Good Ol' Fashioned Constructive Criticism

Album Cover: Begin To Hope

"On the radio, you hear November Rain. That solo's awful long, but it's a good refrain."
Regina Spektor / On The Radio

Posted on January 20, 2007 6:34 PM in Web Design
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Back in November I posted about the redesign of my Coldplay site. I offered up a screenshot, talked a bit about some of the design process, mentioned that I was pretty proud of it, and then solicited feedback. I didn't get any, but that's not really a big deal.

More importantly, I posted an announcement to the site's forum regarding the fresh design and, again, solicited feedback.

Fast-forward to well over a month later, and I received my first feedback from one of my site's visitors:

I think it would make more sense to put the sub-heading links underneath the main links. For instance, if I mouse over the "MUSIC" heading, I'm presented with a list of albums/etc on the right of the menu links. to get to them, I have to move around all the other headings to get to them to ensure I don't accidentally mouse over a different one. If you put these sub menu links underneath the main ones in a second bar, then not only is it easier and more fluid to navigate, you'll be able to fit more into them as well.

But yeah, it feels kind of awkward right now.

This is very interesting, and very important feedback. It doesn't come from fellow developers or designers who have preferences about colors or fonts or fixed vs. fluid layouts. It comes from a real user who cares about the content and wants to access it easily.

I actually agree with the criticism and think navigation was handled better in the previous design (which actually implemented navigation the way this particular user is requesting). However, I moved the sub-navigation to the side as a conscious design decision. If I tweak the design in the future (as opposed to completely redoing it, which may be more likely), I'll have to think about how I can revert to the old method.

That is a discussion for another time, though. I'm just happy to read some good ol' fashioned constructive criticism from a real user.


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