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Recently we redesigned the Dilbert.com web site and added a ton of features, such as animation, deeper archives, mash ups, and more. The reaction from readers has been fascinating.
 
www.dilbert.com
 
Let me get this out of the way: I realize the Beta version of the web site has lots of issues. It’s overloaded with Flash, slower than it needs to be, and the navigation is confusing. We’re fixing most of that over the next few weeks. I apologize for the inconvenience.
 
The fascinating thing about the responses is that it revealed three distinct types of Dilbert readers:
 
The first group is the ultra-techies who have an almost romantic relationship with technology. For them, the new site felt like getting dumped by a lover. Their high-end technology (generally Linux) and security settings made much of the site inconvenient. Moreover, the use of Flash offended them on some deep emotional level.
 
The second group objected to the new level of color and complexity, and the associated slowness. They like their Dilbert comics simple, fast, and in two colors. Anything more is like putting pants on a cat.
 
The third group uses technology as nothing more than a tool, and subscribes to the philosophy that more free stuff is better than less free stuff. That group has embraced the new features on the site and spiked the traffic stats.
 
For you first two groups, if you promise to keep it to yourselves, we created a stripped-down Dilbert page with just the comic, some text navigation, and the archive: www.dilbert.com/fast. This alternate site is a minor secret, mentioned only here and in the text footnote to the regular site as “Linux/Unix.”
 
The main site will be getting a Flash diet that will make it speedier soon, so check back in a few weeks. That’s where all the fun will be.
 
Enjoy.
 
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May 6, 2008
Flash!!! Flash is just that: flash. No substance, just flash. Flash is for Web sites that have nothing to say.
 
 
May 5, 2008
thank you www.avsaadasi.gen.tr and www.avsa-avsa.net
 
 
May 5, 2008
Hi Scott,
Please hurry up & change the site. Like it's been said before, you're becomming what you've been ridiculing all these years.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 5, 2008
I've just unsubscribed from the daily email. On the page it takes you to are three options for your reason for unsubscribing - it doesn't include "because I've subscribed to the RSS feed" - there's no way I'd go without my daily Dilbert!
 
 
May 5, 2008
Putting it simply...You've become what you used to ridicule.

 
 
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May 4, 2008
The fast option is great. With a bit more work you may actually make it faster by returning to the old format which was absolutely lovely (and not as lame as the current one).

This is a classic, Dilbert is all about poking fun with corporate America making senseless decisions and sticking to them simply because they can't admit any failure, nor take responsibility and own their mistakes. Guess what, the joke is on you :-) Where is the admission that this half baked new site was launched without any real testing and customer feedback? It is kind of similar to the new my,yahoo.com, which took a perfectly good portal and ruined it for us. At least they allow you to choose to go back to the old format. PLEASE PLEASE enable the old for me and let us choose it. I'd hate to stop reading Dilbert, and I can tell you I'm hardly visiting it these days out of frustration.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 4, 2008
I did what I NEVER do in order to send this. I signed up.

I used to read the strip every day, even though the site was rather slow. No longer. I check back occasionally to see if you've come to your senses. Alas, so far no.

If you're really intent on feeding excess data to people why not offer something like the old site to people who do not want what it seems to have become.

It is too slow. there is too much graphical noise that is what I am NOT looking for. I could find that at other sites which I do not visit.

 
 
May 4, 2008
Why does the save button not allow me to actually save a strip?
No, I don't want to add it to favorites or save it to a list.
Duh!
 
 
May 3, 2008
Hi!!

I must say I never really had any good opinions about UFS (a bit of a run in with them before). However, as far as this response from you guys is concerned, you guys are GREAT!

Normally, website designers just FORCE feed what they THINK viewers want onto them. But it seems you guys really did listen to our responses and did something about it!

While I love the new site and appreciate the effort you guys made, we can't open so much stuff at the OFFICE! So we truly appreciate the FAST minimalistic alternative.

Thanks so much for trying to appeal to everyone and giving us CHOICES.

JC
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 2, 2008
I think what would solve all the problems is to have a mind-reading chip installed in the United Feature Syndicate's servers: then it could anticipate what everyone wants on their Dilbert page and display accordingly.

Please hurry up and invent this and send me the part # so I can order some, because I really need to install it in the product I'm working on or the PMs and QA will be heartbroken.
 
 
May 2, 2008
It struck me that there wasn’t much empathy for two of the three groups we “Dilbert readers” got bundled into. Yes I know, there’s a “special” page for these two groups...I’ll give you my best guess why shortly.

I suspect the reason for this lack of empathy is quite simple, they are no longer the target audience; the target audience is the existing and hopefully expanding third group. The earliest Dilbert I have read was 16th April 1989; that’s nineteen years, I wasn’t that young when I first started reading Dilbert, and I’m a lot older now. So maybe it’s time to find a newer audience, after all we must be dropping like bowling pins by now, and the ones who still have a pulse may well be too busy drooling into their lunchtime porridge to read Dilbert anymore.

Why the special site for the dispossessed? My cynical side [actually my only side] tells me that it’s like a safety net; I mean anyone is going to look pretty stupid if they totally alienate their fan base and then find the new target audience doesn’t turn up. This way if it doesn’t go according to plan, they can make a few concessions and bingo you have your rapidly aging audience back again. Maybe you could add an online chemist so we can order our medication while we wait for the page to finish loading?
 
 
May 2, 2008
As long as I have a registration now, I will post a complement to complement my less complementary post from below.

Regular blog readers, move on. You don't understand even if you think you do. Remember that people are not good at determining when someone is smarter than they. Those are good words, courtesy of Scott.

I have been reading your blog from the beginning. I have enjoyed watching your consciousness develop. You are entering a mental state that most of your blog readers will never attain in their lifetimes.

There is one step, in my opinion, that you have left to take, and it is a very difficult one.

You will get there. I will enjoy watching you.

Read this in the mean time: http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

I think you get that already, but it's a good read nonetheless.

-Vort.



 
 
May 2, 2008
Ok, I finally had to register and comment. I need to set the record straight on what happened here.

For background, I'm a development manager and principal software engineer specializing in ultra high performance web platforms.

All you folks who keep blaming the coders for this, listen up. You too Scott. This message will help you understand the world.

I have seen hundreds of projects just like this one. Some product manager gets a bunch of buzzwords in his head, and he orders a redesign of his site incorporating (insert technology here). The product requirements document reads like a howto manual. The product manager is in the way at every step in the process. The developers (depending on the culture) are either complaining loudly that the site as requested won't work, or being quiet and building the stuff they know is crap because they know no one is listening anyway.

Let me be straight here. The engineers who built this site know what they are doing. I guarantee they knew ahead of time that this rollout would be a mess. I'll even bet they told you so, Scott.

The blame here rests solely and squarely on the shoulders of the product manager (that's you Scott). I've seen the type so many times. Some dude who thinks he is is an engineer, but in fact never was one, or hasn't been one for years. So he gets in the way.

Here is how you should have behaved in creating this site.

1) Hire the best team you can (I'm sure you did this part already). Instead of two graphic designers, hire a graphic designer and a user experience designer.
2) Write up your list of requested features. This should look like "blog, mashups, animations, full color strips". This list should not even vaguely suggest methods for carrying out the work.
3) Get the hell out of the way.

Those designers and developers know more about what works on the web than you can ever possibly hope to. let them do their jobs.

You're welcome.
-Vort

 
 
May 1, 2008
Two days in a row I tried to make a mashup and got the error message "e creation failed, please try again later." What's up, doc?
 
 
May 1, 2008
Two days in a row I tried to make a mashup and got the error message "e creation failed, please try again later." What's us, doc?
 
 
May 1, 2008
:-) Neat, not sure which category I fit in, but I have to admit that it is just about right now with the "normal" and "fast" options out there, so the Beta appears to be improving. Thanks!
 
 
May 1, 2008
I'm so unhappy about the labels and the groups you described.
The ultra-techies are romantics with a significant relationship with the old site who are emotionally offended by Flash? I hope you are joking. Expressing concern that the new site's compatibility with a commonly used browser and operating system have not been part of the requirements or tests is a romantic attitude?

The "simple and fast" second group don't like the colors and the complexity. Color vs. black and white is a matter of taste. A dislike of complexity is a sane reaction. Should a regular site require a user's guide and a re-learning of basic navigation conventions? I think not.

Finally, we have the "technology as a tool" group who love more free stuff. Have they really embraced the new features without getting confused by the tiny fonts, invisible links, ad-like content and unstable performance? I'm wondering how you can correlate the third group with the increased number of visits. Was there a whole group of people who didn't visit Dilbert.com because there wasn't enough free stuff? Surely, I find it hard to believe that the romantics and the minimalists have stopped visiting the site altogether.

I'm also wondering about the implication of "more free stuff". Should we just be grateful for more stuff and stop complaining that this free stuff is poorly designed and hard to use? Yes, I'll use the usability word again. The new ideas are fun and cool, but the features which implement these ideas are poorly executed.

Oh I found another "content-looking-as-an-ad" gem (in all caps):
"You must log in or register to save to your favorites"
In this context, to save is a transitive verb and requires that you indicate what you are saving. Please have someone with a good command of English look into this and into "Scott Adams' color strips", "Date Strip Published" and all the other confusing and ungrammatical niceties.
 
 
+18 Rank Up Rank Down
May 1, 2008
Where did the HR performance appraiser and the mission statement generator go.

Every now and then I like to go back to them.

Please re-instate... or sort out the navigation tools...

cheers
Andrew

PS loved the mashups...tried a couple
 
 
May 1, 2008
The colour's OK, but I HATE the site layout; I'm sorry, but it really is clunky, and the number of bits that just don't work is a bit poor. For instance, the "Most Popular" section will display strips from this week's most popular, but go back to last week 's and clicking on the strips still brings up this week's. The front page is very cluttered and fussy, and the controls around the strip take up way too much room.
 
 
May 1, 2008
so "CHECK BACK IN A FEW WEEKS" . . . . Yep, management is alive and well !
 
 
 
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