Review Page overhaul
by andrew152 - 8/6/10 1:23 AM
I have come to Cnet.com for many product reviews and it has helped me decide on purchases ranging from computer monitors, hd televisions, computer components, wireless house phones, and mp3 players. I value Cnet.com as a resource for easy access to reviews for many of the tech purchases in my life.
However, this recent website overhaul has made what was an easy search for reviews slightly more frustrating. The search function doesn't seem to be changed overmuch so I have no complaints in that department, but when I tried to read a review on a laptop I had found through said search function it took a moment to sift through the large amounts of conflicting information on the review page.
Where once there was a clean tab system to distinguish between the official review, User reviews, and specifications, now there are both tabs for each section and windows within the page displaying parts of the review and the user reviews sections.
This is exacerbated by the nature of the windows. The official review is given less space than the user reviews. It is accepted wisdom among the wise internet shoppers that user reviews must be taken with a grain of salt. Dissatisfied customers post user reviews more often than satisfied customers. The vocal minority, as it were. The purpose of shoppers coming to Cnet.com is for the official review with a breakdown of the product's pros and cons. User reviews can be viewed in greater quantity on shopping sites such as amazon.com and newegg.com. We come to Cnet.com for the detailed and professional information given by the editors.
The presence of ads on the right, while indeed necessary in the context of business models, creates further confusion of information. A border between the information desired by the reader, the review, and the ads would be the best way to organize the webpages.
On the subject of color schemes, the use of light blue as borders between sections as well as selectable links does a poor job of sectioning off the information and displaying links. The contrast of light blue and white is less noticeable than the contrast of red and white. The particular shade of gray used as a background and accent throughout the webpage blends somewhat with the light blue and confuses the eye. Personally, the blue also conflicts with the Cnet.com banner at the top, which consists of Red, Black/dark grey, and White. The blue is an unwelcome conflict of colors. Tabs would be better off being Red like the logo and elsewhere in the site (such as this post-creation page).
This is all my opinion however, and as such may not represent the impressions of the other users of Cnet.com. To ascertain the opinions of the greater userbase, I suggest a survey. I had hoped that the survey I took immediately prior to writing this email would include the possibility of commenting on the new style, but it didn't.
Thank you for reading this, and if you didn't, shame on you.