You may or may not have noticed, but Odeo has had a redesign of their website up for a couple of weeks now and although I am a fan of simplicity, I fail to see how this redesign makes their site any easier to use. I can’t speak as if I know the goals of the site, but I can talk a little about why I think it fails in achieving my goals as a user.
I will admit that initially when I saw that site I thought it was a brilliant tactic to take everything away and simply give users 5 options:
- Record Audio
- Share with People
- Podcast to the World
- Discover New Audio
However, after the first click I began to see the flaws in the design. If you are going to make a site this simple then the whole user experience should be simple. When I hover over any section of the Record Audio option and the whole section changes background colors, I expect to be able to click on any section of that option. However, I am only allowed to click certain parts to get me to the next step.
When I see “Record Audio” on such a simple site, I would figure that the next screen would be a place where I get to record my audio immediately. Instead I come across three “Record” buttons and none of them are clickable. I guess I have to signup to get to this option, but why tease me with a record screen that has 3 buttons that make me want to click on them?
Wouldn’t it be possible to let me record some audio, save it, and if I want to use it make me signup then? If I don’t signup just simply delete it. If you are going to streamline the site you might as well streamline the process as well.
Almost reminds me of the mid-nineties when websites were simply online catalogs.
The Signup Form
I have spoken with a number of people who love the Odeo signup form. Unsuprisingly I hate it.
The look alone makes me feel like I am signing up for some children’s website and this is coming from someone whose company’s homepage could’ve been designed by Fisher-Price. Maybe I am expecting to know what I am signing up for. Just a little paragraph to justify or reassure me.
Also, all those big fonts just give me an uneasy feeling. They aren’t easier to read to me because each one is fighting for sight attention. I just get drawn to everything all at once and therefore can’t concentrate on one thing ever.
In Odeo’s case I just think that less does not equal simplicity and in fact makes their site more difficult than the previous version.
Here were 37signals thoughts on the design. I will discuss Big and Web 2.0 in my next entry.