Online database of damage assessments on New Orleans homes

The City of New Orleans has an online searchable database for residents who want to see what determination, if any, has been made for their property by city building inspectors.  Now what’s interesting is how hard it was for me to get the URL for this database.  I read about it in the Times Picayune today, which had this graphic (note the hard to read and confusingly long URL). 

Okay, so let’s stop to consider something.  By giving us this URL, the Times Picayune is supposedly providing really important information.  But the URL is long and set in small type that is hard to read.  Why not convert the lengthy URL to to a TinyURL (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/a7z9t) and use larger type?  Answer: because the Times Picayune just wants to appear to be providing useful information. Making it simpler for people to actually use would require a minimal understanding of the Internet which of course they don’t have and don’t really see a need for.  Note that the online version of this story at the TP’s NOLA.com site doesn’t list the URL and doesn’t even have a hyperlink.   If I actually expected the local paper to give me important information in an easily digestible form I’d be upset.  Fortunately, I have low expectations.

4 Comments so far

  1. rcs (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 8:37 pm

    I’m pretty sure the online T-P’s site is generated automatically by a third party; I’ve clicked on other small- to medium-sized paper’s sites and noticed that they use the exact same layout style. I doubt the T-P has a lot of control over the output format.

    But jeez, the T-P posts their content for free (last I checked, they’re one of those EVIL corporations that actually is trying to make a profit) and you’re hacked because you had to TYPE IN AN URL? It took me like 6 seconds to find the link on the city website (under the caption “City Expedites Permitting Process to Speed Recovery.”)

    Exactly how many hours of your life did this issue consume?


  2. JL (unregistered) on November 6th, 2005 @ 9:06 am

    Worth the trouble to keep checking the city’s website directly as they keep adding stuff like this daily, a lot easier/faster than slogging thru the TP. As above, I found it independently here.

    Interesting that there are Green tags but also “Pass” – whatever the difference is there?


  3. Frolic (unregistered) on November 6th, 2005 @ 3:36 pm

    The Picayune is part of a national syndicate. All the papers use the same web format. Now, given that this is a well-finance corporation, you would think they would build a better website for all their papers.


  4. Cade Roux (unregistered) on November 7th, 2005 @ 4:06 pm

    Yeah – nola.com’s event listings have been a pet peeve of mine. One of our graphic designers left to go work for T-P before the storm, and I told him to tell them their events listing sucked, but nothing will ever come of it.

    For instance, if you are looking for stuff happening over the next week, a single event like a gallery exhibit will show up 7 times – which makes the search results unwieldy.



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