daily digital: Interactive fail | New menu navigation on OregonLive.com enhances web site’s standing as least functional on planet

If you’re among the 200 people who still suffer through OregonLive.com, you’ll notice a recent menu change that makes it even harder to use one of the planet’s ugliest and least functional web sites.

When you hit the site now you get this little nugget:

The use of this new icon is not the problem.
The use of this new icon is not the problem.

OregonLive is adopting a common approach used on sites like the NYT.

The icon of three horizontal bars in upper left of NYT opens a section drop down.
The icon of three horizontal bars in upper left of NYT opens a section drop down.

But apparently the O site does not get that even with this new entry point to all sections, you always need to show the user across the top menu bar where they are on the site. This persistent navigation is one of a handful of key principles for web design.

If I go to the Theater page on NYT via the upper left icon, the normal menu bar across the top still shows me where I am.

snip3

But on the O site, after using the new menu to get to a page…

Use the new menu to get somewhere...
Use the new menu to get somewhere…

…the horizontal menu context is now gone. You’re somewhere – who knows where. And even worse, you have no visual representation of what else the site offers nearby.

I'm on the Performance page - but note how there is no menu context along top to tell me that.
I’m on the Performance page – but note how there is no menu context along top to tell me that.

Readers of the moribund outlet can now enjoy being even more lost than usual.

Apparently staff cuts at the O now include the web design team…