I have been busily packing up my life into boxes in preparation for placing them into storage before I head overseas for a few months sabbatical. Inevitably, I packed something I now needed, the manual to the washing machine so I could check how to drain it properly. I had no clue which of the 20 or so sealed boxes it was in and certainly didn’t want to open them all to find it.
I turned to Google to try to find the manual, with no success. I then checked the website for NEC, the brand of washing machine I own and discovered that they no longer made washing machines. The signs were not looking good. In the footer of the site, I noticed they had prominent links to their twitter, youtube and flickr pages. So, I decided to turn to twitter, but did not hold out much hope.
The BBC have been gradually upgrading the design and visual interaction of their pages over the last 12 months. The latest upgrade is very subtle but is a great improvement to the design and usability of the pages.
Within a deep page of the BBC site if you want to get to the homepage or a high level category, you can access these using the horizontal navigation bar pictured at the top of the page in black below.
When designing a web form or landing page, there are usually different paths a user can take through the form or from the landing page. Usually the typical path a user wants to achieve through a form is completion, so primary actions on these pages are things like “next”, “save” or “continue”. Secondary actions are things like “Back”. From a landing page the user probably wants to “Add to cart” or “Buy Now” as the primary action. Visually distinguishing primary actions to make them obvious should now be common practise thanks to excellent work by Luke Wrobleski in web form design and commonly used design patterns, but why do so many websites continue to get it wrong?