Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 37

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

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    4,745
    I feel your pain Dan. I'm old and not a tech, don't want to be, and when a site is hard to use I move on. I actually still prefer catalogs, with the information I need for installation on the same page and do business with companies that provide what I want.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Pirollo View Post
    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.
    I like this explanation. I can entirely see how a small, non-tech company can't effectively maintain their own website. You have to wonder, though - they can typeset, proof, and print their own catalogs, but "the internet" is too complicated? That's an interesting twist.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    I like this explanation. I can entirely see how a small, non-tech company can't effectively maintain their own website. You have to wonder, though - they can typeset, proof, and print their own catalogs, but "the internet" is too complicated? That's an interesting twist.
    No one ever hacked a Linotype machine from halfway across the globe

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Tucson, Aridzona
    Posts
    186
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    No one ever hacked a Linotype machine from halfway across the globe
    and stole 300,000 peoples credit card and/ Personally Identifiable Information. Just keeping up with GDPR (Europe), CCPA (California), etc requirements is challenging for large organizations, let alone a small company (so far only about 58% of all countries have such laws, but that number is increasing).

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    1,526
    Too often the web designers create sites using priorities that suit them. It must be easy to maintain, have utility over multiple platforms, be easy to maintain, Impress their peers, need ongoing (billable) maintenance, and be easy to maintain. Sometimes It seems the consumer is secondary in the equation.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    5,981
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    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.
    Using a payment processor makes perfect sense, they are the 'experts' and assume responsibility for financial transactions. Having a company with a 'one size fits all' philosophy designing web sites for plumbing supplies and womens' lingerie seems a little questionable to me.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    Using a payment processor makes perfect sense, they are the 'experts' and assume responsibility for financial transactions. Having a company with a 'one size fits all' philosophy designing web sites for plumbing supplies and womens' lingerie seems a little questionable to me.
    Actually, it doesn't matter whether you are selling AC fan belts or garter belts, the websites are doing the same thing, presenting products for people to select and buy. They all do the same thing: show product categories, sub-categories, sub-sub categories, size, color, brand, etc; they have a short blurb about the founder of the company; they have pretty pictures and helpful little articles on how to select PEX tubing or pair hosiery to dresses. The same template should work for both. Just put a picture of a smiling guy happily working on some piece of difficult AC equipment on one and some alluringly dressed, unrealistically airbrushed woman on the other.

    The devil is in the details. It takes time and resources to make all those categories, sub-categories, sub-sub categories, size, color, brand, breakouts; write helpful articles, and keep everything up to date. It is a collaboration between the seller and the developer. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it doesn't. The same company that doesn't have an e-commerce expert may also not have a marketing genius that knows how to make each useful subcategory to the buyer. And the sales people that know that detail might not want to waste valuable time helping out, especially if they are on commission (I don't get paid to do this crap!).

    And it isn't just about money. For example, at the family biz, the owner (my uncle) doesn't have the attention span to give all the necessary details to the web designer (my sister-in-law) to update the developer (my brother) to keep the website current. Plus it is a seasonal business, so the time when the website is most needed, no one has the time to actually maintain the website. This is despite the fact that my sister-in-law and brother don't charge anything to run the website.

    If you want an example of a good home improvement website, look at the Menards site, it is leaps and bounds ahead of HD's. They actually break out products in a useful way. HD irritates me to the point where I don't even go to it anymore. The irony is, they very well could be using the same company and the same template; one company just executed it better than the other. Bafflingly, some of the worst offenders are very large companies that in theory should have the most resources available. It might be that the sheer number of products (and customer needs/wants) overwhelms even them.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    1,772
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    Too often the web designers create sites using priorities that suit them. It must be easy to maintain, have utility over multiple platforms, be easy to maintain, Impress their peers, need ongoing (billable) maintenance, and be easy to maintain. Sometimes It seems the consumer is secondary in the equation.
    Almost all of the design contstraints you listed come from the "business" side, not the technical side. However, I do agree to some portion with your final comment that the consumer comes secondary in the new age of platform architectures. Business side which usually controls the funding wants to provide customer experience at the lowest cost point possible, which means moving to AWS or Shopify, or a few others. The cost for hosting a site on AWS is amazingly cheaper than hosting on premise, and scaling a site, while not truly as automatic as advertized, is also so much easier than doing it on premise. So, moving to AWS, in my experience, forces some compromises in architecture, such as moving away from some web support packages (content management, etc) that have not embraced AWS to those that have. These choices are what drive sites to look and behave more and more alike.

    I do hope that Lee Valley gets back to providing the same level of info it did in the past. It was my favorite web site to visit as I could actually learn something. It guided the user through the product selection process. I remember the "home" page for their hand planes, where there was a very nice description of the different types of planes, what bevel up/ bevel down meant, etc. For me as a newbie in hand planes, that info was a gold mine. Also, Lee Valley needs to add a lot more filter options so the user can drill down to a much smaller set of choices. I quickly tire of scrolling through endless rows on endless pages trying to find something that fits my need.

    As a designer/tester (retired) and now just user of commercial websites, I would have recommended that the current Lee Valley site should have stayed in the test labs until it was fleshed out more. However, I wouldn't be at all surprised that factors such as expiring contracts/licenses for supporting products forced the bare bones site into production. I would have expected though that the site evolve more quickly to a better user experience than it has.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    4,745
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    and stole 300,000 peoples credit card and/ Personally Identifiable Information. Just keeping up with GDPR (Europe), CCPA (California), etc requirements is challenging for large organizations, let alone a small company (so far only about 58% of all countries have such laws, but that number is increasing).

    so..... The internet was lauded as a boon for small business, and now the internet will be just one more hurdle driving small businesses to bankruptcy court? Ironic. Or planned?

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NE Iowa
    Posts
    515
    There are a number of things going on. Of those mentioned in this thread so far, I think GDPR and other privacy regulations, and security generally are the least important. GDPR is a pain to comply with, but it has relatively little impact on the visual or organizational character of a web site. Where these do impact is potentially on the cost of operating a bespoke website. When a business is driven to an off the shelf "platform" solution, customizing the organization and appearance require learning a whole new set of skills. Creating a good catalog in a generic catalog system for a complex product line is hard. Hoping search bails you out is fine, but the site-specific search engines are inferior to Google, so people search on Google, which takes them to Amazon or a couple of other top-line sites, not your specialty site.

    The drive to make everything mobile friendly has a big impact. Mobile device screens are too small to deliver a lot of information efficiently - forcing one to fragment the experience.

    Then there is the rise of "task orientation" as the organizing principle for much of user experience. "What do you want to do?" as the starting point is fine for someone who doesn't know what they want to buy, but is enormous frustration for those who do.

    Finally, I think retail companies that aren't Amazon simply can't afford to spend what they used to on web sites. Way too many people search for something on a great shop jammed with information tuned for some specialty, then search by part number or exact product description to get what they want from Amazon, often cheaper, probably with free delivery via Prime course it's not free, but it is already paid for).

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Tucson, Aridzona
    Posts
    186
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Edgerton View Post
    so..... The internet was lauded as a boon for small business, and now the internet will be just one more hurdle driving small businesses to bankruptcy court? Ironic. Or planned?
    The Internet was never planned to be a commerce platform.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Tucson, Aridzona
    Posts
    186
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    There are a number of things going on. Of those mentioned in this thread so far, I think GDPR and other privacy regulations, and security generally are the least important.
    I'm not sure I agree. The infra required to support all of the privacy and security requirements has gotten complicated and the fines for violation are onerous (unlike the fines in most US states). We spend a huge amount of time on GDPR (etc, since there are many more) compliance and I do nothing directly concerned with e-Commerce. If you add to that the fact that on-prem, or ever colo'd systems are so much more expensive to maintain (from just the hardware infrastructure costs alone) than cloud providers. It's no wonder that a business would move to a cloud provider. At that point, I'm not sure what they get for flexibility and customizability with their platform.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    The Hartland of Michigan
    Posts
    7,262
    I was trying to buy parts for our oven yesterday from searspartsdirect and never did get to the checkout and pay for the order. The little wheel just kept spinning around. Tried partselect. Problems there also.
    Finally went to easyapplianceparts. Found my parts, put them in the cart, and went to checkout. Paypal was a bonus. I left feedback how easy it was and kudos to their IT people.
    Never, under any circumstances, consume a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

  14. #29
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    409
    The GDPR is the reason I can't access the Home Depot website, and several other websites of interest, that are blocked because the owners haven't made the changes necessary to comply with the EU regulation. It is much easier to block EU IP addresses.

    I'm in Birmingham, AL now on a short visit, and went into the nearest HD store to browse for "must have" items. I tried to use my iPhone in the store to search for something on the HD website, but since my phone still uses the German IP, I was blocked. Walmart has figured this out, since I was able to visit its site with no problems.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    The Internet was never planned to be a commerce platform.
    From the onset the Internet's- or rather, Tim Berners-Lee's 'plan'- was to enable physicists to share information from anywhere in the world without everyone needing the same hardware and software. But it sure didn't take long for browser designers to figure out the gold mine they were dealing with...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •