Forensic Pathways : Sowing confusion
Consistency and convention are notable for their absence.
Forensic Pathways, a UK-based investigative intelligence and products company, embeds needless unpredictability into its secondary navigation.
Forensic Pathways uses conventional rollover technology on the Flash-driven version of its site to reveal the menu options for the sections featured in the primary, horizontal navigation bar. Of these, only three have secondary level content: About Us, News and Analytics. The latter has six headings, three of which launch a web page on click; the others (Analytics Overview, Effective Intelligence Analysis and Press Article) open PDF files in a secondary browser window.
Items under About Us and News behave consistently throughout, opening web pages, though only in About Us is there in-section navigation (a left-hand menu). The only way to move between the sub-sections in News and Analytics is via the primary rollover. On the HTML version of the site, Analytics has a section menu ranged horizontally on the web pages but the links behave as on the Flash version.
Forensic Pathways has a relatively shallow brochure site but punches well above its size in creating conflicting ways of moving around it. Not only is there inconsistency between sections but the element of unpredictability is extended in Analytics to the set up of the heading links. Worse still, the direct linking at this level to PDF files is a major contravention of website conventions.
Consistency and convention are not ‘sexy’ or innovative concepts but they are the bedrock of smooth journeys online just as driving on a particular side of the road is offline – it would undoubtedly be exciting if the side changed without warning in different parts of town, or if a green light meant stop, but it’s not something you would want to have to think about. Nor should you be made to, especially if the town has a name like Forensic Pathways.http://www.forensic-pathways.com
First published on 12 November, 2009