Forkfly's Blog Revisited
After further consideration of Forkfly.com’s blog, I realized that navigation was category and archive based, rather than by pages. Having been engulfed in small business marketing and advertising research for the past 18 months, small business owners do not frequent blogs often enough to be able to depend on a traditional blog layout. With that in mind I decided to revisit how a user would access the blog’s content.
All content is available currently by scrolling. The page is long enough where scrolling to locate a post is exhaustive and difficult. In a time test of using a scroll wheel on my mouse, the page takes 18.8 seconds to scroll through and I retain 3 of 10 headlines. One day later, using the arrows in my web browser the page takes 5.9 seconds to scroll through and I remembered 2 of the 10 headlines. There are a total of 13 posts, each page populated by the 10 most recent posts, and naturally readers aren’t going to lay down on the scroll, but take their time to review each entry. However, as the blog continues to populate the scroll to navigate concept will become even less effective than it is currently.
In the right column the first offering for navigation is the search bar. The search results refer the user to blog postings that contain what ever was entered in to the search field, but do not give any type of alternatives for terms that return zero results. Generally speaking though, if a business owner came to Forkfly’s site and blog they would be looking for Forkfly specific content, not for general search inquiries.
The next navigation option below the search field is the Archive, broken down by the month and year of each post. This is easily accessible and intuitive if I am searching for something previously read, but is not effective in finding something new to read unless I am willing to spend more time reviewing the resulting pages. Archive is also not something the businesses without blog acumen will be familiar with as a navigation option.
Lastly the Categories option in the right column give clear directories for blog postings subject manner and each category’s title lead the reader to better understand what the subject manner behind each link is related to. There is a preconceived notion as to what the content is, lending the links to be the most intuitive and familiar navigation option.
Suggestions: From a task standpoint, the Categories panel is the best navigation option for the site and should be placed above the Archive panel. The search field may not be widely used at this point, but should migrate to the top-right hand section of the header where the majority of users will naturally look for it.
If the possibility to incorporate page tabss in to the site’s navigation that populated between the header and page, would add one of familiar usability superstars for a general population. This would allow the site to navigate in a more uniform fashion amongst any user with any level of web experience.