Excuse me Mister, but your website is bloody awful!!
The problem with poorly designed websites might not be incompetent user-experience and graphic designers, but a stifling corporate culture.
In his letter, he spoke of the dissatisfying experience he had booking a flight on the AA website. He wrote:
How did this happen? If I was running a company with the distinction and history of American Airlines, I would be embarrassed — no ashamed — to have a website with a customer experience as terrible as the one you have now. How does your CEO, Gerard J. Arpey, justify treating customers this way? Why does your board of directors approve of this? Your website is abusive to your customers, it is limiting your revenue possibilities, and it is permanently destroying the brand and image of your company in the mind of every visitor.
He even proffered this redesign for their consideration:
The site as it is now
Incredibly, he received a response from a user experience architect who works on AA.com, titled “You’re right. You’re so very right. And yet…”
The letter is published in full on Dustin’s blog and it’s an incredible insight into the way corporate culture and red tape can destroy an organisation’s most public and valuable marketing tool: their website.
Go away and read it now! And then give a little jump for joy that Web 2.0 has opened up a platform for conversations like this to take place.