January 15, 2002

Design Not Found
One of my favorite sites lately is "Design Not Found": a site dedicated to "the best and worst of contingency design." They point out good and bad design elements. For example they show how Amazon helps users who enter the wrong URL, or how Apple further frustrates users who are already having trouble.

What is contingency design? Here's the answer from the Design Not Found FAQ:
"Things go wrong online. Contingency design is the way the creators of the site right the ship. It includes error messaging, instructive text, information architecture, programming, and graphic design. Successful contingency design helps wayward surfers succeed at their goals in obtaining information, completing a transaction, or other tasks. Poor contingency design results in frustration and lost visitors."

Although I really like Design Not Found, I have to say the company that created Design Not Found, 37signals, has a home page that is pretty...uh, shall we say "overly-creative".
Update: 37signals redesigned their site and the old home page can be seen here.

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