National Geographic, Usability and User Experience

The National Geographic homepage gives users a clear and easy way to navigate.

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It’s not fancy at all, and that’s what a journalistic website is supposed to be like in my mind. Most news sites are heavily covered by text with some space occupied by ads. And there aren’t neither too many ads nor text on National Geographic site. 

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The navigation bar at top categorizes contents by format, subjects and style. “Subscribe” and “Shop” buttons are in yellow, thus differ from the major content.

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An extra navigation box will jump out when users move their mouse over the topic, and the topic users moved onto will change text color. What the pity is the right part of this box does not change when the mouse move over the list on left. And if possible, I would try to make the video playable within that little box when users click the play button on it.

As a website that is famous of photographs, National Geographic has a sidebar named “Photo of the Day.”

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When users click the photo, it leads the users to the page of the larger image. And users can see other photos by clicking previous or next on the right top of that page.

But if that tiny sidebar on homepage can also go over past Photo of the Day, that would be nice.

Now, say the users go to “Photography” topic. 屏幕快照 2013-09-11 上午12.30.35

There is a window that automatically slide to different featured/latest photo stories. By clicking the photo, users will be led to a page of photos displayed in a horizontal way.

I think the overall usability of the National Geographic site is good. It’s easy to navigate and control. There aren’t too many unnecessary stuffs there. As for the user experience, I would probably give seven out of 10, merely because the clean view. But if National Geographic can add more design elements to the site while still keeps it clean, that would be much better.

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4 responses to “National Geographic, Usability and User Experience

  1. I agree that this site is very easy to navigate. I really like the simple color scheme that complements the magazine. The toolbar of sections is my favorite part of the home page because it is easy to find and gives more details when you scroll over, which reminds me of the toolbar in the website I cited for this blog post. There’s not a lot of noise and everything has a place that makes sense. I also like the subheadings that have some smaller but still relevant categories for users to explore. I do wish though that they also had a little drop down menu so that I don’t have to visit the page to know what it features. Overall this site is clean and simple, the way a news site should be.

  2. I think the National Geographic website catches viewers attention by presenting lots of visual elements on its main page. The navigation bar at the top was designed to help viewers find things they are interested in. In terms of usability, I think the website did a good job in categorizing different topics and organizing multimedia contents. On the other hand, the website provides relatively good user experience. Despite its lack of interactive elements, the layout of photos and videos have already caught viewers’ attention, therefore making their experience with the National Geographic site more visually enjoyable.

    I like the way things are kept simple, clean and visually attractive on this website. There are news articles as well as travel features, so I think the site combined two different styles of contents appropriately.

  3. I definitely agree that the National Geographic keeps its design simple and focuses a lot on photos. And I actually like that it’s so simple, using only three main colors(black, white, yellow) to stick to the website’s yellow rectangle symbol. The website adds a bit of design elements through the site as well: when a user tries to click on a menu, the bar changes its color and each section show different colors. I think this is a little cool twist to this simple website. Overall, I like that the website is easy to navigate and it sticks to its simple, major colors.

  4. I agree that the usability is very good – the site is easy to use because the hierarchies are clearly distinguished using font sizes. I also think the user experience is very good. The sans-serif typeface is simple and clear. Also, the contrast between white and black as the main colors of the site add to the simplicity of the overall appearance. The yellow accent color is an exciting touch and helps highlight details like the points on the photos that allow users to scroll through to other images.

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