Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online.
I examined the information architecture of Arduino and created a site blueprint. From this I made recommendations for improvements to the usability of the site.
- The global navigation is split appropriately between header and footer. Thematically the footer can be viewed as a hybrid of topical/task, all of which relate to company information. The header navigation follows the same pattern of a hybrid navigation scheme with topical/task being predominant.
- The contextual search is a great feature for users to navigate in an alternative fashion, rather than using site navigation tools.
- The Home page is easy enough to understand by chunking content into blocks with images. This works well to display most recent blog posts.
- On pages such as Products > Arduino and Learning > Education the lefthand navigation that follows the user down the page and highlights the section they are on is a great navigational tool. This clickable menu allows the user to move up and down the page with no searching and allows the user to stay oriented.
What Doesn’t Work
- Throughout the site there are instances of headers/titles that are the same weight and color as links. This causes confusion when text that looks clickable takes the user no where.
- Links are consistently displayed throughout paragraphs of text and are not appropriately labelled. There is no context for the user to know where a link will take them.
- Consistent navigation is not present on sub pages. Many pages have their own navigational structure which creates confusion and frustration.
- Adjust typographical guidelines of what is a link, what is a header, what is text
- Links within text must be labelled appropriately to where the user is being taken, these should not be used in place of a page menu
- Utilizing the lefthand menu mentioned under “What Works” is a great way to establish consistency/patterns and creates a simple navigation scheme for the user. Sections must be titled appropriate to the page they are on.
On more navigational heavy pages such as Learning > The Arduino Playground the lefthand navigation should be compressed into a simpler format. Pages that lead to the same place should be grouped together. Likewise, common synonyms should be grouped together under appropriate labels. This page could even stand alone in the top-level navigation and be its own site with how content dense it is.