My group is looking at IGN.com for our final project. Specifically, we see that the navigation of the website is utterly cluttered and is in dire need of a new design. The problem we see with the navigation of the website is that it’s poor because of the layout of the website itself. IGN.com gets most of its money by advertisements, so these ads have to be in specific places for people to see them. Companies will pay more money for the bigger ads that are placed in areas of the website that are easily seen, giving them more exposure. These ads make the website look cramped, and at times it can look cheap (with all of the moving ads and flashing colors). It can really take away the feeling of the website.
When we were viewing our options for changing the navigation of the website (which included the ads and the space they take up) and we started wondering what the audience (users who visit the website) would think of a new layout. Assuming that the general population of visitors do not realize that the ads are necessary (or the placement of the ads is important) for the website to continue operation, how would the audience respond to having better navigation, but a little more ads? If there are more ads on the website, the website itself can make more money, and perhaps dump some more resources into making the website run a little smoother (faster loading times, more effort spent to improve navigation, improved features throughout the website) or add new tools to help improve the usability (besides navigation). On the other hand, less ads mean that the website is most likely going to improve visually. Navigation could be much easier to follow without the ads cluttering the website. The downside is that you could lose money by not having as many ads supported. Without the money you may not be able to update the website as frequently, or maybe you can’t have as many high definition picture and video features because of the increased storage space they require.
So what is the perfect solution here? Does the audience just want the functionality of a working website that has maybe not so many updates, but a clean look and an easy to use navigation? Do they want more content and a fancier design with more bandwidth-consuming flash menus (paid for by the money increased ads would give the website developers)? Is there a happy middle ground where there is balance? Another question to ask is “Do some of the users actually like the ads?” Maybe they like the ads because they find them informative. After all, this is another reason the ads are there (they are relevant to the information featured in the website). Perhaps there is a way to forgo the ads entirely (maybe one sponsor that gives money to the website to promote only their products). Does anyone have any ideas?