Gather - An Over-Crowded Interface

“Rethink the underlying information architecture”

Busy is something you are when 3 files drop on your desk on a mid-Friday afternoon and you know each will require personal discussion and several degrees of multitasking to resolve, when the deadline is 5pm and you’re sorry arse is scraping in the last hour with only one duck down and two to go. Busy makes your adrenalin run to pull in the deal while meeting other commitments and its where you’re absorbed to the point of dizziness in something right at your intellectual periphery along the learning curve.

Busy isn’t what you want in an interface as I’d suggest is happening in a big way over on Gather (BETA). I actually went there to find out what they were about but when the page opened my head cramped and I left. Then I thought about why I left. And I went back to pull that screenshot below to SHOW you why I left. The screen is too over-crowded with the desire to put everything on the home page and it scrolls down with the same content philosophy.

While this may work for them in every other instance than mine I’d suggest some rethinking may be in order about what content needs to be represented on the home page and what just got added to the list. Rethink the underlying information architecture to see if there’s any common grouping which could logically re-align these information assets into something better chunked.

I’d also note the tiny fonts sized with pixels are probably indicative of the desire to tightly control this crowding effect on the screen. The category content must be as small as 8 or 9 pixels!

Otherwise I kind of like the look of the site being quite simple and slick and I’ve heard good things about Gather (BETA) so don’t take this as a negative on the company themselves. I’m talking interface design rather than looking underneath at any code or trying to draw bigger pictures in the sand. The point is I left because it was too much and that makes information I’m seeking too hard to find. I’m a lazy bastard and I really don’t like to look too hard - maybe its just me.

But effective interfaces actually interface with the user rather than push the entire fortune of content at them. Remember any site is about the user and its about the user finding content. Intuitively its something as users we all know and yet its tempting to put all your assets in the user’s face from the get-go…

[OK I looked at the underlying table layout and stuff and 135 errors at HTML 4.0 Transitional and my head just hangs and shakes]

Gather is a classic overcrowded interface

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