In case you haven’t noticed, HP.com has launched a new home page – which hopefully rings in the end of this site’s draconian Darth Vader-inspired design experiment (here’s what we had to say when it launched in May 2011).
Needless to say a new case study is in the works – but meanwhile, I thought I’d share a couple of comments.
The good news. This new page keeps the real power of the previous home page (complex navigation), delivers great visual & graphical impact – and gets rid of all of the moving accordions and doodads that made the previous home page a visual and usability nightmare. Easy to scan. Easy to use. Thumbs up.
Fortunately, this new look and feel translates nicely to a short roster of inside pages that are executing variations on the theme. Treatments range from good to great – and don’t miss HP.com’s moves into the long page formats we talked about a couple of months ago.
The not so good news is that HP.com is at (yet) another crossroad. This new design inserts a third (yep count ‘em three) template into a site that already looks like a circus tent. You have black, you have white – and you have really old designs that go back as far as 2009. The experience is disjointed to say the least.
The Bottom Line: There aren’t many sites that face the same challenges as HP.com (IBM.com comes to mind). It’s huge. Complicated. Controlled by a horde of autonomous teams. In this world, change takes forever – consensus is fleeting — and false starts and poorly planned left turns can be the kiss of death.
Unfortunately, HP.com finds itself in this unenviable situation. The question going forward is whether it will be able to gain control and herd the cats fast enough to make this new design stick.