Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Desirability, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Layout is one of frequent discussion, especially in the latest wave of online products and how they handle content presentation and interaction.
The relationships between and among various page elements, how they play off of one another, constructively guiding a process, or organizationally segmenting a concept, can influence how accepted, by the user, the product is, and how Desirable, how much they (the users) will actually want to use it.
Today, we will look at an example of an Internet product with Poor Visual Hierarchy, representing a Layout value of +0.0.
Example: Poor Visual Hierarchy (value = +0.0)
GoDaddy is a website whose primary purpose is to enable people to purchase and setup domain names. Despite a major redesign that this web product has recently undergone, it remains an excellent example of a product Layout with Poor Visual Hierarchy. This assessment is easily accomplished through the evaluation of the homepage, whose Layout and design characteristics are echoed throughout the website.
To start off, identifying the most important element of this page cannot be accomplished through any visual cues of Layout. As a matter of fact, the Layout and structure of the page presents to a great deal of redundant information…
And numerous hot-points on the page, all competing for the initial attention of the visitor’s eyeballs upon arrival, most obviously indicated by the use of the strong oranges and reds on the page.
Is the most important information on this page,
or Logging in,
or Email offers,
or Buying $1.99 domains,
or Starting a domain name search,
or Buying web hosting,
or Expressing myself through .me domains,
or Getting a .tv domain
Furthermore, GoDaddy logo and tagline, ‘The Web is Your Domain,’ are dwarfed with respect to the other competing priorities of this page.
Even if one can conclude the various competing elements on this page are all equally important and can be concluded as the top of the page’s Visual Hierarchy, their redundancy of purpose and message, as well as no clear relationships between most neighboring elements of the page, and no clear secondary elements (unless one attempts to claim everything else would be secondary) further erodes any potential inherent Visual Hierarchy.
Adding to the destruction of the page’s Visual Hierarchy is the clutter of buttons, general content, and marketing on the page. The use of white space and relational placement appear to have no purpose in indicating the importance, or relative importance, of the plethora of options on the page, beyond the lower tier importance attributed to those elements placed in the footer.
The primary usage of whitespace is limited to offsetting the messaging / actions for…
…all of these options offering a small subset of basic and secondary (or tertiary) services, especially in contrast to many of the other more basic options that can be found on this page for the searching and registering of domain names, in general.
GoDaddy’s homepage, as well as the rest of the web product, provide such a diffused Layout and structured experience as to make identifying either the important or even merely sought after actions an unnecessarily time consuming effort, all contributing to the distinction of being a solid, educational example of a web product with Poor Visual Hierarchy.
Over the next several weeks I will be providing real-world examples of Layout values…
Clear Visual Hierarchy (value +0.4)
Fair Visual Hierarchy (value +0.2)
Poor Visual Hierarchy (value +0)
Non-negative Visual Flow (value +0.3)
Negative Visual Flow (value +0)
Poor Sequential Flow (value -0.15)
Inconsistent Grouping (value +0.15)
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