Honeywell : Innovation without usability

The US manufacturing conglomerate’s online newsroom shows the perils of prioritising visual and technical innovation while forgetting basic usability.

click to view

The feature

Honeywell’s online newsroom has a mega menu of filters organizing content according to four categories – industry, topic, region and ‘media type’ (fact sheets, infographics, photos, etc), and a number of sub-categories.

The responsive newsroom landing page has several image panels promoting stories. Clicking on the filter button opens a mega panel that takes up the entire screen on a standard desktop monitor (and pushes the image panels further down the page). Clicking on a sub-category in the filter menu changes the panels. If there are no stories in a given sub-category, a message says ‘No results found.’

The takeaway

The visual presentation of the filter is innovative, but journalists – who are notably impatient – will likely be frustrated with basic usability problems. When there are results to show, it is obvious how to view them (users must scroll down and recall whether the set of panels are the same or not). We had to click the filter twice to make sure a new set of panels was being displayed.

When there are no results – eg, when clicking ‘Media Statement’ – seeing the ‘No results found’ message also requires scrolling. It was also not clear why there are no results for media statements, when there is a separate section on the website populated with statements.

The tool is a near miss – almost splendid, but confusing labelling, poor usability and incomplete tagging let it down.
First published 07 September, 2016
< Back to Tips