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  1. #1
    Currently Occupied; Till Sunda Andrew-J2000's Avatar
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    Top 7 Usability Blunders Of The Big Players

    This forum thread discusses the SitePoint article 'Top 7 Usability Blunders Of The Big Players' by Philippe Randour.

    "Thanks to the likes of Krug and Nielsen, usability is on every site owner's agenda ...but guess who *still* hasn't caught on? Philippe reveals 7 big players who have fallen into some of the most basic usability traps, and provides tips to ensure your site doesn't suffer the same embarrassing mistakes!"

  2. #2
    Currently Occupied; Till Sunda Andrew-J2000's Avatar
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    A few things I find irritating concerning some of the sites mentioned is their methods of advertising, I find it extremely annoying, to have the whole window filled by a flash animation and then have something stuck in the corner of the window, when all i'm after is content. I wouldn't mind as much, if they allowed you to kill the ad immediately, or remember in a cookie, to not display anything like that after a single occurance, but they dont do this, which is a nuisance and a menace to me.

    Your email message has been idle and this link has become inactive. To access the link, close this window and return to your MSN Hotmail Message. Then click the browser's Refresh button or close your message and reopen it.

    Another point that was mentioned was hotmail encoding the url, with a frame. Anyway heres a way to get around it...

    Create a favourite, click properties, and replace the url with the following

    Code:
    javascript:document.location.href=""unescape(document.location.href.substr(document.location.href.indexOf('hm___action=')+12, 10000))
    It will give you a prompt just say yes anyway. Now when you have a link it will just cut that all out and you can continue to the website with no frames, and the 'unescaped' url.

    If your not sure i've zipped this, in an attachment...
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    The article does say that external links should be opened in the same window as your site... but doesn't this also add to the confusion?

    People might get the idea that it's still somehow part of your site but the design and layout has 'suddenly changed' and can confuse them further. However it's good to 'rebel' against MSN Hotmail's use of frames when clicking external links. This always used to annoy me when I used Hotmail as I couldn't bookmark it, and I couldn't even rid the window of the frame. If you look at www.ask.co.uk all search results have a frame above them - but they all have a link which can remove the frame.

    It's a nice article, and I agree with the author it's always good for people to know what sort of thing web users hate the most, especially web authors/designers who will obviously want to minimise the use of annoying aspects on sites they are building.

    And it's interesting to think that even the most popular sites can't get it right!

    -Sam
    Sam Hastings

  4. #4
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devilware.net
    People might get the idea that it's still somehow part of your site but the design and layout has 'suddenly changed' and can confuse them further.
    the solution to this problem is to clearly mark your external links as such. there are various (accessible) ways of doing so. one that i will be implementing on a new site shortly: a graphic in front of it, with proper alt attribute of course, coupled with a relevant addition to the link's title attribute, e.g.
    Code:
    <img src="/images/external_arrow.gif" alt="external link" /><a href="http://somewhere.com" title="go to somewhere.com (external link)">go to somewhere.com</a>
    or similar...
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  5. #5
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    Good points are made in the article, but the choice of example sites is poor. enRoute and OpenOffice are not really "big players" on the Web. If you are going to write an article on this subject at least take the time to find the mistakes that the big players really are making.

    Point 1 should include information about the use of CSS to provide a properly formatted page for printing which will avoid the need for 'printer friendly' pages and thus speeds development and eases user frustration.

    Point 2 includes a statement that is actually user-unfriendly: "Otherwise, it's better not to provide localized support at all". Sites should strive to translate as much content as possible; but when a translated version isn't available then the source language should be used. It is a lofty goal to translate a site into multiple languages and does not happen quickly for all but the biggest of companies (read Microsoft, Oracle, Apple etc.) If this statement is to be followed, valuable content should be held from the user until the entire translation is done, thus increasing frustration. If a site is going to be translated it should be done so in planned phases. The UI should be one of the first sections included in this phased approach.

    Point 6 should introduce the idea of using link checking software to speed up their double-checking.

    While this article has good intentions, it trods old ground and isn't a very good source of information for new Web designers and developers. Usability is a complicated subject, made all the more so when you are in a large corporate environment and subject to the goals and whims of the system.

    The wrap-up paragraph makes a very good point: respect your audience.

  6. #6
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    This article is good, but the printer friendly version contains advertising for a book and also includes links at the bottom of the page for Sitepoints own services. These two points clearly contradict what the article said NOT TO DO!

  7. #7
    . gdape's Avatar
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    How about Java applets that require the processing power of Big Blue to load. And pop ups that go to file not found; CoolHomepages.com has a few and on my mac it freezes for 30 seconds so I'm sitting there keeping my thumb warm.

    And sites that have the same page title throughout, so if you've bookmarked or going through your history looking for a specific page you don't know which page is which, same as when listed in search engines like http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&i...acola.com+coca

    Small text is a bit annoying also, maybe sites like http://www.k10k.net/ can get away with it but not http://www.cnet.com/ or maybe I need glasses

    And icons that don't have a title tag so you don't know what they mean (ok i'm on a mac and alt doesn't appear so I'm in the minority) SP forums has made a big improvement here.

    And what's with Real? They spam me saying Free trial of the new mac RealPlayer, I click and go to page, darned if I could find the free trial, they're notorious for this.

    And suck site searches that deliver irrelevant or unsorted results, and urls that are longer than 72 characters so they get wrapped when you email them

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast agentolivia's Avatar
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    Just read the article and I appreciated the point about needing to do localisation well. My employer's site has over 12,000 pages of content, but only a very small percentage of it is translated into Spanish. So it seems to make more sense in our situation to develop a uniquely designed Spanish portal to make our Spanish content accessible instead of doing a "one-to-one" translation of the English home page's site architecture and navigation, which makes it looks like all our content is translated.

    So, point #2 of the article well taken! It was good info for my boss and helped get this translation project in our work queue.

  9. #9
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    Blunder #4 - "Under Construction"

    Lol I just new that would be in the list somewhere....

    It's incredable how many pages are under construction on the web and most are just forgotten about.

    If a designer uploads a site that he's still working on it's best to make it htt access or no index no follow.......that reminds me I must heed my own advice

    Good article BTW!


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