Katz Chap 1

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The site I'd like to use for this response is AARP.org. It's nice to see that they have improved the site over recent years, but there is still SO MUCH information. The designer tries to create a hierarchy of information through the structure of the site (menu bar and nav bar), but ultimately fails. The data is too dense and completely overwhelming:

  • The Top of the website has four menu bars
  • The left hand navigational menu has 83 items
  • In case you miss the left hand navigation, those exact same items are listed again at the bottom of the page
  • The main content of the page has 18 different categories vying for your attention.

With so much information trying to grab the user's attention, there's no way for the user to know where they should go to get the information they are looking for. The menu bar and left navigation are meant to provide structure and some form of a hierarchy, but so many items cluttering up those bars and other items on the main content of the page, the hierarchy fails and the user is left lost.

I can see the issue from the designer's point of view as well. There is just so much information, how do you portray it all? How do you make sure the user can find everything that they need? I believe the idea was to put everything out there so the user can see it all, but having such a dense collection of information actually hides the information.

There also issues happening on the part of the user too. I can only use myself as an example, but seeing all that information on one page is complete overwhelming. It makes me as a user to not even want to look for what I'm trying to find. It just seems like too much effort. I'm therefore likely to skim the page in order to find what I need fast, which will make more likely to miss what I'm looking for.

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Comments

The information overload is

The information overload is what makes this website hard to use. It's hard to understand all of that information at one time. I think it's interesting that the layout is almost organized after a CNN or MSN etc. news sources but is primarily about credit/insurance/discounts. It makes the news information hard to distinguish from the advertisements, which to me detracts from the credibility and usability of the site.

In looking for a mobile app

In looking for a mobile app for this site I found 3 separate ones for AARP. Mobile sites usually contain just the bare essentials. So it looks like they even had a content issue in designing for mobile as well. I wonder if the website should have some pathway pages that could make it much simpler to find where you'd like to go.
Also, the giant clump of links at the bottom of the page may be useful if you did not have to scroll a half mile south to get there.
This is a good example Heidirs.

I agree with both of you.

I agree with both of you. Also, there are way too many advertisements on the right side of the page. Just because this website is geared towards an older crowd doesn't mean it can't have a modern layout. I'm sure older people find it much harder to navigate this website due to the designer's insensitivity towards the limitations of the audience (as Katz would say).

Poor color scheme

Agree with everything that's been said. In addition, the beige color scheme doesn't attract the eye towards the navigation. With so many nav. bars I think the site should make use of hover drop down menus.