Digging deep into web usability, Part II

 In Website Design

Last time, we talked about color schemes and logos. Today, we discuss a few usability guidelines, and more specifically, the importance of keeping the number of page levels on a website within a practical threshold.

The main navigation text is too small, crammed together, and there is insufficient contrast between the light purple and dark purple of the navigation drop-downs. Increasing size and contrast will aid navigation for all visitors. And looking further at the navigation, there appears to be a lot of pages. In fact, there appears to be at least 160 pages, not including the spa or (non-functioning) boutique. My first impression is that it’s too much content but the issue isn’t just too much. The visitor is forced to drill down repeatedly to get information, which is inconvenient. For example, under About Us, I see a link for Promotions Offers. I select it but the information on the page doesn’t contain promotions. It tells me that they have many but now I need to select each offer from the navigation on the left. Worst of all, if I select Seasonal Promotions from the navigation, I’m taken to a page of 10 from which I need to click deeper to read the actual promotion. By the time I’m on this page, I’m four levels deep in the site and the page has maybe 60 words at most. There’s no reason a site of this size needs to be this deep. Visitors don’t want to drill down to read a set of flash cards. People prefer being able to compare information on the same page when practical.

As for the homepage, having a sequence of images isn’t a bad idea but the user should be able to interact with it—stopping it or going to a specific image. That way, if there is an image they find interesting, they can pause on it. Such an animated piece, though, is an opportunity to not just show pretty pictures but to also give the visitor to click through to get more information. For example, one of the images says, “three convenient locations,” but the visitor can’t click through to find what those are. Same with the “Your first class is free” message. That should link to a page about the offer. Also, this sequence is a flash animation. It doesn’t load on apple devices and there is no backup graphic that loads instead. We would want to use Javascript or HTML 5 animation to do anything similar.

To read more, please see the next post on the relationship between navigation and web usability.

Start typing and press Enter to search