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Why do I bother?

Why do I bother?

Why do I bother?

As part of a freelance job, I recently had to design a small advert to be placed on TruckNet UK. When I visited the site this first thing that struck me was how badly designed it is. Visually it's not much to look at but just spend a couple of minutes trying to use it and you will see what I mean. It's almost as though it has been conceived as an example of how NOT to make a website. Take, for example, the main tabbed navigation across the top of the page. The first link, Trucking Jobs, goes to a page on a completely different website, opened in a new window! The second link goes to a page simply saying 'under construction'. The third link goes to an 'events' section which has no events listed for any day of the year. The fourth link is exactly the same as the first but with the text Recruiting rather than Trucking Jobs. The fifth is a forum but they call it RoundTable which, to a newcomer, is not obvious. Finally the last link also opens a page from different website in a new window. As if that wasn't inconsistent enough, some pages such as the Submit a Link page display an identical-looking menu but whose links all point to different pages, most of which are full of incomprehensible errors. And it doesn't stop there. The menu on the left is all over the place with more links to the same site that was already linked twice in the main menu. Most pages do not contain a link back to the home page. The footer contains links to two identical pages with different names and another blank page. Then in the right column there's a small banner for "The TruckNet Drivers RoundTable: Open 24-7". Most people would ignore this advert yet it conceals the trucking forum which seems to be the only useful part of the whole site. BUT, on every page bar the homepage, that banner actually leads an error page! I could go on... Surely nobody uses such a poor website, I hear you exclaim. Alas, this is the most popular trucking website in the country! It claims over 60,000 unique visitors per week and has a very active community in its (very well hidden) forums. All of which begs the question: if a website this bad can do this well, am I just wasting my time?

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3 Comments
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3 Comments
Plusnet Staff
ah,, but at least its links *look* like links so you understand what you're meant to click on as a 'user'. And the buttons glow, so you know it's a button. A community is made up of people not css standards and ajax jiggery pokery. Clearly bad links are rubbish but if the eu can find his/her way to the forums or whatever they'll forgive a bit of slapdash. I don't think you're wasting your time and I'm sure the webmaster will be extremely happy to hear your expert view on how the site can be improved.
N/A
Firstly, thank you for your review! If you had used the (Working) contact page I would have been happy to give you a little detail. The website was not built for TruckNet, when I started the website I had zero money and zero knowledge of website design/coding. I managed to persuade a USA company to give me free use of an existing template and hosting that they were4 using for their USA truck wbsite Over the years I concerntrated on what I was good at, building the community, the main website attracts very little traffic indeed, the HUGE majority utalise the forums, and find their way there directly via google. Consequently the major time investment went into the active parts of the website (still had no cash !) Last year things changed dramaticaly, the website was sold to a major publishing house, and it is now in the process of moving off the 8 year old CMS and open source forums onto a far better package, that being the case it is deemed to be a waste of resources plugging all the gaps I have ignored over the years. I do agree that as it stands the websites functionality is pretty ropey, however it works, The website is in effect User generated content, and that area of the website is growing weekly. With the rebuild the UGC core of the website will have a far greater emphasise. however as I am sure you can understand moving 5 years of data between two platforms that at first sight are pretty incompatable is going to be a long task.
Grafter
Hi rikki, thanks for your inciteful reply Smiley I suppose it just goes to show how important the community aspect is and that if you are providing a genuinely useful and unique service, many people will work their way around the obstacles to get there. I wish you the best of luck in the upgrade process.