famouswhy.com is a user generated content site that provides information to a very wide range of “famous” things. Whether it be celebrities, or internationally known cities, famouswhy.com makes privy almost every known Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How facit of famousness.
My first reaction on entrance to the site is that it is a bit ‘tight’, giving me the feeling of information overload. The website does well taking up page space, but not necessarily at presenting it. It is not clear exactly what the site is, how to use it, or even where to begin. I was immediately turned off by the bouncing banner at the masthead of the page, but even more so with the over abundance of advertising links within the text of the page.
One of the most important areas of a website is the navigation system, and the system laid out on this site is very unclear. The only one that I was sure of was the “People” tab, but the others were not an immediate connection, and even upon clicking each one, I had to scroll down well past the advertisements to even see what the page was about. Further, there is no “Home” button. Additionally, the “Forum” tab completely disconnects the user from the famouswhy.com branding as it has a completely different design and layout.
Through the entire site, the font size is very small and would be much more readable with some attention to leading in the text. There are also many misspellings in the site. For the main entry page, the three column layout for the top of the page, does not work as well for the subject presented as a simpler two column layout would. I would have preferred to see the “News” section taking up both the area it is located in currently, along with the area to its left where the “What is…” is found. I also do not feel it is necessary to use so much important web real estate for the “Famous People born on…”. One column would suffice for this, and a link to more – this is better represented on the “Born Today” page.
Going further down the page, it is a bit more clear what information that you can acquire here on “Famous Celebrities”. However, same as above, it is a bit cluttered, and there is a little too much information leaving the user overwhelmed on where he/she should begin clicking.
Fig 1. The four ads get prime placement over content
As mentioned above, navigating through the menu, and choosing “People” lands me on pages that offer first 3 huge advertisements (Fig 1.), along with the mast head banner, leaving me to have to scroll down the page to find out exactly what the page is about. While this may be a great way for them to sell their product, which is what I found the site attempting to most often do, it is not the best way to capture users. Ad’s are necessary but intricate planning and placement so as to do its job, but not be in the users face.
In “Regions” (Fig 2.) , it does offer a clear indication above the fold that this page is about “Famous Regions, Cities, Countries and Places of the World”. And when choosing a Region, the information is offered where it is expected to be, before an advertisement, though they are there, both in blocks and strewn throughout the text. The content is pretty standard, giving facts and details about the area. I would have liked to seen more photos, and maybe some conversations/reviews from users about the chosen region.
Fig 2. Regions Main Page
The “Articles” and “Software” sections did not really make much sense to me within the subject of this site. I understand that there are obviously very famous Articles, but I did not see anything like that here. As well, the Software section did not offer famous software, but rather just a collection of no-name software and even more ads. In saying that, they do have a separate section selling the famous questions software – not sure if that is the software that drives their site.
famouswhy.com creators definitely need to work on organization in each main category. In Famous People, it might be beneficial to introduce their People Categories (including artists, writers, presidents, etc.) at the top of the page, rather than in the haze of random people and advertisements. Considering the TMZ style of celebrity gossip, the moderators might do well to lay out all major categories of fame (i.e Persons, Places, and Things), and then add sub-categories where fit.
Fig 3. Shockstats – or lack there of
In closing, it is clear that the creators are trying to cover a vast variety of so-called “famous” things, but seem to weigh more importance on their advertising, and the pushing of their CMS over content. It is evident (Fig 3.) that there is little to no user ship here, with the lack of any reviews, likes, tweets or the like. This is the case in the entire site, with the only small exception being the forum where there are a handful of users that continually post and comment on each others posts.