I Love ‘Em But Their Website Makes My Skin Crawl!

After Today, You Can Have a Better Site Than a $250 Million Company

Disclaimer: Go Daddy is VisionPoints’ web hosting company. I think they’re superb. Their customer service is top-notch. That is a big part of Experience Design, especially in the beginning of a relationship with a company whose doors I will never set foot inside. If you’re just a little tech-y, but don’t have a resident tech guru, you’d never want to go anywhere else.

This is about their user interface (the website you and I see and try to use), a huge part of their Experience Design after the relationship is established, and about making sure you will never, ever put up a website like it for your business.

Breaking All the Rules

The site is a classic example of what not to do. It’s crowded, it’s crazy, it’s unfocused, and it’s discouragingly difficult to use, even when you’ve been a customer for quite some time.

Go Daddy home page

“Hello? I’d like to buy the racecar driver on special for $1.99. Thanks.”

When you try to use a feature it gets even uglier, as randomly-sized menus seem to pop up from almost anything you roll over on the homepage. This does not get better on interior pages.

Go Daddy with menu

Wildly confusing menus pop up and are difficult to get rid of. They can get in the way of the action you were trying to take (Log Out, for instance, is below a menu you must carefully avoid on some screens). And now I can’t even see the nice lady who has nothing to do with web hosting.

On my 17″ laptop, an arguably standard size screen to design for, this disheartening mess continues way “below the fold” (below where you have to scroll), where only information I don’t necessarily need should be placed.

Go Daddy below the fold

See the racecar drivers’ faces? Next to them (under the menu) it reads: “New to Go Daddy? Not sure where to begin? Our Product Advisor is your personal guide.” With a big arrow leading from their faces. Is Dale Jr. going to teach me about Go Daddy? No matter. With the dark color, pop-up menus, and thousand other things grabbing your attention on this page, you’ll never notice the bar anyway.

On every page, some menu items are repeated in various locations, leaving the viewer always wondering if they are choosing the “right” version of the task they want to accomplish.

What Rules?

Simplify, simplify, simplify. Three rules in three areas. Follow these and you’ll have a site that puts Go Daddy’s to shame:

From a graphic design standpoint: What do your customers need to see?

Visual focus: clear Purpose jumping out at the viewer

No clutter

Aesthetically pleasing (yes, good looks count)

From a usability standpoint: What do we need to function?

Ease of reading

Logical progression through navigation

One location for each action

From a sales (marketing) standpoint: What do we need to read?

A hierarchy from headline to details, leading to the action I take next

Benefits to me (the Ideal Customer)

Straight talk, no jargon or confusion

Oh, boy, a debate!

I think they’d be making sales a lot easier, and post-sale satisfaction a lot higher, if this part of their Customer Experience were a lot better. Heck, I don’t think there’s any way to go but up on this.

Let’s debate this for a minute. Not whether they’re functioning in spite of themselves (they’re making plenty of money, no doubt)—whether there are benefits to what they’re doing.

For instance, are they actually being told that this terrible user Experience is somehow the right thing for them to do? Go Daddy has the money to hire me and any other Experience Designers they choose. So why is their site so horrid?

Is there any reason why they need to be so awful, from a business standpoint? What do you think?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


If you haven’t read yesterday’s article, no one has found the post where I make a reference to my age yet. There’s a prize involved for you, but there’s only six days left to find it! Why not click here to read the rules, and take a Whack at it?