Reanalysis of Greyhound Pets of America Greater Northwest
A task-based analysis of the Greyhound Pets of America Greater Northwest (http://www.gnwgreyhounds.org/) reveals that site’s navigation could be more efficient to serve its primary purposes. The design certainly doesn’t help navigation. A few clicks can be eliminated as could a pop-up window.
1. Browse available Greyhounds: The button, ‘Available Dogs,’ is clearly labeled. However with more than fifteen buttons the same size and color it is not in a prominent place as it is the primary reason for people to visit www.gnwgreyhounds.org.
The available dogs page is all text. It is not titled as such, so if a user lands on the page from another link, it could be a bit confusing. All the text is the same size. Combined with the lack of pictures, there is not visual hierarchy with which to guide viewers. There are four links to available dogs separated by sex and again by those available dogs east of the Cascades and those available west of the Cascades. The links are underlined, but so is some of the other text, so the links don’t stand out.
Clicking on a link takes users to the pages with the dogs of their choosing in their particular area. To get more information about a particular dog, users click on the dog’s name and a pop-up window comes up with more information if available. Instructions to click the names are at the top of the page.
The instructions at the top of the page are useless. I doubt users read them. The same is probably true for the contact information at the top of the page. Users want to see the dogs and the dogs’ profiles. Rather than have instructions to click the name to see a dog’s profile, have the picture link to another page not a pop-up page as some people’s browsers block pop-ups. There is no reason that the dog profiles couldn’t be on be one page with a link to see more photos. It would reduce the number clicks and allow users to scroll instead of clicking to see profiles and then having the close the pop-up window when done.
Other features that might be appropriate would be a mail link near the dogs profile so that users can express interest in a particular dog. A link to begin the application process would also be helpful as would an online application process.
2. Start the process of adopting a greyhound: To begin the process of adopting a greyhound, users must find the click on the ‘Adoption Info’ button, which blends in with the other fifteen buttons. The label could be more precise in describing what the link does. Again, the page doesn’t have a visual hierarchy. The title is the same size as the body text. Another bothersome aspect is that some of the text is centered. Caveats, warning and requirements for adopting a greyhound should be set apart from the rest with better formatting than stars and centered text.
There is a downloadable quiz and application. The application must be printed, filled out and mailed in. An online option would be a more efficient feature, which may not be what the organization wants as it would makes it easier and potential adopters must put in more effort that a few clicks of a button to adopt a greyhound.
At the bottom of the page are some greyhound reference books, which should be featured more prominently with links to a bookstore where those books can be purchased.
3. Find Greyhound Meet and Greet: Potential adopters are encouraged to meet grey hounds at meet and greets at various pets stores in the Puget Sound and in the Inland Northwest. The calendar is text-based. Again, without any visual hierarchy it is a list of dates, beginning with special events at the top of the list. If a user doesn’t scroll down he or she will not see the meet and greet booths toward the bottom.
Furthermore meet and greets are ongoing events and listed not based on date but on the first and/or third Sunday of every month at a pet store, which is listed without a street address. Users must go to the to pet store web site and find a location based on the store locator feature of the website. At the very least the www.gnwgreyhounds.org should have street address for the pet stores and a grid-based calendar that shows when meet and greets are going to occur without users having to looks at a separate calendar. The site can still highlight upcoming special events in an adjacent space on the screen.
Conclusion: All three tasks are achievable using the www.gnwgreyhounds.org. However, they can be done so with more efficiency with better design and fewer clicks.