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Old Nov 25, 2008, 12:09 AM   #1
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Wow, what a complicated ordeal. First I signed up and accidentally changed my birthdate before hitting the submit button. So I was instantly under the age of 18 and unable to submit photos. And the frustrating part: There's no option to change or correct my settings! Or, if there is one, I can't seem to find it. The FAQs are near useless, the Contact Us page only gives a phone number for subscriptions, and nobody seems to be replying to my help request sent via e-mail.

Have you ever tried to use a website and then walked away wondering if a 12-year-old designed it? If not, drop in and join ngm.com/yourshot.

My second attempt at joining was semi-successful. I had to use a different e-mail address though, and I was careful not to screw up my one shot at filling in the online form. So I managed to create an account. I was even able to submit an image. But, aside from the e-mail submission confirmation, you'd never know I made the effort. I'm not seeing any images in the My Pictures tab. All I see is a blank box with the caption "Image 1 of 0" underneath.

Wow, you'd think National Geographic could splurge and find a company to design an intuitive, user-friendly website.
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 7:47 PM   #2
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I don't understand why they disallow people under 18 to post - seems like age discrimination to me.

The site sounds good in theory, but I really think they missed the mark.

I idea that - you too - could have your photo printed in National Geographic seems to be a false premise for most of us - what if we're not selected?

I would have suggested that they form the site as a place where people can contribute photos and share stories about different parts of the world.

Let everybody write their own Nat Geo article with photos and pop it up in a Nat Geo wiki.

Let the people search for and decide which stories on the site are interesting and which stories are not.

Oh well. Sometimes I feel my own ideas are so under utilized....
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 8:05 PM   #3
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I like your ideas Terry, maybe you should submit a suggestion.

Basically people submit photos and the photo editor chooses a "daily dozen" to post online, and then viewers vote for the ones that get printed in the magazine. Maybe the process is controlled re numbers for administrative purposes. Also, I assume they're trying to avoid the website becoming a collection of junk. Certainly it's marginally unfair that one person decides which photos are worthy of going online, but if it wasn't controlled it might evolve into nonsense... Maybe they don't have the web-related manpower to babysit. Who knows?

My problem was with the site's usability. It blows. I have to assume that a company like that has enough resources to hire a competant web-content staff or outsourced corporation... But again, who knows?


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Old Nov 25, 2008, 10:14 PM   #4
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Poor usability is more the rule than the exception these days.

There's only a few sites I really like - amazon.com, craigslist a few others.

This forum is pretty easy to use.

Nat Geo probably doesn't have anybody that really understands site usability.
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Old Nov 26, 2008, 9:02 PM   #5
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Boldstar wrote:
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Certainly it's marginally unfair that one person decides which photos are worthy of going online,
That is what editors for magazines are all about. Someone has to make the decisions as to what content is going to make the cut. If the mag's circulation goes down, the editor has been making the wrong decisions, and vice versa. It sort of prevents chaos.



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Old Nov 26, 2008, 9:13 PM   #6
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VTphotog wrote:
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Boldstar wrote:
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Certainly it's marginally unfair that one person decides which photos are worthy of going online,
That is what editors for magazines are all about. Someone has to make the decisions as to what content is going to make the cut. If the mag's circulation goes down, the editor has been making the wrong decisions, and vice versa. It sort of prevents chaos.

I fully understand the role of the editor. I've worked as a managing editor for a variety of legal, HR and business-related publications. You only quoted part of my comment.

The point I was trying to make: One person's take on what makes a good photograph might not be in agreement with other experts' opinions. It all boils down to the qualifications of the person making the decisions.

Ultimately I agree with the NGM strategy of having an editor select a "daily dozen." It preserves the vision and the integrity of the magazine.

The central focus of this thread was intended to throw light onto the sub-par usability of the website application.



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