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…

daily digital: Ireland’s Pan Pan Theatre shows how to show

Tell the audience something they don’t know.

They know you have a Facebook page. They know you’re on Twitter. They know that if they desire to give you money, presumably you have a way to accept it. They (may) know your shows are “invigorating”, “cutting edge”, “inspiring”, etc.

So if they know all that boring stuff already – don’t tell them again. Instead, dispense with all that and tell them something they don’t know. Or better yet – show them.

Ireland’s famed Pan Pan Theatre has a web site so simple and effective, you might think it hasn’t changed in 20 years. And yet it stands out from all the clutter.

And – what a coincidence – so do Pan Pan’s shows.

Any time you find yourself about to write “We’re on Facebook”, replace it with “We have a telephone” and test the effect this news has on a friend’s pulse.

Less is always more.

Assuming you have the more in your work.

Just you and the art.
Just you and the art.

daily digital: At Soho Rep, the web site is the show

Could Soho Rep’s web site get any better?

No.

Well, it could dispense free money or Broadway tickets. But short of that – this web site exemplifies everything you want your brand to be.

It is, first of all, an experience. It is a show to watch and get you interested – just like the real show. The visuals are beautiful. There is no clutter. Every last inch radiates a cohesive design aesthetic. You click, you learn, you get sucked in.

And it’s just another WordPress blog.

The limiting factor on any brand is not the cost or the technology – it’s the vision.

Got vision?

It's art, but it also has all the info you want.
It’s art, but it also has all the info you want.