i also spend time on the webpagesthatsuck web board, and if youve ever read their webpage, youd understand what "mystery meat navigation" is. for those of you that dont know what it is, ill tell you. basically, its uninforminative navigation (ie. i have to search the images/links to find rollover descriptions.. or searching the page for the links themselves). ive seen some truly lovely flash work here, but i see so much mystery meat nav it drives me crazy. i just came from one site that had a fairly small image in flash that seemed to have 4 hot spots on it. but who could tell? flash gives nothing away in the status bar. and i didnt even get a rollover effect when i was over the hot spots.
wpts's philosophy is that the webpage is meant for the users. and if the page is confusing and they cant find what they need, why would they come back? i just see a 180 degrees difference between the work here and what i see on the wpts board.
I wholeheartedly agree... in most cases.
There are I think certain experimental and artistic variations to navigation, which while mysterious do add an element of exploration. They are though out of place on a conettn based site.
It was a dilemma that I had when designing flash kit, in the end I made it as simple as I could, and used flash to enhance the previewing and viewing options, I hope that navigating around this site wasn't a mystery meat affair!
I welcome your feedback, and especially so in the Site Check section. On of the site check moderators Juniperberry is a VERY new user to both computers and the internet, it is for this exact reason that she is so valuable as a site checker, able to express and vent those mystery meat navigational frustrations!
Hehe.. I like the term "mystery meat". I too agree with you, for the most part. I have seen far too many sites that look good.. but are very frustrating to navigate.
And the problem is not simply limited to links that are not labeled.. some run away from you!! One "pet-peeve" of mine is buttons that move! I hate having to chase links across the screen (ie the ever popular Yugo site. it's a good looking site, but the user interface is impractical at best!! imho).
Gee.. that felt good.
One could argue that those sites are meant to be "Art", and that the "unique" navigational methods enhance the "experience". Perhaps that is true. But personally, I feel that while web pages can indeed be "Art", they should not forget that they are still web pages. They are interactive art, and should be easy to navigate.
'Course.. I feel just a little hypocritical writting this, as my latest footer contains some "mystery meat" . I try to avoid it whenever possible.. but I don't always succeed. I don't really like it, though.. and as soon as a better idea occurs to me, I will change it.
That was fun. Ok.. back to the technical questions. blah.
I would agree with some of what wpts says but if you go and do everything that clown says you end up with black text on a white background. Pre mosaic days.
On the other had pages like the revolution are more art than content. It's the ability to "do" "explore" "challenge"
Some of what people call art is not. Know what I mean Vern.
Some sites simply have nothing to say.
The art of communication is a delicate balance of intuitiveness and exploration and intrigue. If you can't captivate you boar. Just my thoughts, Bill
In the beginning the web was without shape and color, and the hype covered the darkness of the net. Then there was a Flash and life came to the web and vision became reality.
<EMBED src="/cgi-bin/ubb/Members/sigs/00000100.swf" quality=high WIDTH=375 HEIGHT=75 TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash"> </EMBED>
CONCEPT is king. No matter what your interface, if it does not work with what you are trying to say, it doesn't work, period.
I do like some of the more funky interfaces out there and, especially on designers sites, they are there mostly to pique your interest; show off what they can do. Also, there are some very innovative sites that just set about to tell a story. These can have very wild interfaces, as long as the story gets told. If it gets in the way, it's bad.
I'll tell you, I can't agree with you guys more. There are time when I just plain leave a site because I get tired of tying to figure out where to go or what's worth looking at. I think that Art has its place in flash, but if your user cant enjoy themselves, it's a moot point. There is definatly a difference between giving your user playful interaction and just confusing the heck out of them.
I think that a designer should at least remember that most people have never seen a flash site (or dont know they have). What is intuitive to us flash developers is not always easy to grasp for some surfers. I remember showing that "yugo" site to my 50yr old dad... hehe ...He thought the navigation bar was pretty cool, but he had no idea that you could navigate with it or play with it! He thought is was just one of thoses GIF animations that are common on a lot of sites. And he's been on the internet for 3 years!
Another thing that I have seen a lot of people doing lately is launching browser popups "fullscreen". At first I thought this was neat and even wanted to do it myself, but I could just imagine my dad rebooting his computer because he thinks a website took over his computer. hehe
Yea, this "mystery meat" thing has got to go. Mind you, I dont think that everyone should go all the way back to blue underlined links and navigation on left, content in middle, but give your user a chance to enjoy the content not the challenge of finding it (or escaping it!).
I better get offline now... my dad is probably trying to call and tell me a website just downloaded his entire hard drive. hehe
BTW, scottris, didnt even know that you had quotes in your footer. Pretty cool.