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.