January 09, 2002

Excuse me, your Johnson & Johnson is showing...
Maybe I should have named this post "crappy mega-company-site-o-the-day". Johnson & Johnson is #57 in the Fortune 500 according to Hoovers Online, but could their corporate home page suck any more?

Why would a designer say "let's bombard our customers and potential investors with no less than nine, yes *9*, drop-down navigation boxes"? Notice that some drop-downs only have one choice -- why not just use a simple link?! I suppose someone said something about "we have to be consistent for usability's sake", bastardizing the precepts of User Interface Engineering like a religious zealot quoting scripture out of context. Also note that the "Company websites" drop-down has 368 options in it!!!! This has got to be some kind of nightmarish UI record. See the linkable list of web sites for a sense of the number of sites in the drop-down. (Scroll down to see the full list.) Evidently they need to learn the concept of "Information Architecture".

Oh, did I forget to mention the auto-scrolling Java applet for news headlines? I love it when sites determine how fast I can read, and then give me a moving target to catch with the cursor. What fun!

The "Johnsons" also choose to speak to us in a very friendly tone (in bigger bolder text than everything else on the page): "You are solely responsible for your interactions with that website [that we link to above]." I understand the need to give the lawyers their space, but don't let them command the spotlight on your front doorstep.

Any consulting IAs or usability types looking for work might want to give J&J a ring...they could use the help.

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