So, enough with balance already. While I admit findability is not the only important element of the user experience, I'm not ready to concede its primacy online. I'm sure we can all agree with the basic truth expressed by this ancient proverb:
Findability Precedes Usability
In the Alphabet and on the Web
You Can't Use What You Can't Find
Seriously, findability is one of the most thorny problems in web design. This is due in part to the inherent ambiguity of semantics and structure. We label and categorize things in so many ways that retrieval is difficult at best. But that's only the half of it. The most formidable challenges stem from its cross-functional, interdisciplinary nature. Findability defies classification. It flows across the borders between design, engineering, and marketing. Everybody is responsible, and so we run the risk that nobody is accountable.
In fact, in most organizations, findability falls through the cracks. Web site search engines return lousy results because designers and engineers don't collaborate to fine-tune the relevance ranking algorithms. Dazzling product catalogs wallow in obscurity because marketing and engineering can't work together on search engine optimization. And navigation systems fall short because information architects and brand architects fail to map marketing jargon to the vocabulary of users. Time after time, findability falls through the cracks between roles and responsibilities, and everybody loses.
For all these reasons, ...