As a favor for some consultants who are working on a marketing proposal for the Montreal Impact’s upcoming move to Major League Soccer, I have been working on a revamped version of the Montreal Impact website they’re going to pitch. For the sake of posterity, here is a screen shot of what the web site looks like now:
So… what’s wrong with this web site? I’m going to spend a few days over the next week sharing some of my observations.
Observation #3: Don’t Interfere With The User’s Habits Or Expectations
When I right-click on the main navigation menu items on the Impact’s web site, it does nothing! I know that left-clicking on them will direct me somewhere else… and this gets under my skin, not as a web developer, but as a user; I want to right-click those navigation elements, and who the hell are the Impact’s web masters to impose strange rules and constraints on my behavior when I am visiting their web site from the comfort of my own home, using the computer I own, with the Internet subscription I pay for, visiting their web site so as to potentially give them my money buying merchandise or tickets! No web site should play with the end user’s basic expectations of how they interact with the web. If you do, chances are you’ll just annoy and alienate your users.
Let’s move away from the web for a second; imagine you’re a customer, placing an order with a business. You call by phone, and are served by an automated voice recognition system. It tells you "if you’d like to purchase an item, please sing the F# above middle C, and hold the note for at least 2 seconds." You’d probably be a little surprised, and since the service didn’t respect your expectations of how you would interact with it, one of two things would happen:
- You’ll hang up the phone and bring your business elsewhere.
- You’ll continue with your purchase, but be disinclined to use the service again.
This is how your end user feels when little things that they value (like not being able to "open if a new tab") don’t work. (and no, there is no third option where you just find it weird and continue normally.) They will either navigate to another web site, or they will finish their current transaction, and then be hesitant to come back.
Don’t Change The Behavior of Links
So I’ve effectively already mentioned this, but we have the same problem again with the "Montreal 2012" link:
… and here it changes the behavior of the link in yet another (unacceptable) way. When the user moves their mouse over this image they don’t get the finger (pointer) cursor, so the user is probably surprised and confused when they click on it and are directed to another page… another site even.
What we should be seeing is this:
Unless the user sees this finger/pointer cursor no element on your web site should do anything special when clicked on, especially not navigate away from the current page.
Make Sure All Links Are Clickable
I have probably spent hours by now, trying to click on the ‘Français’ link in the top right corner.
It is completely impossible. I don’t think I need to go on at any length about why this is bad.