Watching the YouTube video by Scott Kincaid of Usability Sciences Crop on the MADD.org website was very enlightening. The first thing I picked up on was that Scott started off with a goal or scenario in mind for the website. In this case he was looking for information about how a parent would talk to teens about drunk driving. I thought that was a great way to evaluate a website by see if you can find targeted information on the site. I also liked that he did not judge design of the homepage but was only looking at function.
Once he got to the page “Parents”, he commented on the all caps test at the top of the page and said that all caps was harder to scan and read. I occasionally write in all caps so I don’t have a hard time reading all caps thus that is something I would never have picked up one. I also agreed with him that the navigation questions on the top of the page were unclear and did not seem to fit very many people.
The navigation on the site was not one you would see very often and thus it made it hard to predict what to expect forcing one into testing out links and using trial and error. This made the site hard to navigate and frustrating. Links were not explained well which made it hard to guess. There were large text blocks making people do a lot of reading to get any information. In the 10 min Scott spent on the site he did not make much headway and did not find the information he was looking for. I am guessing that the average visitor to the site would not invest 10 min if they don’t not feel like they are getting the information they are seeking.
The moral of the story is : it does not matter how good at organization one is or how much information a website has on it if you can not get that information very well. MADD.org would almost be better off using a canned, cookie cutter type website vs. the one they have. The navigation need to be fixed and made clear so that the guesswork gets taken out of the equation. If visitors to a site can’t figure out how to move around the site they are most likely going to just move off the site altogether. Next they need to use some standard design elements to break up large text areas and make the page more inviting to a visitor.
After watching the video I visited MADD.org and found a completely redone website than Scott visited in his video. I guess they listened and took action. Good for them.
If you want more information on usability and what Scott and his team have done you can visit their blog at http://usability.com