And that’s where the trouble began!
Read this blog post to learn how usability and site design can impact the simplest of website tasks.
I wanted to find the closest bagel shop to REI so I went to www.noahs.com looking for store locations. Silly me – you would think that Noah’s would make it real simple to get me to their physical location given that you can’t order a bagel online. Right?
No way… after a frustratingly long wait for the homepage to load I’m presented with more silly animation and a coffee cup that follows my mouse.
I suspect Noahs spent somewhere between $50K to $100K for this website yet it doesn’t serve up bagels in a way that I care to repeat.
Using the stopwatch on my iPhone I compared the time it took to gather store location info for the stores I was planning to visit.
- 35 seconds: Noahs.com
- 28 seconds: LongsDrugs.com *see note below
- 18 seconds: CrateandBarrel.com
- 16 seconds: REI.com
- 11 seconds: Macys.com
While your own results may vary depending on your bandwidth, finding this information on Noah’s site took over 3 times as long as the fastest website.
* Longs Drug Store gave me an Google Maps API error message when I clicked on Store Locator that said “The Google Maps API key used on this web site was registered for a different web site.”
For SEO Geeks: Being a search engine optimization consultant, I wanted to see how Google was interpreting Noah’s site content. A check in Google’s Cache for the homepage brings up information about the Flash player instead of website content – because of course there was no site content.
The Title tag is simply “Noahs Bagel Home”. For more examples of how NOT to optimize your site – do a <site:noahs.com> search and look at all Noah’s Title tags – they are equally weak. I suspect that Google is ranking Noah’s website on the first page of a search for “bagels” because of its inbound links and not because of content on the website.
Once again, the site fails to meet the audience needs of the search bots! What were they thinking?
I hope getting served in the real world Noah’s location won’t be as slow and frustrating as using their website!