How can we improve the new

Roll out this idea to ALL .Gov sites

Propose this site layout to all .Gov entities. It might not work for all; but for say, National Labs, it would be a plus.

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Daniel Russell shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →


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  • Content Strategist commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Um, no. As participants in a year-long series of usability tests I did for proposed designs for another site said about this type of layout, you've featured fluff at the top and hidden the substance.

    It's important to remember that this is not *your* website. You maintain this website for its owners, the people of the United States. When we come here, we are not looking for entertainment or a sales pitch. We are coming here to carry out business. And many of us won't find what we need for two reasons:

    -1- You've designed a false bottom into the page. Whether the concept of "the fold" is canon or myth is heavily debated. I happen to fall on the "myth" side. But regardless of where a UX professional stands on that debate, it's hard to argue with repeated results in usability tests that people tend to stopp scrolling when they hit a false bottom — that is, when something in the design suggests that the page has ended. The enclosed frame of the rotating image is such a false bottom. In my browser, the bottom of that frame is at the bottom of the window when the page opens. There are no vertical structures encouraging me to scroll down the page. I've seen this time and again in usability tests: Under those conditions, most people won't scroll. You have a lot of useful stuff down the page, but they'll never find it.

    -2- Above that false bottom, almost all the real estate is stuff about you — as I said earlier, the kind of stuff people who come here to engage with you would consider to be "fluff." In the usability tests I have conducted with similar designs, even when people scroll past fluff, and even when eye tracking shows that their eyes are looking at stuff below the fluff, most people don't really see it. That is, the link they need could be plain as day down there, their eyes could move to it, and it still wouldn't register with their brain that they had just found the link to the information they needed to get or the task they needed to complete.

    Yes, it's pretty. No, it won't work. At least not for most of your customers.

    Make their website work for them. Please.

  • Dan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, seriously! Have you seen The people who regulate our nuclear reactors apparently created their home page on Geocities.

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