Most often, it’s the latter. That’s why a web designer’s first job is to educate the people who hold the purse strings." Read this article in full on

Many thanks to Erin Kissane at Happy Cog and my brother, Ronan Diffily, for their useful pre-publication advice.

You may also wish to read "How to Plan Manpower on a Web Team" which was published on ALA in 2006.

Web 2.0 Trough of Disillusionment Gartner Research Inc has a great technique for explaining the process by which new ideas and technologies are adopted. It is called the Hype Cycle. We seem now to be entering the 'Trough of Disillusionment' with regard to the Social Networking side of Web 2.0. Yet, I am willing to bet that (after a 'taking of stock' and a 'back to basics' campaign) the debate will end up where it began. That Social Networking, User Generated Content, Blogs, etc, are useful web features within certain, but not all, circumstances.
Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Traits in the Struggle for Life (on the Web) Peter Merholz has given his view about how the web is evolving. The most interesting of the 3 trends he identifies is that "the web is moving away from big 'sites' with lots of 'pages', towards applications with interfaces". This seems to reflect the fact that people are now happy to use the internet in a much broader way than heretofore. Not only is the web seen as an information repository (for news, books, articles), it is used as a genuine lifestyle support. Many behaviours that formerly could only happen offline, are now done online. This includes activities as widespread as banking, submitting tax returns, project planning, finding a girl/boyfriend, writing documents, making phone calls, etc. Given how the environment is changing, only those websites that are suitable, or are able to adapt, will survive. What Peter is doing is pointing out the traits that such sites are likely to possess.