Subject: Re:
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 12:42:33 -0800

"Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- capulet -dot- com> wrote in message
news:225178 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> Does anybody else think the STC home page could use an overhaul? It took
> me, like, 45 seconds to locate the Search button.
> We were recently discussing the seven, plus or minus two rule on this
> list. The STC appears to have applied the 67, plus or minus 32 rule to
> their site. While I applaud certain design decisions (for example, the
> big 'EMPLOYERS' and 'JOB SEEKER'--which ought to be 'SEEKERS'--buttons),
> I'm crippled by choice. There have to be at least 60 links off that home
> page. Furthermore, the site design gives few hints about which links are
> most important--everything seems to have equal weight.
> For a society of technical communicators, you'd think we could do
> better. Mind you, my membership has lapsed, so I'm just griping. Cheers.
> DB.

Nothing wrong with griping. If no one complained (and many don't, suffering
in silence), nothing could improve.

As a matter of fact, that site was recently redesigned, and it's an
improvement. Before, I couldn't even see the naviagation menus, and it was
hell finding the jobs database. They've improved the job search UI as well.

Links are what the web is about. Links are what attract readers' eye (as
well as graphics) on a web page. some of the best, well-organized, and most
highly used sites are little more than links.

Still, there are issues. While "Search" is in a place common on many pages,
the contrast leaves a lot to be desired. Also, most sites that provide
search functionality also provide a text bos to enter search terms, then a
link to more detailed search options. The current design is a one-off.

The text is too small.

The member login section is misplaced (it should be more prominent).

The links are the not only the wrong color, but the gray *hides* them from
readers rather than allowing them to stand out like they should.

And that's all from just a quick glance at the actual content and layout. I
wonder how they'd react to an STC Conference session proposal along the
lines of "Usability Issues with the STC Web Site (and Proposed Solutions,"
or maybe a panel discussion similar to the deconstruction of Yahoo's help
system like was done a couple of years ago at the Online help conference.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day
may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our friends and
break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf

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