While operations for bladder tumour removal and colonoscopy may make instructive Internet viewing, you download videos of cataract removal and hip resurfacing at your peril. 'Not for the squeamish,' you are warned in appropriately blood-red type, even the low-resolution versions.
Thus 25 medics tell it like it is on www.medicdirect.co.uk , a web site they have set up providing health information to the public and guides on healing yourself - from self-examination and a virtual body tour to your medicine chest.
The site is an interesting proposition, providing enough content to be useful and with security in numbers allowing the 25 to be more open, to tell it more like it is. So much better than 25 individual web sites that nobody visits. And if they did, a site would typically be only-good- news about what's on offer, as individual architect's sites are. If medicdirect promises well for the general practice of medicine, why not the same model for the general practice of architecture? Architects getting together to give realistic tastes of architectural services to non-expert clients can only be good for architecture in the long term. In extremis, being a client may not be for the squeamish. If architects don't tell it like it is, tv documentaries will.
Those who remember The Honeywood File, a diary of the daily tribulations of a gp architect, will be able to imagine an entertaining but more client- friendly version for today. Add to this examples of design, the range of possible services and prosaic stuff on contract, permissions, funding, timescales and more.
Such sites could work for designers focused on smaller client communities such as schools and gps themselves. Existing networks of architects might use the model too. Will we see the self-build architects building a self- image on the web or hear the virtual leaves rustling at Acanthus.
Barrie Evans is editor of www.ajplus.co.uk