For this assignment, I chose to analyze Ticketmaster.com for usability. As you may guess from the name, or past experience, Ticketmaster is a major corporate seller of event tickets of all kinds, both online and some still over the phone.
My criteria for analysis were influence greatly by Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think”1.
- Effectiveness of visual hierarchy
- Content organized by clearly defined area
- Presence of distracting content
- Content supports scanning
- Omits Unnecessary words, redundancies
Is the visual hierarchy effective?
The logo in left corner and main navigation across the top is standard and approachable. There is also an easy- to-spot search box upper right corner, which makes it clear where to initiate a search and bypass content that is not of interest. The size of event dates in the ‘hot tickets’ section draws the eye and provides good scan-ability.
Unfortunately, barely a pixel from the main navigation are 3rd party advertising banners that are more prominent visually than items for sale on Ticketmaster… like tickets. If I was interested in charcoal and grilling this is not the place I would expect to see it. Injecting more space above and below the banner ad would make the top navigation and start of main content more clearly defined.
A “shop for events by date form” is below the initial view and looks no different than the many lists of links on the left. I didn’t notice it on my initial scan and may not have noticed it at all, if I wasn’t analyzing this page. If this is a search option that visitors use often, than it should be placed higher on the page to make it more visible, perhaps in the same location as the “happening soon” content block now resides.
A better example.
VividSeats uses better placement of its search box, as well as having more “breathing room” overall.
Is the content broken up into clearly defined areas?
The way the content is broken up is generally effective, but some content is lost in the pile up.
Streamlining of redundant content, such as removing identical event lists that appear in multiple locations, would give highly sought after content more prominent placement. A simple change that could correct some of these redundancies would be creating a single event list as a fixed sidebar that appears to follow users while scrolling.
Simplifying content categories by type (e.g. Sports, Concerts, Theater) rather than tag line (“Hot Now”, “Right Now”, “Hot Today”), might also be a more effective way to organize the content and make it more accessible for users.
Are there distractions?
The main page is full of teasers, which although distracting, do entice clicking to view an event that a user may not know was happening. But a lot of the images are jammed up in a small area of the site, which, for some, may make it more difficult to scan and comprehend the different choices.
Too many options all in one location can be just as bad as not enough. Breaking up or rethinking the layout of highly graphic content to inject more “air” into the design would give customers a chance to breathe and make selections without getting distracted.
VividSeats (as seen above), doesn’t bombard the customer. Instead, the content is in a logical, clean layout that customers are able to navigate with fewer, but clearer choices.
Does the content support scanning?
For the most part, the page is built for scanning, but from a user standpoint, the amount of scanning necessary to reach a single goal seems excessive. As I’ve mentioned in other criteria, streamlining the content and taking a “less is more” approach would result in a cleaner layout, reduce distractions, and allow the user to reach the content they are most interested in viewing.
Are unnecessary words or content omitted? Are there redundancies?
The page is busy. Many of the content areas are redundant. (E.g. The same sport events are listed in the carousel, “Happening Soon”, “Hot Tickets”, “Hot Right Now” and under “Sports”.)
Adding prominently displayed buttons, or content blocks, dedicated to events/artists that fall into numerous categories (like the Seattle Mariners a.k.a. M’s), would clear up some of the clutter. The M’s are obviously a huge draw for customers, so make it easier for them to go right to the event info.
A better example.
Take a look at AEG Worldwide. This a great example of the type of suggestions I’ve made throughout my analysis. They have a streamline page with easy to understand graphical elements that draw attention and there are no unnecessary lists or other content anywhere to be seen.
AEG has created a page that invites entry into their webspace. You make an easy choice from the main categories and click. They don’t make you think.
1. Krug, S. (2014). Don’t Make Me Think Revisited. Pearson Education: U.S.A. (29).