This is a guest post by Bob Runnels. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Websites should be easy to use, but some can certainly give you headaches.
The introduction of the internet has been a wonderful thing hasn’t it? I’ve been lucky enough that the internet has been around for much of my lifetime. I remember dial-up, and that incessant noise it used to make when attempting to connect to a plethora of information and services.
Ever since I received my first debit card, I’ve been shopping online like there was no tomorrow. While making the trip into town can be fun, shopping online has its advantages. Living in Glasgow means there is always a chance of cold temperatures – or worse, rain. There’s nothing worse than being caught in the rain when shopping and you’re what seems like a mile away from your car.
It’s also easy on your legs. There’s no need to walk from store to store online, simply type in the website address and you have access to a virtual store at your fingertips. Online shopping negates wasted journeys and time. It can be frustrating to travel to a store to find they don’t have the item in stock or in your size.
While online shopping sounds easy, it can often seem like some website designers are actually intent on making it hard for you. It’s almost like they don’t want to sell their product or service to you. You have to trawl pages upon pages just to find what you want. Click.Click.And after some more clicking of the mouse you’ve had enough. They’ve just lost a customer not because of the product or service, but because the website was poorly designed. A website’s usability is key for me before I decide if I want to purchase. Designers know that the user is King, but still we see websites that need a manual to use.
Take a look at this one for example. Yes, the retro style has been making a comeback, but this is not chic. Sure it’s interactive, wow you can move the icons and resize the boxes. Awesome dude! But there’s a reason why this graphical user interface is no longer used. A drop down menu would have been much easier to navigate instead of having boxes in no particular order. As a result there is no focal point to this design and first time users will have to check each box for what they’re looking for.
This designer went a little tooavantgarde with this. It’s very artistic, but there’s too much going on. I have no idea where to start or look. My main gripe with this type of site is the scattering of clickable icons. Because there are so many illustrations, I have to move my mouse over each to see if I can click on them. It also took me a while to realise it scrolls too (bet you didn’t know that either).
Although it’s in Norwegian, this one is bad in any language. There must be more than a hundred images on the home page. Too many pictures mean it takes a while for the images to appear. Not only that, but there are some awful and random GIFs dotted on the page like a waving Santa. Text and pictures are scattered soeach page has no consistency, making it hard for the user to know where to look.
Last but not least is this. I’m not sure where to start with this one – the contrast button perhaps? There are far too many bright colours being used here Pictures, boxes and links are randomly placed on the page, there is nonavigational system to speak of. Its information overload and menus leading to specific topics would have been far better.
As a customer, there is nothing worse than a hard to use website. The products may be the best in the industry, but if I can’t find what I’m looking for, how will I know?
NOTE: ITS A GUEST POST, WE ARE NOT HERE TO HARM ANYONE.
Bob Runnels writes for a digital marketing agency. As such, he has gained a wide range of knowledge with regards to many aspects of web design, including usability.
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