Today we’ll be looking at Business.com and why it is suffering from a usability standpoint. We’re going to compare Business.com against the American Express Open Forum site – which is designed to help give businesses actionable tips on how to succeed. Both Business.com and AMEX Open Forum seem to have the same type of model: provide tips and also link to business vendors.
- Large image – What exactly is the purpose of this slider? It occupies tons of real estate above the fold and doesn’t give any real call to action. This space can be better used for hot news or content.
Action tip: change this into a slider with the latest news and also show a tab with the ‘all time’ great posts.
- Unclear mission – What exactly does ‘Buy Smarter’ mean? Is the goal of Business.com to really help people ‘Buy Smarter’? How are they helping people achieve their mission?
Action tip: define a clear purpose that people can understand.
- Wall of text links – Here’s what the user experiences: user lands on homepage with unclear mission or call to action and then sees a wall of links. What’s even worse is that when you click through to the links, it leads to another page with a bunch of links and perhaps an article or two. After you click through again, you are presented with a fat ad followed by some actual vendors. This is the epitome of a thin site.
Action tip: Business.com should refer to Google’s tips on building a high quality site.
- Featured advertisers above the fold – What exactly is this and how does it help users to display a few company logos above the fold?
Action tip: consider showing useful and helpful content. The site should be more about the user than anything.
Overall – 4/10
I come away from the Business.com page feeling unsatisfied. The site doesn’t really help me solve any problems and is difficult to navigate through. Business.com can should take a look at its competitors and pivot if it has the resources to do so.
American Express: Open Forum Analysis
- Social buttons – Social buttons make it painlessly easy for people to connect. If you’re not in the social game today, you’re just being lazy.
- Engagement Tabs – People enjoy reading the best of the best material. AMEXOF does a great job of surfacing the most popular, most commented on, and most viewed posts. Having the good content easily accessible to users is always a plus
- Top News Slider – As mentioned above, having accessible content makes everyone happy. Users don’t want to go digging around your site for content.
Usability means making sure something works well, and that a person of average ability or experience can use it for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated. – Redd Horrocks
- Mission statement - Users immediately see what the mission of the site is about. AMEX Open Forum is about ‘Powering Small Business’ success.
Overall – 9/10
The American Express Open Forum is a pleasant user experience because it helps provide helpful business tips and is very easier to navigate. The design is great and everything just feels more connected. There’s less friction in the user experience because I don’t have to think as much (and worry about dodging ads). Business.com can take a few notes from the American Express Open Forum to see how they can improve their site. If not, I can see some big problems happening in the future.