Kaiser Perminente’s website causes heartburn, sleeplessness

Yesterday I tweeted:

The Kaiser Permanente site is pretty, but someone organized it using their butt.

I had just spent an hour on their member website trying to set my daughter’s primary care doctor. The links I followed did not lead to useful content. I was frustrated. I wrote:

I officially volunteer to redesign the Kaiser site. For free. Just so I don’t have to use it in its current state. Call me.

And I got a response! Sort of. In the form of an autoreply directing me to the Contact Web Manager form.

I’m pretty certain I can’t re-architect a site in a fixed-width six line text box in under 1000 characters.

Still, I tried. Here’s my cranky critique, crammed into a tiny webform textbox after a day spent with a teething baby and no clue who her doctor is:

  1. Kaiser. You break my heart. Your site architecture is spaghetti.
  2. Link titles should match their destinations.
  3. Text should be optimized for the web. Cut the wordcount by 75%. Seriously, cut the “If you prefer, you may call us” wordy bullshit. It actively prevents people from getting the information they need.
  4. Dynamic, member-specific content like records and messages should not try to ship you off to one size fits all “resource” pages.
  5. Who is your user? Members? Potential Members? Employers? Identify common use cases and count the number of steps and breakpoints.
  6. “Are you an Employer?” is not a helpful architectural node.
  7. I can tell you sprung for the bulk membership to clipart.com, so kudos on the pretty pictures but they eat up most of the space if you insist on a 10 year old fixed width layout. Grow some CSS.
  8. Seriously. I love Kaiser, but this site hurts me.


I’ll keep you guys updated if anything exciting happens as a result of my whiny ranting. I’m sure there are fifty good reasons why their site sucks the way it does, but as a user I simply don’t care. I want a big red “do the thing I want” button. And possibly a pony.

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