Change Happens Slowly at American, Other Large Organizations

Last Updated Jun 5, 2009 10:41 AM EDT

There's a great piece over at Budget Travel on a fascinating discussion regarding the evolution of American's website. It paints a picture of just how hard it is to effect change in a large corporate culture.

Dustin Curtis designs user interfaces, and after recently using American's website, he was appalled at how awful it was. He doesn't mince words either, claiming that the website is "abusive to your customers." So did he just moan like most people? No, he did something about it.

Dustin took a very short amount of time to create a much cleaner homepage than anything American has ever had. It looks good, but of course, designing a cleaner homepage is relatively easy and not very time consuming. Actually getting it implemented is far harder.

A designer at American took the time to respond, and Dustin posted it on his site. In short, the designer agrees with Dustin but then he detailed just how hard it is to make quick changes at an organization like American:

It only takes a few hours to put together a really good-looking [redesign], as you demonstrated in your post. But doing the design isn't the hard part, and I think that's what a lot of outsiders don't really get, probably because many of them actually do belong to small, just-get-it-done organizations. But those of us who work in enterprise-level situations realize the momentum even a simple redesign must overcome . . . .
No surprises here at all, but it is a very good example of how difficult change can be in large, lumbering organizations.