Frustation in Navigation

In Comm class, we had to evaluate more sites in terms of usability, which was the reasoning behind attacking the fancy but failing toothpaste website from my last post.  Truth be told, I would have blogged about it anyway.

www.bluebell.com seems like a decently designed website when first encountered in class. Designed like a cabinet, everything is broken up into visible categories described by a pop-up label when scrolled over with the cursor. There was even a menu underneath if you didn’t feel like being interactive.

However, if I actually had to use the site, I realized there were too many options and that I would have definitely peaced out from being frustrated before I even came to the conclusion that they didn’t have information to help me anyway.

The splash page is nice.  It tells you which “blue bell” you’ve come across and eases you into the complications behind it.

The good:

  • cute design
  • vaguely attempted hierarchy of needs: ice cream in center, which gives way to info about year-round available, commonly consumed ice cream flavors–nutritional stats, etc.
  • broken up areas
  • conventions: home button, faq page, log in button, contact, etc.
  • highlights where the user has been–if using the bottom menu

The bad:

  • three, yes THREE, different menus: the cabinet; the menu that pops up when you pass over the navigation compass; and the menu at the bottom.  All of the menus differ slightly.
  • the clearest, “don’t make me think”-menu is at the bottom, not the top
  • unclear headings: what folks say, dear blue bell, contact–which to pursue?
  • no search box
  • “Country Store” sells blue bell merch, not the ice cream itself
  • can’t order ice cream online
  • map shows what regions product is sold in but not what stores

There are too many questions to think about when trying to navigate the site.  The pages, if you can find the one you want, are all quite wordy as well.  What I thought was cute is not worth it in all senses of practicality and usability. I vote nay.

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This entry was posted in Communication Theory and Practice: Fall 2012, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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