The role of detailed footers

22 Apr 2009 - 7:38am
5 years ago
33 replies
1449 reads
Michael Kay
2009

I have noticed a trend in websites using big detailed footers that
contain site maps, but a lot more, like a mini-homepage. Look at the
bottom of these two pages for example:
http://www.americanidol.com/
http://seekingalpha.com/article/131737-five-ways-this-bubble-may-end

I understand this has something to do with SEO, but there may be more
to it. Have others in this community investigated this novel UI on a
usability or wayfinding basis? My first assumption is that they are
mostly ignored by users, and not so useful down there, but I'm
wondering if there's anyone who can shed more light on the subject.

. . . michael kay
. . . buenos aires / http://www.peep.org

Comments

22 Apr 2009 - 8:10am
Coryndon Luxmoore
2004

I did some task basted research on a events site geared towards
college students. The detailed footer was used by the users when the
global navigation was unclear. So it functioned as a backup navigation
for the users. The users generally seemed to view it positively though
it was not an explicit part of the testing protocol. --C
--------------------------------------------
Coryndon Luxmoore
Interaction Designer

coryndon (at) luxmoore (dot) com
---------------------------------------------

On Apr 22, 2009, at 8:38 AM, Michael Kay wrote:

> I have noticed a trend in websites using big detailed footers that
> contain site maps, but a lot more, like a mini-homepage. Look at the
> bottom of these two pages for example:
> http://www.americanidol.com/
> http://seekingalpha.com/article/131737-five-ways-this-bubble-may-end
>
> I understand this has something to do with SEO, but there may be
> more to it. Have others in this community investigated this novel UI
> on a usability or wayfinding basis? My first assumption is that they
> are mostly ignored by users, and not so useful down there, but I'm
> wondering if there's anyone who can shed more light on the subject.
>
> . . . michael kay
> . . . buenos aires / http://www.peep.org
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Apr 2009 - 8:19am
tom sakell
2009

Hello. I see these detailed footers on media sites, too, like
washingtonpost.com.

I think it serves readers who have detailed questions but little
interest in drilling down for procedural questions, like, How can I
stop my newspaper for a vacation?

It needs to be on the home page, but out of the way.

Tom Sakell :: harborsights.com

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22 Apr 2009 - 7:49am
viki pandit
2009

Yes I have noticed that too and I really liked it. Infact strange as
it sounds I was up till 3 am in the morning just yesterday
redesigning the footer area of my blog(www.merlinvicki.in).

I dont think its just SEO. I think the big footer area provides more
info for the users and improves the User experience.

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22 Apr 2009 - 8:07am
jasonrobb
2009

Me too, I'd love to hear more about this UI pattern from someone
who's tested it.

Thanks for bringing this up,

Jason R.
http://jasonrobb.com

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22 Apr 2009 - 8:27am
jayeffvee
2007

Likewise, in testing a sample of eight test participants, I've seen
five of them ignore it, one notice and say it looks cluttered, another
notice and say they liked it but he didn't use it, and one use it
exclusively over the top navigation.

Due to the last participant, we opted leave it in the design, but due
to the participant who found it overwhelming, we provided a expand/
collapse control through which people could hide it if they didn't
like/need it. It was defaulted to be open, but we also intended the
system to remember so once you'd closed it, it would default to closed.

Is that helpful? It's not launched yet, or I'd provide you with a link.

On Apr 22, 2009, at 9:10 AM, Coryndon Luxmoore wrote:

> I did some task basted research on a events site geared towards
> college students. The detailed footer was used by the users when the
> global navigation was unclear. So it functioned as a backup
> navigation for the users. The users generally seemed to view it
> positively though it was not an explicit part of the testing
> protocol. --C
>
> On Apr 22, 2009, at 8:38 AM, Michael Kay wrote:
>>
>>
>> I understand this has something to do with SEO, but there may be
>> more to it. Have others in this community investigated this novel
>> UI on a usability or wayfinding basis? My first assumption is that
>> they are mostly ignored by users, and not so useful down there, but
>> I'm wondering if there's anyone who can shed more light on the
>> subject.
>>
>> .

Joan Vermette
email: jayeffvee at mac.com
primary phone: 617-495-0184

22 Apr 2009 - 8:40am
Jeff Geurts
2009

If it were indeed a site map, then I would suggest linking to it from
a top-level navigation area. There are more users familiar with a
typical site map link than with scrolling to the bottom of the screen
to find it there.

If it is not just a site map (perhaps containing additional material
in the context of the main page), then it can still be linked to from
the main page (for instance "click here for a list of resources"
etc).

However, I feel that loading this kind of material every time a page
is loaded may be excessive and cost in performance.

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22 Apr 2009 - 9:40am
Michael Kay
2009

I fear it adds glut to a page where much less quantity and more
relevant content could be more effective and better received by
users. On the other hand it could serve users well to give them more
open ended navigation and not impose too many specific assumptions
about what they really want.

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22 Apr 2009 - 10:11am
jayeffvee
2007

Ours was not a true site map -- I've rarely seen this pattern include
content deeper than the second level. We did have a link to this full
site map in our footer as well, which was worded like "see full site
map" or something similar -- I apologize for forgetting exactly what
it was, but the implication was "need more detail? -- go here."

And although linking to the site map from the top navigation is
common, linking to it from the footer is also common, especially on
data- and/or content-dense sites where the top screen real estate is
in high demand - see CNN.com, for one example off the top of my head.

Yeah -- I hear you about the performance thing; I had concerns about
that, too. And truth be told, if it weren't for that one lady who
totally relied on our footer, I was all in favor of killing it, since
the chief reason for having it there was that the previous UX
consultant on the project thought it was trendy and sold the business
on it. I was with the participant who said it was clutter.

:-)

On Apr 22, 2009, at 2:40 AM, Jeff Geurts wrote:

> If it were indeed a site map, then I would suggest linking to it from
> a top-level navigation area. There are more users familiar with a
> typical site map link than with scrolling to the bottom of the screen
> to find it there.
>
>
> However, I feel that loading this kind of material every time a page
> is loaded may be excessive and cost in performance.
>

Joan Vermette
email: jayeffvee at mac.com
primary phone: 617-495-0184

22 Apr 2009 - 9:36am
Erin Lynn Young
2009

I agree with Jeff's concerns about page load, but I disagree that the
global navigation is the right place for a site map link. Rather, I
find that site maps are most often linked from the footer. If
that's the case, footers like this match the user expectation well.

- www.target.com uses this type of footer
- www.solarwinds.com does as well.

This footer portion of the page can be called separately so that it
has to load only once, easing concerns about performance.

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22 Apr 2009 - 9:55am
Dyske Suematsu
2009

This is something I realized recently, and thinking about it, it makes
perfect sense to me.

I think this is about knowing and understanding the difference
between the visitors who actually read your articles and who didn't.

It's sort of like how you should think if you were a store manager
at Prada. Probably only about 1 in 100 people who walk into the store
would actually buy something. To treat all the visitors equally would
be silly. Someone who reaches the bottom of the article is
qualitatively different from the rest, and we should treat them
differently.

These days, your home page is not so important because search engines
send visitors straight to individual pages. So, the visitors who come
to my site are looking for specific things. After a quick scan of the
page, if the visitor determines that it is not what he wants, he
leaves and goes back to the search result page. This is fine. In
fact, I would not want to encourage visitors that are not properly
targeted because they are just wasting my bandwidth. The one that
really count are those who actually read my articles. I should offer
an after-care service, an appendix, a further reading section. It
shouldn't just be another navigation bar (we've always had that in
the footer.). It should be relevant to the interest of someone who
actually read the article.

A group of "share" buttons are definitely relevant. Links to other
related articles are also relevant. I think highlights of what's new
is good too. If you have other related websites that you want to
promote, it's a good idea too.

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22 Apr 2009 - 10:31am
Edwin Vargas Cortes
2009

i think it´s more a way to convey info so our users can access arear
easily when they reach the bottom of the page, making navigation easy
on them and helping them find their way around our sites, SEO is
important but is more important to give our user´s various ways of
finding contents; at least that´s what I think.

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22 Apr 2009 - 11:16am
Michael Kay
2009

"... And truth be told, if it weren't for that one lady who totally
relied on our footer, I was all in favor of killing it, ..."
On a side note, I hope it was for more than that that you kept the
footer. How users respond to UI elements is important data, but it
must be analyzed and discussed. Otherwise the UI becomes a massive
wish list of elements.

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22 Apr 2009 - 12:37pm
Jason Pamental
2008

We've used it in a site and I think that others have summed it up -
it's there as a more visible illustration of the top two levels of
the site to help users move laterally with greater ease. By tucking
it down at the footer it's less obtrusive but easily found when
reaching the bottom of the page content. It's only relevant for
larger more complex sites though - I doubt it really would play an
important role in more modestly sized web sites.

Jason

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22 Apr 2009 - 12:37pm
jayeffvee
2007

Forgive a girl a little shorthand for the sake of this medium?

I kept the footer because the business liked it, one participant
really relied on it, it did no substantial harm, it's an emerging
pattern, and I had worked with that previous UX consultant for
something like eight years and in general trust his nose for these
things. So -- put it in, measure how it works, make sure it's easy
enough to rip it out later if it turns out to be a bad thing or if we
have the time in the future to imagine and thoroughly test a really,
really excellent thing.

Plus, we had much, much bigger fish to fry and a very limited budget
and time frame on which to fry it. So I opted to spend more effort on
the primary systems than on the redundant ones.

Make sense?

On Apr 22, 2009, at 5:16 AM, Michael Kay wrote:

> "... And truth be told, if it weren't for that one lady who totally
> relied on our footer, I was all in favor of killing it, ..."
> On a side note, I hope it was for more than that that you kept the
> footer. How users respond to UI elements is important data, but it
> must be analyzed and discussed. Otherwise the UI becomes a massive
> wish list of elements.
>

Joan Vermette
email: jayeffvee at mac.com
primary phone: 617-495-0184

22 Apr 2009 - 12:04pm
Ryan Loomis
2008

I think these types of footers serve as an extended courtesy
navigation for users that have already committed at least a moderate
level of interest in the site's content (as Dyske mentions above).
I do think the footer is a good place for them to appear.

I do not think these sitemap style footers belong on *every* site,
but for a site like target.com, it adds value. At a glance, I can
get a "30,000 foot view" of the site and Target's services (which
is a different view than I get from the global product navigation at
the top).

The real-world comparison would be the Directory in a mall. Even if
I know where I am going, I might stop to look at the directory (if I
conveniently walk past one) just to see what other stores or services
are on my way. The sitemap-style footer offers me the same type of
convenience. That is, I probably was not lost when I viewed the
footer, but it likely presented me with additional, convenient
options I may not have known about otherwise.

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22 Apr 2009 - 12:10pm
Sally Carson
2009

I worked on a major redesign of Yahoo Sports a couple years ago which
included a detailed footer design:

http://sports.yahoo.com/

We did quite a bit of user testing on a new "tabbed breadcrumb"
style of top navigation for the site -- that nav is now gone, but you
can read about it here, R.I.P.

http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/?p=211

There was a lot of concern that users would not understand this new
style of navigation, and so we decided to offer links to important
pages within the footer as a backup plan.

I was skeptical, but after observing users actually using the footer
links in testing, I realized that detailed footers act as a
last-ditch effort to give users what they were looking for, had they
scrolled down the entire page looking for a particular link and not
finding it.

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22 Apr 2009 - 12:26pm
Ryan Loomis
2008

I think these types of footers serve as an extended courtesy
navigation for users that have already committed at least a moderate
level of interest in the site's content (as Dyske mentions above).
I do think the footer is a good place for them to appear.

I do not think these sitemap-style footers belong on *every* site,
but for a site like target.com, it adds value. At a glance, I can
get a "30,000 foot view" of the site and Target's services (which
is a different view than I get from the global product navigation at
the top).

The real-world comparison would be the Directory in a mall. Even if
I know where I am going, I might stop to look at the directory (if I
conveniently walk past one) just to see what other stores or services
are on my way. The sitemap-style footer offers me the same type of
convenience. That is, I probably was not lost when I viewed the
footer, but it likely presented me with additional, convenient
options I may not have known about otherwise.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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22 Apr 2009 - 1:47pm
Kelly Brooks
2009

I also think that social networking has played a role. This now tends
to be the area where the site owner will note what social groups they
are registered with. In time, users will know that you should look at
the footer for this info. So....if the user is looking there already,
then it can be used for other notable navigational items that aren't
included in the main nav.

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23 Apr 2009 - 3:56am
Jeroen Elstgeest
2008

A year ago I worked on a big website here in the Netherlands. It had a menu
at the top, but the exact same one at the bottom. It was used rather well,
because its' users really used the whole page. It's not exactly the same as
the footer sitemap, but is a large navigational component.

On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 2:38 PM, Michael Kay <mikeque at peep.org> wrote:

> I have noticed a trend in websites using big detailed footers that contain
> site maps, but a lot more, like a mini-homepage. Look at the bottom of these
> two pages for example:
> http://www.americanidol.com/
> http://seekingalpha.com/article/131737-five-ways-this-bubble-may-end
>
> I understand this has something to do with SEO, but there may be more to
> it. Have others in this community investigated this novel UI on a usability
> or wayfinding basis? My first assumption is that they are mostly ignored by
> users, and not so useful down there, but I'm wondering if there's anyone who
> can shed more light on the subject.
>
> . . . michael kay
> . . . buenos aires / http://www.peep.org
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

23 Apr 2009 - 8:10pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Apr 22, 2009, at 6:10 AM, Coryndon Luxmoore wrote:

> I did some task basted research on a events site geared towards
> college students. The detailed footer was used by the users when the
> global navigation was unclear. So it functioned as a backup
> navigation for the users. The users generally seemed to view it
> positively though it was not an explicit part of the testing protocol.

For me, whenever someone starts talking about 'backup navigation', I
see red flags.

In my opinion, the typical implementations of these footers are only
used when something else about the scent of information on the page
has failed. It's the same for breadcrumbs and site maps.

Creating a great "detailed footer" or "bottom of page mini site map"
is another form of a design cop-out. Instead of fixing the problem
with the page's scent, we try to fix it with generic elements.

I'd love to see people telling us that they watched whenever someone
used these elements, then repaired the scent on the page so that they
were no longer necessary.

That's my opinion -- worth what you paid for it.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com

23 Apr 2009 - 8:58pm
Coryndon Luxmoore
2004

> In my opinion, the typical implementations of these footers are
only used when something else about the scent of information on the
page has failed. It's the same for breadcrumbs and site maps.

I have never seen a site that has a 100% success rate with no
mistakes, misinterpretations, oversights, or backtracks by any user.
Given that even well designed and tested sites can still have users
stumble from time to time it seems courteous for a site to provide
appropriate and unobtrusive tools to help orient the user should an
exception occur for them.

> I'd love to see people telling us that they watched whenever
someone used these elements, then repaired the scent on the page so
that they were no longer necessary

Given that the tests were to uncover usability and navigation issues
we recommended fixes to both the main navigation and page content
where appropriate. However the detailed footer was kept by the client.

From the testing I would say the footers were seen as a helpful tool
by the users even when they were not struggling with the navigation.
However, the footer was not an explicit part of the testing protocol
so this test is certainly not conclusive.

--c

--------------------------------------------
Coryndon Luxmoore
Interaction Designer

coryndon (at) luxmoore (dot) com
---------------------------------------------

23 Apr 2009 - 9:03pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Apr 23, 2009, at 6:58 PM, Coryndon Luxmoore wrote:

> > In my opinion, the typical implementations of these footers are
> only used when something else about the scent of information on the
> page has failed. It's the same for breadcrumbs and site maps.
>
> I have never seen a site that has a 100% success rate with no
> mistakes, misinterpretations, oversights, or backtracks by any user.
> Given that even well designed and tested sites can still have users
> stumble from time to time it seems courteous for a site to provide
> appropriate and unobtrusive tools to help orient the user should an
> exception occur for them.

Of course, there is no 100% success rate on anything.

However, making changes to a design has a cost. Fixing direct problems
will always pay off more than fixing symptoms.

> > I'd love to see people telling us that they watched whenever
> someone used these elements, then repaired the scent on the page so
> that they were no longer necessary
>
> Given that the tests were to uncover usability and navigation issues
> we recommended fixes to both the main navigation and page content
> where appropriate. However the detailed footer was kept by the client.
>
> From the testing I would say the footers were seen as a helpful tool
> by the users even when they were not struggling with the navigation.
> However, the footer was not an explicit part of the testing protocol
> so this test is certainly not conclusive.

Again, it's about the costs of design, implementation, and
maintenance. These elements don't come for free.

So, while people see them as helpful, the real question is if the
experience of the site is diminished when they are absent. If users
don't miss them, then why make the investment?

That's all I'm trying to say,

Jared

24 Apr 2009 - 6:54am
Coryndon Luxmoore
2004

> So, while people see them as helpful, the real question is if the
experience of the site is diminished when they are absent. If users
don't miss them, then why make the investment?

I would flip this question around a bit and ask does it noticeably
improve the experience for some users since users rarely miss
unfamiliar features. That question for me has not been answered.
Though from the incidental results I saw during testing they seem
helpful to users navigating a large content site.

I personally have some thoughts as to why they could be better than
some of the other orientation tools
- They are positioned after scanning the page for "lost" users
- They are positioned after the page content to offer choices to users
who have "consumed" the pages content
- They typically layout two levels of the site which is space
intensive and distracting to the pages primary content if done in the
top or side navigation
- They require no scrubbing to see the site second levels like drop
menus

--C

--------------------------------------------
Coryndon Luxmoore
Interaction Designer

coryndon (at) luxmoore (dot) com
---------------------------------------------

24 Apr 2009 - 9:20am
Danny Hope
2008

2009/4/22 Jeff Geurts <geurts at gmail.com>:
> If it were indeed a site map, then I would suggest linking to it from
> a top-level navigation area. There are more users familiar with a
> typical site map link than with scrolling to the bottom of the screen
> to find it there.

Can you point to evidence of this?

--
Danny Hope
07595 226 792
@yandle

24 Apr 2009 - 9:23am
Danny Hope
2008

2009/4/22 Erin Lynn Young <erinlynnyoung at gmail.com>:
> - www.target.com uses this type of footer
> - www.solarwinds.com does as well.

More examples: http://www.flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/sets/72157594487444992/

--
Danny Hope
07595 226 792
@yandle

24 Apr 2009 - 10:03am
Christine Boese
2006

I have nothing to add to this thread, except to add momentum to a meme that
I hear from time to time, as a better name to call these things, these "big
footers."

My favorite name for the "Big Footers" is Sasquatch. Please feel free to use
it as you see fit.

Chris

On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 1:49 AM, Viki Pandit <merlinvicki at gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes I have noticed that too and I really liked it. Infact strange as
> it sounds I was up till 3 am in the morning just yesterday
> redesigning the footer area of my blog(www.merlinvicki.in).
>
> I dont think its just SEO. I think the big footer area provides more
> info for the users and improves the User experience.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41412
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

24 Apr 2009 - 10:35am
Jeff Geurts
2009

Jared mentioned that a "sasquatch" footer might be an indication
that your site lacks sensible / complete navigation elements. That
could definitely be true.

But, I think that precludes the case where the footer area serves as
an instant browsing tool. It's true that many users are on the site
for a specific purpose, or even more than one specific purpose, in
which case the global or local navigation tools should strive to be
efficient and intuitive.

What about users who are browsing or "virtually loitering"? They
can scan the footer for keywords, etc, for a new object of interest,
without having any idea what they're really looking for, and without
needing to hover over menus or drill down through multiple levels of
navigation, etc, etc.

Don't get me wrong - I find them cluttersome (probably not a word, I
know), but I'm a snatch-and-grab web user, not typically a loiterer
;)

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24 Apr 2009 - 11:03am
gfrances@iconta...
2008

@Jared,

"...the real question is if the experience of the site is diminished when they are absent."

I think you can find examples for both ends of the polemic - sites where the experience is diminished, and sites where the experience is not diminished.

For me, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport is a site that would be suffer if you took the detailed footer away. Oftentimes I find myself using it for a casual browse of areas I don't normally look at.

There appears to be something of an assumption that there is an IA issue underlying the decision to implement a detailed footer. For me, that's a too narrow interpretation of the design pattern's usefulness.

24 Apr 2009 - 11:22am
Bo Lora
2009

http://www.att.com uses this navigation method as well and they call
it a "link farm"

I agree with Jared in his questioning of the investment.

I think these "link farms" are actually a way to appease the
business people who want their links on the front page.

Its a way for designers to clean up the site above the fold and
relegate the plethora of links the business wants.

I think the trend has an unintended benefit for accessibility and
mobile platforms. The link farm is at the bottom so it is a somewhat
unobtrusive way to provide a site map without having to do a lot of
navigation.

Another motive for the link farm (at least at att.com) is & key word
density for search engine optimization.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41412

24 Apr 2009 - 12:01pm
Erin Lynn Young
2009

I do think there is justification for a site like target.com, where
browsing products is the primary use case and dominates the global
navigation, but there are also clear-cut ancillary use cases that
must be served.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41412

24 Apr 2009 - 3:45pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Apr 24, 2009, at 4:54 AM, Coryndon Luxmoore wrote:

> > So, while people see them as helpful, the real question is if the
> experience of the site is diminished when they are absent. If users
> don't miss them, then why make the investment?
>
> I would flip this question around a bit and ask does it noticeably
> improve the experience for some users since users rarely miss
> unfamiliar features. That question for me has not been answered.
> Though from the incidental results I saw during testing they seem
> helpful to users navigating a large content site.

If you change "noticeably improve" to "measurably improve" I'm with
you there.

(Anyone know why "noticeably" has an 'e' before the suffix, but
"measurably" doesn't? English wasn't my first language -- Baby Talk
was. I've never mastered it.)

> I personally have some thoughts as to why they could be better than
> some of the other orientation tools
> - They are positioned after scanning the page for "lost" users
> - They are positioned after the page content to offer choices to
> users who have "consumed" the pages content
> - They typically layout two levels of the site which is space
> intensive and distracting to the pages primary content if done in
> the top or side navigation
> - They require no scrubbing to see the site second levels like drop
> menus

All this is true. However, the questions are about how they improve
the experience and whether their improvement is worth it.

Lost users will only benefit from the links if they make them less
lost. This will only happen if the content is what they are seeking
and the scent is good. Generic links that give off poor scent (think
"Products" or "Solutions") won't get someone un-lost.

Instead, it needs to be something specific to what they were actually
searching for. And there's the rub: If they knew how to find what they
were looking for originally, how did they become lost? The odds that
the detailed-footer / big-footer / sasquatch-site-map element is
better at helping a user find content than the intended navigation on
the site is, well, very small. If the designers could create great
navigation in the first place, they would quickly find that they don't
need these cop-out elements.

As for being positioned on the screen, many designs hide them behind a
horizontal rule and a chunk of whitespace (or two). We've known for a
long time (http://is.gd/umAU) that these visual elements stop users
from scrolling, thereby preventing them from seeing the footers.

I contend that building a powerful and useful detailed-footer / big-
footer / sasquatch-site-map element would take a ton of research and
expertise about how people locate information on the site. When you're
done with all that research, you might as well invest your efforts in
fixing the problems that got the user lost in the first place, instead
of helping them recover from what has become a negative experience.

Just my $0.02.

:)

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com

24 Apr 2009 - 4:38pm
Jeff Geurts
2009

Some of us seem to be assuming that the footer contains a site map,
straight up. And others are assuming it could be that OR a context
sensitive area for calling out interesting or related material /
resources.

I'm not thinking about lost users at all - if a user is lost and
needs a site map, then yes, site navigation has probably failed. Most
failures like that should be avoidable without appending a site map to
every page (ugh!).

I'm really thinking about users who don't even know what they're
searching for .. the footer area is used to offer up more material,
point to interesting areas of the site, etc.

This has certainly been "talked to death", but I'm loving the
insights everyone is sharing!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41412

27 Apr 2009 - 8:03am
Dyske Suematsu
2009

If someone could run an A/B test on this to see if the big footer can
increase visitor retention, it would be great. Often, "talking to
death" about this type of stuff isn't so productive because
theories that sound convincing aren't always the right ones. After
all, human behavior is quite irrational.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41412

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