Saturday, January 21, 2006

What's Wrong with's web site?

I have been using to download audiobooks for over a year now. I value the service and quality of the audiobook selection, the delivery and management via Itunes and the value audible offers for their content.

Their web site experience seems to be a critical component of their success since it is the only way to interface with their customers. Their site design and functionality has always seemed sub-par to me, so I was happy to hear they were to release a new site design which was released in December. My first reaction to the new design was not good. I hated the business of the pages and it was slow as a dog. So I decided to take some time with it before I write an immature review.

Feature wise, the site remains the same with some added components that busy up the page and make it bloated. The wish list, next listen and my library are virtually the same. They also have link to Best Sellers, New Releases and Award Winners. The search capability seems to be the same. I am always able to find content on books and authors with minimal fuss. The Categories are the same groupings, but the presentation of the groups is what bothers me. Instead of sub-catagorie links, they have rows of sub categories and too much content on one page. I prefer a simple interface that you can navigate with speed.

The main complaint I have aside from the UI is that it is just too slow. I use the site on my DSL, Wireless and a T1 connection and it seems to be slow every time I try to navigate.

So the question is can audible grow a business and have success with an inferior user interface and poor experience? As a subscriber, I am disappointed in their effort that was long overdue, but I guess like all new released that come out now the "beta" tag will remain on the page as the ultimate excuse for poor execution.

Am I off base or just too picky? User experience is very individual and I am by no means an expert. What do you think?

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