In an earlier piece I commented briefly on the PEIauto.com website, and mentioned that I felt that it had some usability problems. In reaction to that piece, the people behind the site asked what I meant. So here goes:
1. Don’t change the colour of my scroll bar. It might be all cool and everything, but when you screw around with my browser you confuse me rather than help. I don’t consider my scroll bar a part of my screen real estate that you should modify.
2. The Big Useful Thing about your website is that you have a good database of used cars for sale. You make a point of this yourself: you say “largest vehicle database on PEI” in bold type. But then you go and make it hard to find out how to actually search. Big Useful Things should be easy to find, not hidden under a small “Search” link in the sidebar or below the fold under “Features of the Site.”
3. While it might be nice to imagine that one can buy an Alfa Romeo on PEI, this isn’t actually the case, at least right now. So why is Alfa Romeo one of the choices in your “Make” pull-down list? A good search engine dynamically limits search options to only those things that actually exist; the existing setup is frustrating because many searches produce no results at all (Alfa Romeo, Triumph, Suzuki, etc.).
4. Isn’t one of the Great Things about the malleable Internet that you can take “sold” cars out of the listings once they’ve, well, sold. If there’s some compelling reason for leaving these listings in the search results, then at least give me the option of leaving them out when I set up my search.
5. When you depart from a cardinal convention of the web like “you can click on anything that’s blue and underlined” there should be a really, really good reason. I can’t see what this reason is with your site: you make it more difficult to navigate the site by reinventing the hyperlinked indicator.
6. The fidelity of the photos attached to listings could use some improvement. Many photos are too dark, making it hard to get a good impression of the vehicle in question.
That’s about it, in my eyes. As I said in my original piece, and want to reinforce here, PEIauto.com is generally solid, especially given that you’ve got enough of an inventory to make the site worth spending some time with. But if you correct some of the problems I’ve outlined above it could be even better.