Dice.com Redesign – User Interface

More of all of this Web User Experience and User Interface “stuff” coming.  On the other hand, it’s a shorter article and there are pictures to illustrate what I’m banging on about.  It’s shorter because they fixed most of what I found wrong with it.

Over the last week, Dice.com decided to do some changes to their site.  The last discussion was on Friday and you can read it here.  There was a redesign to the search that made it less useful.  On the other hand, after taking another look at it, they decided to reverse most if not all of the changes.

It made it better.  Well to be fair, it made it better for me to use, and hopefully for others.   It is now much more useful and much more useable.  What I have now are more on the line of Suggestions than major problems.

Think of it as a “Design Concern” than a “Full Stop”.

Any time you are going to write a web page, or web site you have to make some decisions, whether or not you realize you are going to do so.  You are setting your boundaries.  One major boundary is what size of a page will you be writing for.  There are a lot of people running around with little netbooks.   If they were pink, I would call them “Barbie’s Computer” because they look like a little thing that hasn’t grown up yet.  I am assuming that this is as small of a screen you will write for, because when I write for my own clients, I use that width.

I call this “One K Mode” because it is 1024 pixels wide. In my case, the page I’m looking at has drifted to a wider page because I have a wider monitor, but when I develop I develop for 1024 as my standard width.

I promise I won’t get “too deep” here for my non technical users.  Consider this as a “standard” width.  Anything more gets into numbers that are more like what you see when you are shopping for a TV.  Since most people have a computer to do serious work that are this size or larger, this is your benchmark.

Dice.Com “Detail” search results

Dice has a page with three panes.  A Left Control Panel, the search results in the middle, and the Right Control Panel.

Suggestion one – Merge the Right Control Panel onto the bottom of the Left Control Panel.
Reason – it gives you more room to grow for the search results.
Why should you care?  Because the individual fields displayed are variable in width and you end up with weird truncation if the field has a lot to show.

Suggestion two – For Summary, limit each column in the center pane for the search results to one line.
Reason – It allows the web page to pack more results onto one vertical page.
Why should you care? Because more results on one page increases ease of use for the person looking at the results and makes one more likely to return.

Suggestion three – Consider reducing the white space.
Reason – It allows for more pertinent results and information displayed to the user at one shot.
Why should you care?   More results are easier to manage just like in suggestion two.

Dice.com “Summary” search results

Suggestion four – if you are going to truncate a long description, if you really feel it is necessary in the summary, go ahead and add an ellipsis to the end (the three dots)
Reason – we are used to seeing those three dots in Windows Explorer or Mac OSX Finder.  It is comfortable and useful.
Why Should you care?  It’s really just a nice to have.  I’d lop it off at an arbitrary useful length but definitely not go on to a second line.

The ironic thing is that Monster.com has just done the same thing that Dice.com did back on April Fools Day.  I’m still working my way through recreating my links and my sorts.  The problem is that with Monster.com, I can’t really easily work with their sorts.   Dice.com is head and shoulders above what Monster has done for usability, and in 10 days went from a horrendous mess to something that’s pretty close to where I’d want it to be.

Obviously I am a demanding user.  I’m also stubborn enough to make something work for me by fiddling around with it.   I have to, just like many other folks who are using their services because they are in the job market.  I just am the kind of guy who won’t sit back and complain to myself, I’ll do it here if I find something wrong or if it is right I’ll praise it.

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