The devolution of usability

One of my hobbies is woodworking, and one magazine I liked a lot before it disappeared was Woodworking Magazine. Or rather it disappeared by merging with Popular Woodworking, to become Popular Woodworking Magazine. What is amazing is the website evolution, because normally websites improve over time. Not so in this case. The first image shows the webpage of Woodworking Magazine in 2005. This magazine had no ads, and its website reflects this with no ads, and a very clean front page. It is clear that the current issue is the main stay of the page. The webpage actually reflected the magazine, which also contained no ads.

woodworkingMAG2005

In comparison, consider the Popular Woodworking site in 2005. It too depicted the current issue of the magazine, and was quite clean, even though there were some ads on the website. The information on the left side of the webpage is well organized, making it easy to find relevant information.

popwwMAG2005

After the merger circa 2010, the website too evolved into a hybrid (shown here in 2011). The menu has transformed from vertical to horizontal, and a video stream has been added.

popwwMAG2011

Finally a snapshot of the website from 2016. It is now an extremely busy website festooned with advertising.

popwwMAG2016

Compare this to the Fine Woodworking website, which offers a much cleaner browsing experience. There are ads, but they are lower down, so as to not crowd out the content on the opening portion of the website. Everything is easy to find, and the use of whitespace makes things stand out.

finewoodworkingoct16

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s