Dear Abby Reanalysis

I originally analyzed DearAbby.com for aesthetic problems noting it is amateurishly designed and does not imply the credibility or sophistication typically associate with the column. While I still think the biggest problem with Abby’s website is its unattractiveness, upon further review she may be relying too much on assumed historical knowledge of her column as well.

When a new visitor comes to the website its purpose isn’t obvious. Today’s Dear Abby is simply front and center with no explanation at the top as to what Dear Abby is. Nor is Today’s Dear Abby called out in a way to attract the eye or provide a visual queue as to its importance.Today's Abby Screen Shot

There is, however, a brief bio on the left side bar which has too many words for that space, requiring that the viewer scroll down to see the full story. This identifies “Abby” but you still have to go to a separate About Abby page to see what the column is about, the extent of her syndication and why her advice is considered a trusted source.

In comparison with my own home page on SocialiteBulb I now realize adding a tagline of some sort under the nameplate is essential. This will ensure new visitors will know what they are looking at. I also need to expand content in the About page, as well, to provide more information.

Since most people do know of Dear Abby it is forgivable that this biographical information is poorly offered and that the majority of her home page is today’s column. However, designers of Abby’s site need to do a better job with the information hierarchy. If you look at the right side bar, there seems to be no reasoning to the order of information.

Screen shot showing random order of sub tasks

In addition, Abby also doesn’t use any of today’s familiar tools for connecting with her constituents. There is no RSS feed tool option, no Facebook or Twitter presence. At best a fan can subscribe to receive the column via email and this option is just one of several random links in a square box on the right side generically entitled DearAbby.com.

The opportunity to submit a question, Abby’s core offering, is also in this list of random sub tasks. Submitting a question for Abby to consider should be the easiest and most obvious task for a visitor to complete but this opportunity does not stand out.

Contact Abby screen shot

For SocialiteBulb I’ll need to improve the Contact Sondra options and make sure these are clear calls to action.

Abby also has a More box in the right side bar and a handy calendar but everything is so awkward and boxy. Again, I’m back considering the aesthetics but this is a case of form seriously impacting function.

Cleary, Dear Abby can rest on her laurels a bit due to her long standing success and global name recognition. However, her modern-day persona does have an antiquated look and feel that leaves her open to smarter and sharper looking competition.

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