I think it is more than exciting that HUD launched a blog. It gives the people whose lives they effect a way to interact with them. They even call it the interactive blog. The problem is that they forgot to make it interactive and user friendly. I love that they incorporated video but here are 5 things that HUD can do to make the HUDdle a much more “Interactive” and friendly blog. This can also apply to personal blogs and any other organization that wants to use a blog for outreach and community interaction.
1. They forgot navigation. If you look down either the right or left hand side of the Hud blog, they forgot to give people a way to search or find topics. You cannot look up posts by category, by author, by date or by anything. They don’t have a tag cloud and they aren’t using breadcrumbs. These are extremely simple things to implement and they update on their own. They also forgot to include any form of calendar or timeline categorization so you can reference posts from a few years back. Forgetting all of this will damage the user experience and worse, the experience of the Search Engines crawling their site.
2. No Newsletter. They remembered to include social media icons, but they forgot to develop a readership. By having a newsletter box or even a light box for the first or second time someone visits they can get more active with their user base and be able to reach them easier if they really ever have an announcement.
3. Not deaf friendly. They decided that video was important and important enough to upload it to youtube and their own blog. The problem with their video is that since deaf people cannot hear it and they did not include captions on it, their messaging is lost for deaf people and the site is not as friendly for them. People at their desks at work with no speakers cannot hear it and neither can people in coffee shops that have a lot of background noise. For being an interactive blog, they certainly did not include everyone who would want to hear their message.
4. Their social media icons make you leave the site. The problem with this is that they are distracting their visitors and helping them leave. It is great to have social media icons, especially since Google and Bing count influential tweets and likes in their search algorithms, but you don’t want someone to leave your site for a social site where they may not come back. They should use social media icons that keep them on their site and let them share from the article.
5. The about us page is not interactive or friendly. Having a picture of the voice of HUD or the head of PR or the head of the organization welcoming people and inviting feedback is what would make it more welcoming and may help to invite interaction.
It is great that HUD has created a blog, but they forgot some of the most basic things like user experience. Without thinking about the end user, your “interactive” blog is only going to be so “interactive”.
Thank you for your feedback on our new HUD blog, The HUDdle. To turn on captions on the video, users may click on the upward facing arrow after the video starts playing.
April Brown, HUD
Amazing critique Adam. I posted your blog in the comments section of the GovLaunch… hopefully HUD sees it and can take a few of your suggestions
One thing I do like is that they have the “Like button” without sending you away so can do it on the site
Thanks for the nice feedback. April, please feel free to reach out to me through http://www.adamriemer.me. There is a lot more you could add in for free that could definitely help the user experience. =0).
Steve, the important thing about the like button as well is that Google and Bing are both using those as ranking algorithms for a particular page if the person has social influence. That is very important for that particular page.
Hi Stephen. Thank you, if you want a full critique I can do that. This was a 2 second glance and a write up. Come to PubCon in March. I think I am on a site review panel there. Live question and answer and feedback. =0). I can send you more info through my blog. Its an awesome show!
Thanks for posting, Adam. Also found your explanations very helpful — clear, easy to read, and practical.