Profiles in Innovation

by on June 5, 2008 · 4 comments

As if on cue, I tried to follow a link to a citation to a document on the BEA website, and I got this helpful message:

The BEA Web site has taken on a new look and feel as part of a redesign.

It is understood that many users create ‘bookmarks’ or ‘favorites’ for their most frequently accessed pages on our site. However, due to some alterations to our directory structure, some ‘bookmarked’ URLs may no longer house the information they did prior to the redesign.

The links provided below will assist you in locating information within the new BEA site. Should you be unable to locate the information you want, please contact us at and let us know the web page you were looking for.

Now, the Technology Liberation Front has been hosted for the last four years by PJ Doland Web Design, a small web design company that you really should check out if you’re in the market for that sort of thing. We recently upgraded from Movable Type to WordPress, and in the process we broke a lot of permalinks. Fortunately, PJ and his team whipped up a script to create redirects from each of our old posts to our new posts. That means that if anyone follows an old permalink, they’ll be silently redirected to the correct page.

Did I mention PJ did this for us for free? In contrast, I rather doubt the people who re-designed the BEA website did it for free. Setting up re-directs is a pain, but it’s not that much of a pain, and especially for a site full of economic statistics, maintaining stable URLs ought to be a priority. If our volunteer webmaster can manage it for our insignificant little blog, somehow a federal agency should be able to manage the same feat.

In my latest piece for Ars, I write up the Princeton paper I pointed out on Monday, and also discuss Jerry’s paper on the same subject. The BEA’s less than spectecular web savvy nicely illustrates the point that governments should focus on providing data and leave the web design to the private sector.

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