For our first post, we pick two websites as our example of good or bad interface design.
Good Interface Design: Facebook
Facebook is the definitive social media website that barely needs any introduction. As of March 2012, there are over 800 million Facebook users. We highlight some great Facebook interface features:
+ Clear & Concise Sign Up Page
A concise sign up page makes it easier for people to join Facebook. This interface design makes its quick and simple for users to sign up by requesting only vital registration info. Other personal info are filled in gradually after the users have joined and began the experience.
+ Visibility of Status Updates and Comments
Taken from Flour Power
Whenever users post updates or comments, the Facebook feed is instantly updated. Seeing the updated post feels like the natural result of typing. The responsiveness of the interface encourages interaction among friends and provides a better user experience.
+ Personalization Options
Facebook also allows users to customize pages and manage aspects of their accounts. The flexibility invites greater investment from the users and provides a more engaging Facebook experience.
+ Tabbed Chat
Having tabbed chats gives users stronger sense of control and organization over their chatting activities. This design also allows the users to multitask and use other Facebook features while chatting.
+ Modal Windows with Darkened Background
When a picture is selected, a modal window is opened with a dark background. By blocking out the content in the background, the interface shifts the focus to the picture, allowing the user to view with greater clarity and interact with the picture with ease.
Bad Interface Design: SIPhawaii.com
SIPhawaii.com is an e-commerce website that sells and ships Hawaiian products to a few countries. However, its interface design probably does more harm than help.
– Cluttered Design
- Taken from Siphawaii.com
- That is the homepage of SIPhawaii.com. It is overloaded with too many product pictures and descriptions. Although there is a semblance of order upon inspection, the interface design is hardly intuitive for users to navigate.
- A possible improvement will be to organize the products into different tabs (ex.:Coffee, Tea, Island Food) with a menu to navigate between them. With less visual overload and more space, the page will look more comprehensible and allow more emphasis on essential details.
– Too Wordy
The 4 page shipping details are found on the bottom half of the homepage, right below the display of all products. It is rather tedious and frustrating for users to read through the entire chunk of text to find the information they are looking for.
We would suggest that the shipping details to be summarized with the important info such as postage details presented in a concise table. Also, the unnecessary details should be dropped so that the users can find what they want without fuss. This would shorten the unwieldy length of the page.
– Too Many Pictures
If a picture paints a thousand words, then there are way too many words in the page shown above. This interface design distracts the users. Furthermore, while the order can be made at the bottom of that page, clicking on any picture brings the user to another page with the same order form. The design feels confusing and redundant.
We think that the a better way of organizing the page would to be provide drop down menu for the users to choose the product. By separating the products into individual pages, there will be less distraction, clearer direction and significantly faster loading time for the users.
Conclusion: Experience makes or breaks websites
For great user experience, accessibility and clarity are essential. This can be achieved by simple and organized interface design and responsiveness as Facebook has shown us.
On the other hand, SIPhawaii.com’s excessive and redundant content and lack of organization results in a frustrating and confusing experience for the users. In our opinion, that is a bad interface design that leaves much to be desired.