Functionality

There are two main issues with the UKAPW's functionality:
  • Functionality you want is not there, or is hard to find
  • Functionality you don't want is all too prevalent
As a specific example of the second bullet, we suggest that some functionality appears to benefit the CV of the designer rather than the user. We give a liberal dose of examples.

[1] Missing functionality

A website's core functionality should be shown on its home page – and ideally on each page.

We could easily incorporate core functionality into column 1 of a 3-column design. A working and very relevant example is the Society of Actuaries website Other proofs of concept are the potential UKAPW home page and the myFIA home page

[2] Unwanted functionality

Too much of the UKAPW "functionality" is superfluous tricks; it adds no value, often requiring the user to make extra mouse clicks. It is generally "CV-driven design" as explained on our page sorting it out

[2.1] Multiple clicks

The ERM practice page shows the content highlighted in red below: 5 ERM-related links.

MultipleClicks

Clicking "ERM communications and marketing" opens further options, as shown below.

Functionality_Communities
The "go to community" link is explained by the "ERM communications and marketing community" further text. Wouldn't five text links be simpler, faster and cheaper?

[2.2] Hard to read links / navigation

Consider the main navigation at the top of the UKAPW homepage - starting with "Becoming an actuary" and ending with "About us". As you pass your cursor over the links you'll see the menus are translucent i.e. the content on the main page shows through. It's also wordy, too columnar and over-engineered.

While this may appear "modern", the "on top" content/navigation is simply harder to read.

Functionality_Navigation1

I am unimpressed by the eye candy "page turn" highlighted in red – pure fluff. Strangely as at June 2011 the page turn has been removed and all the menus are translucent. There were probably bigger issues to address.

How much better to use the approach adopted by Neptune Investment Management

Functionality_Navigation3
This navigation has a number of attractive features
  • The top level headings ("About Neptune" etc) are easily understood.
  • The dropdown menu is highly readable and not translucent
  • The text is short but fully explained: "investment team" not "team"
  • The menu expands rightward without wrapped text

Based on the websites, would a graduate rather become an actuary or work for Neptune? Look at the profiles under Neptune's investment team Could they have been actuaries?

[2.3] Over-use of graphics

Using three graphics on the homepage – "We engage with our members etc" – may appear "modern" but there is no content of value here. A "tabs" approach can be useful when page space is at a premium, for instance on news sites. That doesn't seem to apply here.

Unclickable links: example from the home page

Worse still, the graphical links are misleading – you don't get to where you expect to go.

BadLink1
The above graphic is familiar from the UKAPW home page. Here's what happens:
  • Click anywhere within the rectangle with a red border and you go nowhere.
  • Click anywhere outside the rectangle and you go to the actuarial communities
  • For "delivery" and "inspiration" an "outside" click takes you to our qualifications

Confusing links: example from the events page

This example is from the events page in late June 2011 – after all three events had happened.
BadLink2
  • Clicking anywhere inside the red rectangle takes you nowhere.
  • Clicking outside the red rectangle loads the UKAPW home page.

The same applies for the Pensions conference and the Risk and Investment conference. Once again, the graphics work in ways users would not expect.