QuickTip Sundays: CNN, Google And Business Needs Getting In The Way Of User Needs

Don’t Let Business Needs Get In The Way Of User Needs

Yeah, I know, we all have to make money on this thing, but one of the most annoying things about CNN.com is that the search box is set to default to the web, specifically Google.

But what if I want to search CNN.com?

When it comes to the web, I figure I’m smarter than the average bear, but it took me a couple of tries to figure out what it was doing. and that I had to click on CNN News above the search box to change the search. Not only is the indication of status above the search box weak (the links are bolder than the status), but for the millions of users that use CNN, you would think they would be able to make enough money on advertising not to perform this standard web trick.

This is, in essence, like a porn site: let’s hide the link so we can make some more revenue. Additionally (and I’m going to call Google out on this), this dirties the reputation of both CNN and Google because you and I know this was part of the business deal. Some lawyers got together and figured out a way some extra revenue.

I know this isn’t an isolated case. Another conversation I had with someone that works with an even larger site that also has a deal with Google said that the search engine practically monopolizes search, and in essence, it hurts the user experience of the whole site because of the legal terms of the revenue deal.

User needs should not be adversely affected by business needs, and the user experience of what we see here is affected actually that.

If you are making changes to your site to generate a few extra clicks, you’re in the wrong business. Users see through that, and it will affect your business.