ICANN gets a facelift
Date: Saturday December 06 2003, @06:31AM
Topic: ICANN Does Good

A few readers have noted ICANN's new website design, which replaces the earlier design so lovingly hand-crafted by ICANN's former Chief Whatever, Andrew McLaughlin. dmehus laments the decision "not to [use] PHP or SSI," which would make it "much easier to maintain the site and make future remodelling changes." GeorgeK thinks it "looks reasonably good, although perhaps too crowded for my taste" -- definitely, says I -- but mainly points out that "we still lack some important "'steak'":

In particular, ICANN continues to lag in posting documents related to the Pool.com lawsuit of 5 months ago, regarding WLS. They've already published the Dotster/eNom/Godaddy lawsuit on their litigation page, so it's very odd that they continue to withhold the Pool.com case documents from the interested community.

The new design is, of course, yet another step in ICANN's effort to (ugh) 'rebrand' itself under Paul Twomey's leadership. What follows is a quick redux:

First and foremost, a line of Anglophone names for "other" languages, each of which links to a thin FAQ-ish one-pager (the absence of Chinese is notably, especially given last year's Shanghai meeting). This is sort of the touristic phrasebook equivalent of internationalism: "Dje parlez frankaze." (Hint to ICANN: You can save money on translators if you adopt Europanto. And you kan buf yor Anglofon reputashun for ledership dis wa.)

Second and hilariously comes the "we're here for you!" banner:

  • A "Site Index" -- akin to a glossary, a la the proverbial Encyclopedia Sovietica (e.g, "Accreditation Overview (Registrar): ICANN is a technical coordination body. Our primary objective is ensuring the stability...").
  • Links to the Public Forum, formerly the Public Comment Forum. But some things never change, for example, the claim on the linked page that the forum "is an experimental interface").
  • And a navigation pull-down menu that's actually pretty handy.

A prominent search link (say, unlike ours at ICANN Watch) is always a good thing; but somehow it feels like ICANN is poaching a bit of Google's goodwill by including that logo.

Next of note is the link (in a prominent red that brings Little Red Riding Hood --- or, rather, the wolf -- to mind) "Click here if this is your first time visiting ICANN." New to these woods, are we, dearie? Trust me...

Beyond that, ICANN too has succumbed to the three-column menace of, basically, blog design. All in all, the content remains much the same, which is spot-on. As GeorgeK points up, a little more candor would be in order: say, promptly posting materials that are inconvenient. But, failing that, I suppose there's benefit in making petty corruption more useable.

There are oddities. For example, the ill-advisedly named "Press Corner" (bottom left) which one might think of as serving the needs of professional journalists, leads to a page that currently features as its lead story "TIDDLES AND ROVER TO GET DOMAIN NAMES," PR flak for a way to "register a Web site address for your dog, cat or any other non-human companion." The Public Forum block (center right) sports a "Hot Topics" subhead that must have been a matter of some debate ("But, Vint, Yahoo's 'What's Cool?' link is what put Mirsky out of business!"). And the archives of the central "New and Noteworthy" column are oxymoronically called "New and Noteworthy Archives." Duh.

Overall, though, ICANN's done a decent job. The colors are watery and indecisive, making some text -- white blockheads on a lavender background, pale green headlines on white -- very hard to read. And the bright-red "More..." links in the left column are 'orrible. But the intrepid ICANNauts have tweaked bigger things in the past (problems with Congress, for example). I'm optimistic.

In sum: Change Is Good.

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by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Saturday December 06 2003, @09:48AM (#12717)
User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
I'd love to see this new page, but all I got last night and today are timeout errors...
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
  • Re:Timeouts by GeorgeK Saturday December 06 2003, @10:32AM
    • Re:Timeouts by michael Sunday December 07 2003, @02:29PM
They're settings are odd
by KarlAuerbach on Saturday December 06 2003, @11:58AM (#12719)
User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
If you look at what they are sending you'll see some odd settings.

First of all, they are using Apache version 1.3.27 - which is very, very old. Even conservative Red Hat is distributing 2.0.47. This ancient version suggests that ICANN isn't keeping up with security patches on their system.

Second, they are doing everything to make these pages uncacheable. Caching is the internet's friend (and it is what makes DNS scale.) But at every opportunity ICANN's new pages scream out "you can't cache me". This is often done by those who want web server logs of every hit and who don't care about user response or internet traffic load. There is also no modification date information, thus adding to the net burden when a web client comes around and asks, as they often do, "anything new since date x.y.z?"

Without proper settings some of the web caching companies (avantgo comes to mind) can go nutz and pound on a site.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Pig with Wings
by GeorgeK on Sunday December 07 2003, @10:57PM (#12722)
User #3191 Info | http://www.kirikos.com/
I just *had* to say that the flying pig icon is perfect for the "ICANN Does Good" category. ;)
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

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