Do Usability Experts Still Fail Themselves on World Usability Day?


In 2008 I celebrated my first world usability day by pointing out usability mistakes usability experts commit.

Fast forward to 2010 and what did I see? They still failed. Now it’s another 5 years later and finally… they get it and lead by example.

World Usability Day is here again. Can usability experts get their own website right?

Yes, the World Usability Day website failed big time and I was really ashamed for them. How can they make people support usability when their own site is not usable by any standards?

Here are the most obvious mistakes the organizers made on their own site in 2010:

Excessive Clutter
Both the website and the UPA site are excessively cluttered. The site looks so bad I don’t even want to add a screen shot here not to scare away my readers. Find it at the bottom of the post.

Why say it just once when you can repeat it several times throughout your frontpage? “World Usability Day – Making Life Easy!” says the logo on top. Right behind the logo we read “World Usability Day has started!”.

Looking down from the quite big logo we see another even bigger logo saying “World Usability Day 2010 – 11. November 2010 . Making Life Easy!”.

In order not to forget where we are we can read right below it: “World Usability Day announces Honorary Chair for 2010” and scrolling a bit further: World Usability Day is Today!

I won’t cite all the other mention or even the headlines containing that phrase or Google will penalize me for keyword stuffing!

Bizarre Typography Mix
While I myself use two different fonts on this blog: Arial/Helvetica and Verdana, manages to use not only Arial/Helvetica in all kinds of different shapes, colors and sizes.

They add insult to injury by using Georgia as well although every novice web designer will tell you that you shouldn’t mix both serif and sans-serif fonts.

I couldn’t believe my own eyes! Did just blink on me? Yes, they did. They have a large blinking section in the middle of the site. What can I say? Why not use the <blink>-tag then?

Call to Action Overkill
While visiting I was really overwhelmed! Not only by the clutter though! Several calls to action in a row shouted at me: I had to

  1. “get involved”
  2. “sign our charter”
  3. “visit partner events”
  4. “register an event”
  5. “donate to world usability day”
  6. “follow us on Twitter”
  7. “become a sponsor”.

All of the even before I had the chance to scroll. I didn’t even count the “contact us” call to action and those below the fold.

Making the Logo Bigger
Did I mention that designers love to “make the logo bigger” on websites? really gave them that opportunity.

Like I said above, the big logo on top appears as an even bigger aka huge version below. Great work!

No or Several Points of Focus
It wasn’t just clutter and the myriad of calls to action that made me dizzy on – the site has no single point of focus.

There are some many similar sized objects on that site vying for attention that I simply had to give up. My eyes were jumping like ping pong balls on a table on his site.

I’m just an

  • SEO
  • blogger
  • former web developer.

I’m not a designer or usability expert myself. Still I see so many utterly obvious usability mistakes even without professional training.

Therefore I ask you: What is the purpose of the World Usability Day? Is this some kind of cruel irony? Give me a break from World Usability Day! I’m already fed up with all that “usability” and bouncing.

Usability experts still fail themselves so they aren’t in the position to teach the rest of us.

Do you want to see the screen shot [600kb] yourself? It’s awful but at least it doesn’t blink.

* Creative Commons image by clpo13