How Bad Content Ruined My Vacation

Emily Folstad

At Brain Traffic, we’re all about asking tough (yet perfectly sensible) questions of our clients. “It’s great that you want to post a news feed on your home page!” we might say. “You’ve got someone assigned to making sure it stays up to date and accurate, right?” And so on.

There’s a reason why we ask these questions. Because it’s not just irritating for web users to find stale content online. Sometimes it can mean the difference between a successful family vacation and a wasted afternoon …

Recently, my husband and I headed to Iowa with my parents for a cousin’s wedding. My Dad proposed we stop at a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the way back.

Three hours out of the way later, we arrived to a closed gate. The sign read: “Will open Memorial Day weekend.”

This had to be a mistake! The Iowa Department of Natural Resources website told us tours start May 1. We called the house. Sure enough, opening hours had been changed, but the website had not been updated.    

We got back in the car, turned around and headed home. This little mishap meant I spent SIX (6) EXTRA HOURS IN THE CAR WITH MY PARENTS.

Website owners, please make sure your content is accurate. Take the time to think about where it’s coming from, who will update it (and how often), whether you have the resources available to support it, why it’s being included in the first place, and how it will help your users accomplish their goals.

You might not hear or see your users, but we’re out there, trusting you’ve put some smart thinking behind the words we see on our screen. Don’t let us down.


The house I never got to see – Cedar Rock, the Walter residence, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.