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Thread: Why are so many websites switching to templates that are so un-navigable?

  1. #1

    Why are so many websites switching to templates that are so un-navigable?

    Example: I used to buy Blum Tandem slides from Woodworker's Hardware because their website made it easy to understand what clips, brackets, etc, went with the slides. They had a nice, if not simple, website. The page for the Blum Tandems had installation instructions, you could select what length you wanted, etc.

    They've switched the website to some template that looks like it was designed for generic e-commerce, and is impossible to navigate. How is this useful parameterization?
    1.JPG

    If I search for the part number (536h), I do find them, but the item page no longer has anything useful (install instructions, other lengths, needed clips/brackets, etc). But, hey, if I want to tweet about them, or share them to Facebook, or offer a "Testimonial", I guess I can!

    2.JPG

    There should be some logical taxonomy, but if I'm looking for drawer slides, do I look in "Kitchen" or "Bathroom"? What sense is there in having "closets" in the same top-level as "hinges"? Do no closets have hinges?
    3.jpg


    Lee Valley did something similar. Again, I don't see how this type of parameterization is useful. If I'm looking for a protractor, is my "Activity" "framing" or "construction"? Clearly, "Marking" is not the same top-level category as "Guitar making". This is not useful!

    4.jpg


    So I don't get it. It feels like they took a step back 10 years (in terms of usability). What is driving companies to take their websites and shoe-horn them into these generic e-commerce website templates that clearly are non-ideal for the products they're trying to sell?

  2. #2
    It probably is some thing about making them mobile device friendly. Not sure if they are succeeding or not, but it is a trend I have noticed as well. Maybe they just want to support only one website, rather than one for desktops (for Luddites like me that still use them) and one for tablets/phablets/phones, like normal people use.

  3. #3
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    Andrew, did you just admit to not being normal? I still use a desktop computer with a large monitor. I have a smart phone and a small tablet (that I seldom use) but I wouldn't think of looking at one of those type websites on them. I think we are going to be getting a generation of young folks who will be very nearsighted.

  4. #4
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    Any time you experience a site that you think is not useful or a step backwards, take the time to give them feedback. Sometimes this will result in changes.

    JKJ

  5. #5
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    If you want a headache type website to question, just go to Lowes and HD. They are the worst. You can type in a specific item that you know they have and it will give you everything under the sun except what you are trying to find. I don't have a clue who designs these websites, but it's probably the same idiots who design automobiles.
    SWE

  6. #6
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    HD and Lowes seem to forcing you to go into the store to see if they carry an item. I thank it is intentional that they do not use logic in their search engines. the more limiters you have the more, not less, results you get
    I believe they think if you go to their website you will buy something so it is in their interests to make your search hard so they can sell you stuff that no one ever searches for.
    Example if your search includes "-plastic". it should exclude plastic from the results. A hoe depot and lowes it will include every item that has the word "plastic" in the description!
    Bill D
    Bill D.

  7. #7
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    John, I did send an email to Lowes with no response from them. I then mentioned it lt the local store manager and she just shrugged her shoulders. As if to say, "Who cares". Makes me want to spend my money elsewhere if I have the time to wait.
    SWE

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    ... So I don't get it. It feels like they took a step back 10 years (in terms of usability). What is driving companies to take their websites and shoe-horn them into these generic e-commerce website templates that clearly are non-ideal for the products they're trying to sell?
    Rob Lee addressed a lot of this, over many posts on several sites, when the new Lee Valley site went live.

    If I understand it, two big reasons jumped out to me. First Google started prioritizing ease of mobile use so highly they'd dropped entirely out of search results for their own products. Second the different, and changing, regulations were becoming impossible to implement on their old webpage based site. I guess the new template based, database driven, multi-format sites are the future. Rob said there are a lot of knobs they are still learning and haven't used yet and they hope to have their site back to as useful as it was. I hope they succeed and, if they do, it'd tell us the rest just don't care enough to make that effort.

  9. #9
    Not exactly on topic but almost-

    I found this at my local Lowes, thought it was pretty cool, turns out it's a great bathroom fan, I highly recommend it if you're in the market! - Bluetooth speaker, blue and off-white night lites, 4-brightness main light which is like REALLY BRIGHT on high, and it really moves the air out while barely making a sound--
    lowesfan.jpg
    -but there wasn't an online user manual.
    and as it turns out, not one in the box either, just an installation guide..

    So I go to the Homewerks website, and right on the front page it shows the fan I bought!
    bathfan.jpg
    -but as I'm searching their website for a manual, not only do they not have a manual, they don't sell this fan!
    Why would you put a photo of a fan on your main page that's not for sale on your website? There's 14 fans listed, and this one isn't one of them!

    I still don't know where to get a manual, but it's pretty easy to figure out, thankfully!
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  10. #10
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    Two likely reasons...one, to support mobile device using customers which are quickly becoming the primary way many folks shop and two, because many, if not most, are now using a few specific ecommerce service providers rather than running their own systems. You'll probably notice that many of the sites look "somewhat the same" and that's because they are, in fact, the same service provider and in many cases, there is limited customization available. IE...it's all about money.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Two likely reasons...one, to support mobile device using customers which are quickly becoming the primary way many folks shop and two, because many, if not most, are now using a few specific ecommerce service providers rather than running their own systems. You'll probably notice that many of the sites look "somewhat the same" and that's because they are, in fact, the same service provider and in many cases, there is limited customization available. IE...it's all about money.
    While that may be true, in my case, I just bought the Blum parts from Amazon because I couldn't find them on WW Hardware. Which is sad, because WW Hardware is a local business (to me).

  12. #12
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    Oh, I understand, Dan. Amazon gets more and more of my hardware (and CNC tooling) business simply because it's easier. I was just providing the reasons I've seen for what you described.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Two likely reasons...one, to support mobile device using customers which are quickly becoming the primary way many folks shop and two, because many, if not most, are now using a few specific ecommerce service providers rather than running their own systems. You'll probably notice that many of the sites look "somewhat the same" and that's because they are, in fact, the same service provider and in many cases, there is limited customization available. IE...it's all about money.
    It is probably also about security and compliance (which is indirectly about the money, but mostly about staying in business). Having a third party e-commence run the site at least transfers (some of the) liability to them. No one wants to be the next big we-got-hacked news story. Most small and even medium sized businesses don't have the expertise or resources to fight all the hackers and malware out there. Even big companies struggle with it.

    At some point it makes sense to just give up and let the experts run your site. And 'the experts' want as few templates and as little code to manage as possible, as every little bit of customization and complexity here and there increases exponentially the number of things that can go wrong or be hacked.

    That said, a lot of those new sites are annoying to use at best an impossible to find things at worst.

  14. #14
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    Yes, that's true, Andrew. New security and privacy requirements are having significant impact on ecommerce, even if a business isn't taking orders from other global geographic areas. Using a service provider means that even if one isn't required to meet certain standards, they are still going to be covered because other businesses using the same provider may have those requirements. The global economy affects everything at this point.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Years ago, web sites were highly customized and individualized. I used to program in HTML but it became more and more difficult to keep up with the ever-changing technology. There used to be no standards in web site development. It was the Wild West . My first web site in 1997 would work with IE but not with Netscape (remember that browser...lol). So had to kluge the HTML code to attempt to work on either platform. It did get better but the standards have become complex. Fast forward to today and I have one web site on Shopify and another in WordPress ( had someone create it for me). Will likely move that web site to a common web site serving platform such as Shopify. My wife's web site for her jewelry is through Wix. What I am saying is that I have given up on keeping up with web site technology, especially with the advent of mobile support. It can be a nightmare to make a web site work on desktop and mobile. I have embraced these web site providers.. So why not leave it to the experts. Downside is that most, if not all web sites have a similar look and feel (GUI) aside from small customizations. The back end is the same however. So maybe this explains how web sites behave similarly today.

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