More on THAT website ...
Feelings are clearly running high over the new UK Patent Office website, which has been the subject of one post and some comments on this weblog over the past day or so. In keeping with its commitment to serving the public's needs, the Patent Office has emailed the IPKat as follows:
"I see you've already had a few comments : the site has changed dramatically and we realise this may come as a bit of a shock to people the industry who are everyday users. Whilst things have moved around a lot there is very little that was on the old site that is not on the new. Its just a matter of getting used to the change".Indeed. The IPKat is not averse to change, but at least one half of the team prefers it when the benefits of that change are (i) plainly apparent and (ii) introduced with words of gentle guidance and warning.
Disbelief was the IPKat's first reaction when he accessed his favourite site, only to find that it had mutated ...
The IPKat also wonders if the Patent Office (which he continues to view with admiration, respect and indeed affection) would be kind enough to answer the following questions:
1. Was the new website trialled by control groups of existing users and potential users? If so, how many - and when? And what were the findings?
2. Is the Patent Office planning to monitor users' responses to the new site?
3. Was any feedback openly sought from existing users as to how they found the old site (which was pretty good, to put it mildly)?
4. Did the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys or the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys - both of which have very considerable experience of running accessible and user-friendly IP websites themselves - have any opportunity to make any suggestions, constructive or otherwise, as to how the website could and should work?
5. Did any of the academic institutes which regularly send their students to the Patent Office website have a chance to offer any input?
6. What advantage is there in letting something like this come as a shock to users? The website exists for the benefit of the users, not the other way round. The IPKat will repeat that because he's angry at having wasted time and effort when he was working under time pressure and really could have done without this: THE WEBSITE EXISTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE USERS, NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND.
Anyone wanting to know how users feel about change should read this