In this edition of The UX Critic, we’re going to talk about discoverability. Much of the time I’m on the web, I’m just a user. I’m pretty good at turning off my UX hat… otherwise I’d probably go insane… and just being a user.
Camping season is coming soon, so I’ve been exploring some parks and looking to make reservations. One park is run by the Washington State Parks system. I Googled for Washington State Parks Reservations and came across a result at the top titled “Reservations | Washington State Parks and Recreation”. Yeah, that sounds right.
The result is http://parks.state.wa.us/232/Making-Reservations
Take a look at this full screenshot and let me know where you would click to make a reservation.
At first I thought this wasn’t the reservations page. So I clicked Making Reservations in the left nav. It turns out, that is this page.
Tip #1: In the main navigation, highlight the page or section the user is on.
The next thing I did was scan the page.
And while scanning the page, I found a link near the bottom right of the page. It’s just linked text in a large paragraph. It reads “online reservation system”. I clicked that and found my way.
My awkwardness meter pinged and I took some screenshots so I could write this later. Coming back to it now, two things stand out to me:
- As I actually read the content on the page, I realize the link I clicked on was in the ADA-Accessible Reservations section. It wasn’t even meant for me.
- In the very first paragraph, the word “online” is linked. That does indeed take the user to the online reservations system. But I never noticed this until I took my “user” hat off, and started digging in.
All they really need is a button that says “online reservations.”