I have been noticing that menus of all kinds–from websites to restaurants–have become more complicated and thus more and more difficult to navigate. The trend toward clean and simple seems to be reversing. Now, I would say most of the time when I go to a website, I am overwhelmed with visual tiles on the landing page, plus information revealed only to the enthusiastic scroller, menus layered under other menus, and pages that do not deliver as promised. It can take several minutes of clicking around to figure out what to do next.
This now widespread tendency to present the customer with confusing arrays of choices, and make it difficult to complete such simple actions as viewing a product sample, makes me wonder whether sprawling menus are not some kind of marketing strategy that increases sales. Non-profits are guilty of it–note the inscrutable internal workings of the College Board site–but most private companies are doing it, too. Just the other day my index finger got a big workout with the mouse merely trying to locate a demo for a tech product that the company was presumably wanting to sell to interested schools. Also, our school’s online portfolio and PD credits system is not really something one could teach to a colleague. You simply make selections and click the mouse, because neither logic nor intuition helps with the opaque setup. You just keep boldly advancing, and somehow the work gets done.More