Forbes Website Usability Analysis

Forbes

http://www.forbes.com

Please note that Website Usability Analysis was made based on the website version in February 2015.

Forbes is an American business magazine owned by Forbes, Inc. Published biweekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, and law. The magazine is well known for its lists and rankings, including its lists of the richest Americans (the Forbes 400) and rankings of world’s top companies. Forbes  Web site was founded in 1996. The site, like the magazine, publishes many lists focusing on billionaires and their possessions, especially expensive homes, a critical aspect of the website’s apparent popularity. Forbes.com employs the slogan “Home Page For The World’s Business Leaders” and sometimes claims to be the world’s most widely visited business web site. The 2009 Times report said that, while “one of the top five financial sites by traffic [throwing] off an estimated $70 million to $80 million a year in revenue. “Forbes”. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.

Design

  • Images. Lack of images throughout most of website pages. Images are not properly sized and aligned with text, do not meet current presentation standards. Visual impression is poor. (Figure 1)
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Figure 1: Images and text presentation on the web page
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Figure 2: Features Videos
  • Media. Featured video plays automatically on the main page. This might be distractive as the user may be in a public place, at work, wearing headphones and could experience an unexpected shocking effect by the sound. Coming back to the Home page makes this video play over and over from the beginning. Video player on the main page has a tiny scroll button and it is a challenge to use it, especially on portable devices. There is an entire video section,
    categorised, but not properly structured, there are no suggested or topic related videos. Video search option is missing. All content can be shared at major social media platforms, e-mailed. (Figure 2)
  • Fonts. Four fonts are used throughout all the pages – Georgia, Helvetica Neue, Arial, Verdana. Important links to Log In, Sign Up, Subscribe are presented in a very small fonts size that is not easy to read and locate. (Figure 3)forbes_website_analysis_3

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    Figure 3: “Log In” link position
  • Colours. Grey colour dominates main top and bottom menu along with dark blue and white. It brings a discreet but at the same time savorless effect, as nothing is literally highlighted. White and grey are used for backgrounds, black font colour dominates throughout the pages, dark blue font is present on some of the pages. Splash of other colours are only visible at the Top List categories.
  • Layout. Hidden navigation is difficult to use. Users come with strong memory of main menu location and might be confused locating one at this website. It opens down and then submenu opens to the right, font size is relatively small that often makes it difficult to make a proper menu selections. (Figure 4) Home button is missing. Subscribe link is hidden all the way in the bottom of the page. (Figure 5) Sign in link changes it’s location from page to page – on some pages it is on the left, on some – on the right. Top List menu is hidden and is located at the bottom of the page. (Figure 3) Main content is centred, but related material do not appear on the right hand side. Some pages bring effect of noisiness of fonts, colours, sizes, links, headlines.
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Figure 4: Hidden drop-down menu
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Figure 5: Subscription Services link at the very bottom of the page
  • Consistency. forbes.com is not consistent with general practice of using other websites. Hidden main menu, lack of Home button, difficult to locate Subscription service make overall experience difficult. Pop up feedback window is still in practice here, even though a lot of internet users have blocks for pop up windows. (Figure 6) Variations in font sizes and layouts are changing throughout the pages. It might confuse first time user and make a strong decision to leave this website for another one.

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    Figure 6: Pop up Feedback window

Functionality

  • Single sign in/up and OpenID integration with leading social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others).
  • Subscription option is not highlighted and is hidden at the bottom of the page,
  • Difficult to locate Sign in button,
  • Related articles are not automatically shown on the right hand side,
  • Only one click needed to share, comment, follow and to print,
  • Web pages with text only are loading fast, but Top List pages with full screen photos and infographics take longer time to load in comparison to other websites. (Figure 7)
  • No Home button to go back,
  • Invisible links,
  • Hidden menu and not submenu that are difficult to use.

Hidden menu and not submenu that are difficult to use.

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Figure 7: Infographics that require longer time to load

Content

  • Forbes currently allows advertisers to publish blog posts on its website alongside regular editorial content through a program called AdVoice, which accounts for more than 10 percent its digital revenue. The website also uses a “contributor model” in which a wide network of “contributors” writes and publishes articles directly on the website. Contributors are paid based on traffic to their Forbes.com pages. “Forbes”. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 16 Feb. 2015. Content is informative, but commercialised as well,
  • Content groupings by specific areas of interest,
  • Lack of visual material, use of stock images happens,
  • Video materials are uploaded directly to the website with all rights reserved. Video materials are not categorised and structured.
  • Content balance between text, photos and videos is missing. (Figure 8)

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    Figure 8: Plain text content featuring Trending and Most Read Stories

Usability Attributes

  • Website brings an indifferent user experience, does not meet user expectations. Poor visual content provides overall dull impression,
  • Content elements, fonts and backgrounds are used in efficient manner, but for specific information font sizes are relatively small to be noticed.
  • Text is not easy to scan,
  • Navigation brings difficulty in using the website,
  • No errors were detected,
  • It takes some time to get used to navigation and find your way around the website
  • Visible and throughout website structure is missing.

Website is required to have updates and bring usability on higher, up to date level for comfortable user experience. For now, during the period of hight competition online, there is nothing that makes this website to stand out besides famous lists and rankings. Once being a leader, there is a big possibility to lose this position as quality of content and quality of user experience are unbalanced. The very first page I saw once at forbest.com reads as follows: “No one’s a leader if there are no followers”, probably there is definitely something for Forbes team to think about. (Figure 9)

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Figure 9: Welcome Page

 

 

 

 

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