American Marketer


Go ahead, admit it: these new PC sites suck

April 11, 2014

Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of Luxury Daily Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of Luxury Daily


In the rush to build the mobile site of their dreams, marketers and publishers have turned their larger-screen Web sites into a nightmare.

This whole lemming-like drive for responsive design sites has ruined the browsing and navigating experience for PC Web sites. Not only are cardinal rules about design wantonly broken, but download speeds have taken a tumble as well.

Go on, take a look at your favorite media site, for example. See those big fat images on the screen with an equally embarrassing headline scrolled across? That is because the site is developed for a smaller, mobile-phone screen, so it looks good on a smartphone and nowhere else.

While mobile sites are getting more traffic by the day, PC Web sites still count, especially as consumers browse on desktop and laptop computers during work hours and when in their home offices.

Not PC
Ironic that a member of the leading mobile publication should defend PC sites, but in this age of multiscreen consumption it bears to note that the experience across all screens should be pleasing, if not uniform.

Clunky is the word when it comes to the new PC Web sites with their outsized images and fonts all over the place. Navigation is not linear and extremely poor.

Indeed, the whole concept of placing the most important information and images above the fold – on the screen before the first scroll – is out the window. Has someone not noticed? Or are Web developers so cowed that they cannot defend sensibly designed PC sites?

This new architecture is clearly tiled-based. Who to blame for that? Microsoft.

In the rush to copy the software giant, most marketers forgot that readers like scrolling from top to bottom, not as much sideways. And the fewer the page scrolls the better.

Well, the new-look PC sites have endless page scrolls. In fact, the home screen goes on endlessly, which is quite annoying. Facebook and eBay have adopted this strategy of endless scrolls.

NO WONDER mobile Web and application traffic is on the rise. The traditional Web experience is fast becoming unappealing, confusing and cluttered.

Readers love the simple layout of smartphone screens. What are their most common design characteristics? Top-to-bottom scrolls, few sideways distractions, legible font, images sized just right. Just what the PC Web used to be before going mobile-first and PC-last.