Once Upon a Time
It drives me crazy when I see websites that are still super flashed –out; and I mean literally using Flash all over the place so the site is technology-heavy but very un-user-friendly. All the tech guys went crazy once upon a time and for quite some time everyone oohed and aahed over all the fun stuff you could do (and the cute little noises everything made) until finally someone had some sense to realize that by the 3rd time a visitor came back to the site they were DONE with all the cute parts and just wanted to get at the information. And in case no one believed me when I said Flash was dead (or mostly dead) as an allover site solution, I would direct them to the Macromedia site – the people who created and sold Flash (which of course would now be the Adobe site since they bought out Macromedia – and I’m not very happy about that either) to say “look, even THEY aren’t using Flash for their entire site.”
So why in the world is NTEN using Flash for their Change newsletter that they introduced in March 2011? I am at this moment placing my cursor over the various articles which make a cute BEEP sound each time I touch one and it’s completely annoying the hell out of my web project manager. I admit, I’m doing it non-stop and trying to figure out if I can make it play a song.
Open Open Open
I’m actually lucky I even got it open. When I got to this page with all the little newsletter thumbnails, I clicked on the latest one and it comes up bigger with a giant Click Here to Close message at the top – except that I don’t want to close it – I want to OPEN it – all the way. So I click somewhere in the middle but nothing happens so I click like a crazy fool everywhere and it finally “opens” up after the third try. Wow – you are really going to have to be seriously motivated if you want to read this newsletter.
Then I click on the Feature Article and a nice big screen comes up with a bigger graphic of the one on the front page of the newsletter – hmmm – no article – so after clicking various places, I realize I have to click on the TINY little arrows on the right and left – but I have no sense of where I am within the newsletter or where to go from here. And trust me those little arrows are only obvious in the photo because I circled them.
While I’m exploring I find an actual ½ page dedicated to INSTRUCTIONS for using the newsletter – so I can’t be the only one that found it challenging. Well, I was going to read the main article, but now I can’t find it, nor can I find the front page. I really don’t want to take the time to read their Navigation Tips – oh, well, if I could find it again I might read it.
What I find even more intriguing is the fact that NTEN received a $1.1 million dollar grant in 2010 to “support NTEN’s work to educate technology leaders about the evolving role of technology in nonprofit work” and part of those funds were used to develop and distribute the NTEN:Change quarterly journal.
1. If your newsletter or any other communication tool requires Navigation Tips, MAYBE it’s really poorly designed and needs to go back to the drawing table. It’s just a thought.
2. Making things look cool with Flash (or any other technology) should NEVER take precedence over usability.
3. If you are going to be responsible for educating technology leaders about the role of technology, part of that education should include when NOT to use it.