New website design feedback


#1

I wish I could say something more encouraging, but the new website is overall negative in my view. It’s full of distracting things where some web designer is showing off gimmicks. It all detracts from the core message, the substance of the site. It was obviously designed by people focusing on having the facade of a “modern website” totally oblivious to actual user experience. Just a few specifics:

  • “There are better voting methods” (plural) jumps to a page about one single voting method
  • “Join our Movement” is the main button but anyone who already wants to join will find out how, and anyone new is not ready to join having read one sentence.
    • And joining asks for an email with “sign me up” button with no clarity about what I’m actually signing up for!! (Is it a newsletter?) — it would even make more sense to encourage people to join this forum. Signing up for a newsletter does not feel like joining a “movement”.
  • “About” is a menu, there’s no plain landing page for “about” for people who don’t know what they are looking for yet (all the other menu items click to go somewhere)
  • “Problem and solution” does an annoying animated gimmick, it takes some energy and time to figure out what to do to read anything meaningful, the left-side is a bunch of jargon, clicking on one makes a white-on-light-green non-standard, strangely shaped block of far-too-small text show up in the circle on the right. The circle even has a gradient so the middle is white text on even-lighter green. The text bits are not themselves inspiring or convincing even. And then having looked at this, the prompt is to donate!
  • Everything from the color design to the animations to the layout is overall bad

This goes on and on. The whole design seems mostly wrong at all levels from superficial color and interaction details to the entire conceptual design of how / where / what visitors are expected to use the site. I could use this as a good demonstration prototype of how to fail at web design.

I guarantee you a ton of visitors to the new site (my hypothesis: a strong majority) will click a few times around the site and just feel kinda frustrated and not a good experience, give up, and leave.

I am myself annoyed enough from my time looking at the site that I feel like saying more about how obviously misguided the designers were and how their priorities are in all the wrong places. I don’t want to be harsh, but your website caused me a bunch of extra annoyance.

Even the one thing that makes me feel good, the " Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License" in the footer does an obnoxious animation of the underlining when I hover over it. It feels like someone poking me to notice that websites can have animation. It offers only a distraction. It doesn’t help me learn about anything or about the license.

Go sit down with any random person and observe them exploring your site, ask them to just speak their thoughts out loud as you see them painfully try to engage with it.

I’d almost say I’m glad I didn’t donate because putting money toward this website would have been a very bad use of my limited resources.

I can’t find anything redeeming to say, I’m sorry. Well, I could say that this forum is designed much better, so I will still engage here. If not for this forum, the new site would probably have, in practice, caused the loss of my participation in the movement in that I don’t want to visit the site and I can’t even feel okay linking anyone to the website anymore, even though I strongly support the movement.

I’m trying to be constructive, but there’s so much wrong, it’s a lot of work to just explain it. I would not have put in the work to write all this if I didn’t really care about the organization and movement.

All sorts of articles about good design are out there, ones that focus on actual human usability instead of caricatures of the latest superficial fashions in web tech.


#2

I want to add that these are all concerns I had shared, but didn’t think were affecting anyone else. Well-explained!


#3

Hi @wolftune, thanks for the constructive criticism. This site is a foundation from which we will work towards the goals you’ve outlined. There’s a lot of progressive refinement that needs to go into the website. We’ve got our core design down, and now need to work on making sure the content and structure serves our audience.

Thank you for all the items you’ve listed – we will address them all.

It also goes without saying that we’re looking for volunteers to both suggest edits and help in the implementation. This is a collaborative effort. If you’re interested in helping improve the website, let me know and we can talk about the work that needs to be done.


#4

To be clear, signing up for emails and donating are both things that people want to do once they are already excited and convinced of the value. It would be better to emphasize “learn more”, “watch this”, and “come say ‘hi’ on our forum” or “fill out this form to register as an interested volunteer” (emphasizing that is not just getting a mailing list but wanting to know specifically about how to help the movement, more like a voter database of sorts).

I don’t really appreciate the bubble theme at all. It feels like a cutesy effort to tie in the logo rather than something meaningful. And clear illustrations of concepts go a lot farther than plain text.

To emphasize further problems with https://www.electionscience.org/problem-solution :

The headings stay as “Problem” “Solution”. I have to do the annoying mental jump of checking which jargon term is highlighted and connecting that with the distant text block on the other side of the screen. And furthermore the text blocks do not describe a solution, they describe the PROBLEM (under the heading “solution”). And the parts of the text that do describe a solution all amount to saying “the solution is Approval voting!” with zero substance. It’s full of “you can have it all”, “Approval lets you do it”.

What you should actually have is a clear problem statement that says “problem with the status quo: X” with an illustration like a ballot, showing the problem. Then “Approval solves this” with a clear illustrated example. or something like that. People just want to know WHAT approval voting is.

They also want to know if CES is really just an approval-voting advocacy group trying to be clever in naming and theming. Credibility is much higher for the name and theme if the site emphasized that the org focuses on doing science and research around democracy and voting systems, making it clear that the research is the key priority. Then, it’s much more compelling for this more credible seeming organization to say “oh, and in all this research, we’ve concluded that Approval voting is the best reform to pursue.”

I’m able to give more feedback, but I have higher priorities and can’t volunteer much more time here. Thankfully, you don’t need me or anyone specific. You can just go to anyone you know and watch them use the site trying to answer questions like “what is CES?” and “what’s Approval voting?” and so on and ask them what would make them want to get involved, and “did you figure out that we have a forum?” and it will be completely obvious where many failings are. These things should have been done before launching the new site, really before implementing mediocre, speculative design ideas in the first place. These are low-cost things. It’s already late but not too late to be worth doing.

Metaphor, critique of the designers you hired

To me, this feels like the web design equivalent of me hiring that handyman who was a nice guy but installed our downspout with a connection where the top section was outside the connecting lower section, resulting in water leaking around the outside of the downspout, which he just insisted he could solve by glopping on a large quantity of sealant. I regret hiring him and basically have to redo his work, maybe hire someone more competent, and accept the sunk cost, try to learn a lesson. Doing more sealant and painting and other things to cover the bad work isn’t really a great answer.


#5

Is there any link from the main website to this forum? I could not find it, and I knew it existed.


#6

This is a large topic so I made a new post but the Criteria listed on web page should be expanded.


#7

This old link is broken: http://web.archive.org/web/20190219005345/https://sites.google.com/a/electology.org/www/pirate-elections-germany


#8

I just came here to ask the same question. How are people to find this place?