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Why bad design often wins out over good design

Fast Company‘s Cliff Kuang has a great post about Dustin Curtis, a web designer who was so appalled by his experiences with the American Airlines website that he redesigned it and posted it online as an open letter to the company.

The first image is the existing site:

This is Curtis’s redesign:

“If I was running a company with the distinction and history of American Airlines,” Curtis wrote,

I would be embarrassed–no ashamed–to have a Web site with a customer experience as terrible as the one you have now… Your Web site is abusive to your customers, it is limiting your revenue possibilities, and it is permanently destroying the brand and image of your company in the mind of every visitor.

Curtis’s complaint became even more compelling when a user experience designer at AA.com wrote to him anonymously to explain all the organizational reasons why the site is so bad.

The whole story is really interesting, including the comments thread. Check out the whole thing at Fast Company.