Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Four Bad Web Designs

Examples of bad designs ...

"Bad content, bad links, bad navigation, bad category pages... which is worst for business? In these examples, bad content takes the prize for costing the company the most money.

Every year, I see thousands of design mistakes in both user studies and everyday life. The curse of working with Don Norman is that half the elevator buttons I see make me angry: Why can't these guys do what Don told them to do 20 years ago?

Then again, Web designers don't do what I told them to do 13 years ago, so why am I surprised? Following is a modest harvest of design stupidities I've recently encountered.

Bad Content: Jazz at Lincoln Center

While in New York for my usability conference, I wanted to take the speakers out for an evening of jazz. Here's the information I found about a Jazz at Lincoln Center performance:

What information? The site provides the musicians' names and a photo of the lead trombonist. That's it. No player biographies, no description of the type of jazz they play, no quotations from reviews, no links to independent reviews, no audio clips so you could actually hear the band.

In fairness, jalc.org does offer music clips for some of its performances. Sample music clips are an obvious way for a music-related site to use multimedia; it's much easier to explain music through audio clips than words. Listen to clips on the Metropolitan Opera site and you'll understand the difference between a questionable Tan Dun opera and a delightful Mozart classic in less than a minute.

On the page above, however, there's simply a hopeful request (in big letters) that you'll "make a reservation" without knowing anything about the concert. Not likely, unless you're already well acquainted with the band.

The page does offer nice features, such as the ability to email friends and view a plain-text version for handhelds. Offering some content would have been nicer.

Links without Information Scent: New York Times

The nytimes.com site offers a link at the bottom of each article:"    (Continued via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)    [Usability Resources]

Low Information Scent - Usability, User Interface Design

Low Information Scent

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