Founded 13 years ago by an O.A.U (Obafemi Awolowo University)’s dropout, Nairaland has grown to become one of the most visited indigenous websites in Nigeria. Over the past years, the online forum has enjoyed a massive success despite it’s not-so-appealing user interface. Although it remains arguable whether the website could have grown bigger if it had undergone some UX improvements, the feeling of being satisfied with a barest minimum interface begs for a lot of unanswered questions.
Did you read the article? It is focused on the UX not on the UI.
Sigh!! can we just leave Nairaland alone!
Heh heh… I rub my hands with glee … looks like we’re due for another iteration of the semiannual debate on Nairaland. I’m not yet tired of it, so let me add my two kobo:
First, Nairaland is fundamentally about its content. As far as I can tell, the user interaction is relatively straightforward with very little cognitive dissonance (i.e. your mind stays on the task of communicating, not lost on the mechanics of the interface). You can see/create topics, add your voice, mention and be mentioned, be moderated/banned etc. The website could be all black on white, like 1993-era websites for all users care… it’s the content they came for, and for that interaction to be as friction-free as possible.
Second, a simple, uncluttered interface (now I’m talking UX) means things are blazingly fast, even over slower connections or older computers/phones. With nearly 2 million members and over 4 million topics, every millisecond counts. Rather than spend the time on server-side tricks or client-side visual sugar, the site is optimized to grab data, exchange with user, and on to the next request.
Yes, there may be some content caching at the network edges, but ultimately, part of your request will hit the hosting server (if you’re logged in), pictures need to be pulled from someplace. Every extra millisecond of computation will ultimately mean more computing power - which can extrapolate into more server resources/more staff/more effort.
Third, a lot of the churn in UI/UX (and even in software in general) is entirely gratuitous, with little or no thought given to actually solving the problem of communication. The only thing I’d like to add is a way to create topics that only a certain subset can view (invite only) to facilitate private conversations. I suppose there’s PM, and taking things to WhatsApp, but a group chat on Nairaland could be nice.
But I am curious, what are the unanswered questions?
i tire ooooo, the everyday users arent concerned with all these
i was typing an epistle but then i erased it.
The users who joined nairaland during the first 4 years will tell you nairaland has not grown to expectation. Most of them have left, and they were only able to leave after Seun introduced the deactivate button. Some of them still came back because of the engaging content which never makes home/frontpage.
I believe Seun wanted Nairaland to be like Reddit. The users are disappointed and not getting that experience.
Maybe Seun wants to keep Nairaland simple, but simple doesn’t mean bland and retrogressive.
Exactly… The users are having a great time at the moment.
In my opinion, Nairaland is serving it’s purpose.
The founder / Owner of Nairaland is a developer. I want to believe that after all these years, whatever data analysis tool that is plugged into nairaland would have been able to tell him that the UX is causing either an increased bounce rate, low impressions, and in turn, a drop in revenue. This would have probably made him make whatever UX changes you are referring to. If he has not had to, then the site is just fine the way it is.
Besides, majority of the everyday users have no issues navigating and spending hours on the site.
These were the major points I picked…
Customized Experience will Increase User Retention
Nairaland usually displays your 3 most active sections. For months now, mine has been Technology Market, Investment, and Education. But this data does not in anyway improve my experience with the platform. The Nairaland’s homepage consists of topics recommended by the mods. I guess that they move posts to the homepage based on anticipated virality of the post, genuiness/urgency of the information, profile of the author and perhaps personal preference.
This combination of factors ends up giving visitors the mods experience and not the best user experience they can have. Posts on the homepage should be a reflection of my past visits to the website, Nairaland should place a priority on serving me posts from my most active sections, as this will give me a more personalized experience than what I currently see.
We Only Visit by Impulse
Usually I receive emails from Twitter, Quora, Medium, Pulse e.t.c about new updates on the most trending conversations, encouraging me to check them out. For the past 4 years I have been on Nairaland, I have only received about 2 emails. No matter what reasons Nairaland has chosen not to keep up with it’s users. It may be losing out on a lot of potential. According to Smart Insights, a business like Nairaland may get up to 13% Click Through rates on it’s emails, if only they take this more serious.
True talk bro