There seems to be a separate place in hell where all the worst designers and coders go, where the sadists are in charge, and where all the development of government websites takes place.

In addition to government websites, I’d add healthcare, insurance, and most of banking websites. Banking has gotten a little bit better recently but only a little and only some of them.

I believe it happens gradually.

  • First, you come to work on the project full of hopes and believing that you can be the positive change you have always wanted to see
  • Then you see from inside what you need to work with
  • You cry a little and decide to change it
  • Then one by one, all the things you want to change, seem to be unchangeable
  • It could be regulations, stubbornness, the unwillingness of others,  outdated systems, not enough resources, “we have always done it this way” syndrome, or a combination of all of the above
  • After a long struggle, you are able to change one small thing
  • It feels like a great success
  • To keep yourself sane you feel good about it
  • Meanwhile, to the outside world, it still feels nothing has changed and nobody is doing anything.

To even begin to fathom how complicated this stuff may be, consider this fact: Lidl cancels SAP introduction having sunk €500 million into it.

Even for Lidl, a for-profit company with all the incentives for efficiency, you can pour half a billion euro and have nothing to show for it.

Therefore any kind of positive change on government (or other stale industries) websites is a huge success, even if it doesn’t look like one.

Yet… still… one can always dream: what I would be able to do if only I had a chance to improve all those banking, insurance, government websites…

If only.