is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Never mind that extrapolating one of the simplest and most basic functions available to every Internet user — the ability to send an email — into a series of slow-loading Web pages is grossly unfriendly. This “screw you” to the American people is compounded by, among other things, an error-prone system that undermines the very security that this administration is allegedly so concerned with, and a tremendously counter-intuitive URL (the system is served from “sawho14.eop.gov”… huh?).
The system also requires the user to enter a complete mailing address — something I’ve never before been asked for when sending an email — and also indicate whether his or her communiqué is a “supporting comment” or a “differing opinion.” If you find that vaguely threatening, I don’t blame you.
The New York Times, in its semi-bemused report on the subject, features an uncharacteristically diplomatic Jakob Nielsen more or less declaring the system a usability failure (as well as an hilarious, deadpan diagram outlining the convoluted email process). After having tried it myself, I’m positive it’s the most absurd email system I’ve ever come across. What’s more, it’s as crystal clear an example of the Bush administration’s contempt for public opinion as any voter could look for.+