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The meteoric rise in popularity of the Web immensely broadened access to information-and misinformation .
Most relevant to this book, the rise of the Web has thrust many people into the role of user -interface designers ... for better or worse . Furthermore, this trend will continue. Although the dot-com crash of 2001 slowed the growth of the Web, it did not stop it. At the time of this writing (mid-2002), credible estimates of the total number of websites vary tremendously-from about 10 million to 150 million-because of differences in how a "website" is defined.  Nonetheless, Web analysts agree that whatever the number of websites is, it is still growing.
Every one of those websites was designed by someone. As Nielsen has pointed out (Nielsen, 1999a), there aren't enough trained user-interface designers on Earth to handle the number of websites that go online each year. Thus most sites are designed by people who lack training and experience in interaction and information design and usability. Put more bluntly: Everyone and his dog is a Web designer, and almost no one has any user-interface or interaction design training.
In addition to the explosion in the number of Web designers, we had the ascendancy of "Internet time"-extremely aggressive schedules-for Web development. Internet time usually meant no time for careful analysis of the intended users and their tasks , no time for usability testing before taking the sites live, and no time for sanity checks on the soundness of the site's value proposition. From the late 1990s through about 2000, thousands of companies-many of them startups -developed websites and Web-based applications "on Internet time." Business plans were devised on Internet time, large sites were designed on Internet time, and back ends and front ends were implemented on Internet time. Not surprisingly, most of these efforts then crashed and burned ... on Internet time. Lesson: Maybe "Internet time" is not such a great idea.
 Depending on who is counting, a "website" is defined as a registered domain name , a home page, or a Web server that responds. Obviously, the number of sites counted depends on which criterion is used. Web analyst Jakob Nielsen suggests that the most credible estimate is the NetCraft survey: www.netcraft.com/survey/ . In mid-2002, using a criterion based on responding Web servers, NetCraft estimated 37.5 million websites.
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