Appear : Stripping to show less
Rigid page design poorly managed renders a large part of the display area redundant.
Appear, a Sweden-based supplier of software for mobile applications, has a page template that effectively renders a large part of the display area redundant.
Appear’s site has a deep coloured strip running across the top of all pages. It sits below the company logo and primary/utilities navigation, separating them from page content and secondary navigation. The size of the band means that scrolling is required on almost all pages to view the content fully.
The panel has a graphic illustration of silhouetted figures consulting a mobile device to the right, while to the left it displays three standard icons for text, video and audio content respectively. They have no functionality but occupy the same width as the left-hand menu column below them and the company logo above. On the home page, the icons are replaced with marketing copy but on all other pages the only variation is in colour, with different hues from the company palette of red and orange being used.
Appear is creating problems for itself and its visitors with the immovable object that is the header strip. Such features are not unknown on home and/or section introduction pages but, by running its strip at such a size and on all pages, Appear is reducing the visible content area it has to play with across the site, which is restrictive of the messages and information it can immediately convey and increases users’ reliance on scrolling to navigate content.
Such profligacy might be justifiable if the strip were being used consistently as a promotional platform, as it is on the home page. But this not being the case, it looks too much like either pointless decoration or a straitjacket into which Appear has been strapped by its site designer. Even then, though, it should still have enough room for manoeuvre to be able to vary the imagery and colour scheme to, at the least, denote different sections and break up the visual monotony.http://www.appearnetworks.com
First published on 15 April, 2008