For my second blog, I decided to critique Time magazine’s website, time.com. At first glance, the site is a little overwhelming, displaying a lot of information on the home page. Despite this, it is still pretty easy to navigate. It has a hierarchy of elements, starting with the large photo and headline, with the headlines getting smaller as the user scrolls down the page.
Time also does take advantage of conventions. They put sidebars on both sides of the main content that feature stories that were just posted and from the magazine. It does break little from the convention, however, by putting menus on both sides. Steve Krug’s example was Amazon, showing the sidebar menu down the left side of the website. For Amazon I don’t think menus on both side would work, but for Time it’s okay, though I would prefer just one. I think this would be true of a lot of viewers, because as Krug said, it’s important to follow user’s expectations because it can increase reliability.
I do enjoy that as the user scrolls, the sidebar on the left stays in place. I think this offers users a sense of control and consistency that makes the usability of the site better. The menu bar across the top stays put as well to allow navigation to other Time Inc. sites, which I think is a good touch.
I think that the way Time has its website set up responds well to the idea that “Users don’t read, they scan.” With all the headlines on the page, and short teasers to the actual stories, readers can scan over the page easily to find what they may be looking for.
Overall, one of the only changes I would make to the site is to de-clutter it. I feel like there is too much to choose from on the home page and it’s all squeezed together. But I don’t think the current site is unsuccessful or unusable.
Like the beginning of the article said, “Usability and the utility, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of a web-site.” So because the Time site is very usable and user-friendly, it is still successful despite its hectic home page.