Once, I was looking to buy furniture for my house with a modern yet simple touch and learned about a very stylish furniture store located in Addis from a colleague of mine. She referred to me to their website to check out what they have in store, and that was I did immediately. The kind of furniture they had was exactly the kind I was looking for, and so I decided to pay them a visit. In the contact us section of the website, they provided their address so I took my husband with me to accompany me to the store. To our big disappointment, we found out that the store does not exist in the location specified on the website. So, back at the office, my colleague informs me that their actual location is actually not the one I saw on the website but instead another one which is found on the another corner of the city. So I wondered, aren’t websites made just for the purpose of giving up to date information to users? Shouldn’t the store have informed its IT people to update the address specified on their website?
This occasion is not the first occasion I faced a situation where a company fails to update its website for its users. Time and time again, I find myself feeling disappointed about the very meager importance people give to the website of their organizations. I have to say that it is very rarely that a purely Ethiopian and local business has an up to date website, with accurate, timely and complete information. In the case of those very few organizations that happen to have a website, the design and launching of a website is a one time thing for most of them. It is something that is done when the company is first launched, and nobody bothers to look back at it afterwards. I often feel that the launching of a website is something that is done for style and to give out a feel of modernity to visitors, and serves no further purpose. I must admit though that there are Ethiopian private firms out there who understand the values of websites and use these as a medium between the company and customers. These companies actually care about the time and resources of their customers by saving the latter from the cumbersome task of physically visiting the companies’ offices to get the most basic information about the company.
Government offices are the worst when it comes to websites. It is just amazing how much IT illiteracy exists in government offices. I once had to visit a government office to have my foreign education certificates certified. You cannot imagine how many times I had to return to the office because of the endless meetings that took place in the organization. And of course nobody bothers to use a website to inform visitors that office will be closed as these meetings take place. It makes you wonder what the IT guys in government offices spend their doing if they cannot do the most basic IT task out there.
On behalf of citizens such as myself who are fed up of having to travel across the city to beg for information, I beg IT guys and ladies out there working in private and public organizations to do your most basic IT job! Websites do not update themselves! They need operators! And websites are not luxuries in the 21st century! Just look at what the rest of the world has come to! Why do we fail so miserably at even the most rudimentary task?