I have a great interest in GUI (graphical user interface) design and am very sensitive to designs that cause me extra work. As a matter of fact, after I retired from the law, one of my most interesting second careers was to help design the GUI for a GPS program (since I had been reviewing GPS equipment for years the company thought I’d have a pretty good idea about what worked, or didn’t work.) Being exposed to programmers and designers hightened my interest in GUI design even more.
I decided that it would be fun for TeleRead to put up a free ebook pick at least once a week – and maybe even daily. The ebook would have to be currently in print – not a Project Gutenberg-type book. Now, I have limited time to do this. It takes a lot of time just to plow through hundreds of RSS feeds to get the news. To do a free ebook pick I need to get in and out of the ebook site fast. After looking at Amazon, Kobo and B&N, I came to the conclusion that Kobo and B&N used poorly designed sites that would simply take me too long to find a book and post it. iBooks was even farther out of the running because, for them, I had to fire up a completely seperate program, iTunes, and plow through that.
To get a Kobo pick I had to do 4 clicks and I also had to remember the completely unintuitive structure of the site to get to the top 10 ebooks. (The “free ebooks” link doesn’t take you there.) Lose!
To get a B&N pick there simply is now way to do it unless I want to do a search for books priced at $0.00 or remember a special url. Thanks to our readers for pointing these two methods out. Lose!
For Amazon I had to do 2 clicks and the info is right there. Guess who wins.
In this I’m sure I am like a lot of consumers. I don’t want to wade through unintuitive websites to get the info I want. Perhaps I go farther than most consumers in that I absolutely will not reward a company for designing a bad website. One might think that, as a service to our readers, I should do the extra clicks and report on the other vendors. I won’t do it, however. Neither Kobo nor B&N should be rewarded with the publicity for doing things badly. And I, as a user, shouldn’t be punished by having to waste my time.
So, until the others learn what a proper GUI is all about and make it easy for me, I’ll stick with Amazon picks. I wonder how much of Amazon’s success is simply because they have the GUI down pat.