I recently completed the head-fi survey, and since I left some ridiculously detailed feedback on suggested improvements there, I thought I'd repeat the key points of the feedback I left, plus some additional points that came to mind after I had submitted the survey:
- When a user searches for something matching a product name, it would probably be better to take the user directly to the product page. The product page could then contain the deeper links to the forums and so
- The product pages should contain product homepage links
- Again, on the product pages: Specifications - a broad overview, such as impedance
- Further, I would like to see recommended/expected retail prices for gear on the product pages
- Also, and this would possibly provide a source of revenue for head-fi: Affiliate links to external sites, so users who decide on buying after having read head-fi links can shop
Then there is the site layout:
- Head-fi is very grey, for lack of a better word - by that I mean that all the white space is in the same color, and for a user that looks away from the page for whatever reason, this poses a problem, since there are very few visual anchors he can latch on to when refocusing the web page - he will have to use several clues instead of just one or two to get back to the page he or she was on. This could be remedied with more careful use of white space, both positive and negative
- Fonts, font sizes, line height and line lengths pose a problem on this site, because most text sections are very compact. This means that scanning the text becomes more difficult, and it takes longer to read the text. This ties in with the use of white space mentioned earlier, but also bigger fonts and shorter lines are needed. In the past, there has been a trend in web design to set font sizes to 12 or 13 pixels, but this trend stems from a time when most people were using desktop monitors with limited resolutions (such as 1024x768 on a 17"). The DPI on modern laptops makes this less than optimal these days, where you'll typically find 1280x800 on a 13", or 1920x1200 on a 15".
- In the product review sections, the top part of the review (Reviewer, star rating, pros/cons) could do with being visually distinct from the rest of the review. Again, this would help with the walls of non-distinct white space that I mentioned earlier.
- Product reviews are of varying quality - some are extremely good, while other reviews seems to have been written by someone who gave the product two minutes of listening while waiting for their significant other at Best Buy. It would be useful to have a rating mechanism for the reviews themselves - having the highest rated reviews go to the top will save readers time when reading multiple reviews. Implicit review ratings based on the cumulative feedback on a reviewer's history could also be used.
- When a user leaves a public review, being able to see each of his/her's ratings on Audio Quality, Comfort and Value would be useful
A small point: I most recently consulted head-fi when shopping around for headphones offline, and looked here for advice. Head-fi desperately needs a mobile version. The layout of the current site is very nearly inaccessible on the iPhone (and quite probably other mobile browsers), and many of the points mentioned above, such as going directly to the product pages bit me as I was searching.
Finally, I hope this doesn't come out as overly critical - it's just that I find head-fi to be a useful resource that could be made even better with a few careful changes.