Open Figure 1 to see the Drugstore.com home page as featured in the book, Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed.
Figure 1 Drugstore.com Homepage
What usability issues do you see? Keep reading for Jakob Nielsen and Marie Tahir's analysis.
Drugstore.com sells prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins, and beauty, health, and personal care products. Drugstore.com also offers advice on nutrition and health issues.
Drugstore.com has taken the drugstore metaphor too literally and has slavishly copied all the departments of a drugstore. One of the key values of this site is its low prices on prescription drugs delivered to your home. However, the large and banal promotional item overshadows this value. Drugstore.com features its core functional areas, such as checkout and the shopping cart, fairly well. Unlike some store sites that link to vaguely named departments, Drugstore.com gives some good examples of what products are in the various departments. It would be better, though, if the site showed a few more small product pictures, to enable users to quickly scan the departments. This homepage also wastes some space on chatty salutations and marketing-speak that could delay users on the way to the products. Finally, the site uses purple for unvisited links, which is confusing because purple is the standard for showing visited links.
This is a good descriptive title, highly suitable for bookmarking. It would actually be a better tag line for the site than the tag line currently used.
Although this tag line is better than the one on the very similar PlanetRx site, "healthy way to shop" doesn't mean much. Mentioning both of the main components of the site-shopping and advice-is good, but how does information differ from advice? It's unnecessary to include "Drugstore.com" in the tag line.
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See Figure 2 for a breakdown of Drugstore.com's use of navigation areas.
Figure 2 Drugstore.com Area Map