Namecheap Launches New Website Design

new-namecheap-design

They have been taunting at something “Epic” was coming for weeks, and last week it finally hit.  Their new website design.  We have taken a while to report on this because of two things, firstly we have been busy with other things, and secondly we were a little underwhelmed.  Don’t get us wrong, we think it the styling of the website looks fresh, and pretty good, but the usability of the site  has resulted in a fair bit of negative feedback, including from our own experiences.   It actually takes us longer to navigate the site now, and we think there is actually less information on any one page, or it could be that the information is just so spaced out.  Either way we do not like it, the usability aspects that is..

Not only that, users have reported many bugs with the new website.   Even we have seen a few in action, such as flickering menu items.  Namecheap have even acknowledged they are having problems, with a notice as you log into the site:

namecheap-notice

What is more embarrassing is that there are even problems with their new checkout, which they are having to post workarounds for.  Surely a company as big as Namecheap should have the budget to hire a team that actually tests the site they produce before doing a full live launch?

Just take a look at some of the feedback they have received (see here for the sources), which to save us reiterating our own experiences and thoughts, we have reproduced below:

As a long time user and managing over 50 domains, i HATE this new design, it has stretched everything out, made it “modern” and unusable, what was once a fast task(checking a new domain, buying it, done) has become a monster.
the login box is HORRIBLY placed in a “dropdown” div thingy, which in itself is a horrible design, bring back the old design or prepare for a lot of lost customers.

For once, I think I like Godaddy’s navigation better. I know its meant to be responsive, but when practical navigation is overlooked, I like the old design better. Also, the blog still isn’t integrated with the design, it is possible to make a wordpress theme.

If you look at GoDaddy’s site, their navigation is more usable. They followed most of the conventions I mentioned in my last blog post. They have a more traditional layout for the main navigational items. No duplicate slide out menu. Main menu items are clear and easy to find. They put login/account info in the top RIGHT of the site, and their shopping cart says ‘CART’ instead of an icon or currency changer. I suggest to the design team that they re-arrange those key elements of the site, and keep it fixed width to be more usable.

Yeah, how much usability testing was actually done on this? I have 30 domains registered, multiple SSLs and now have started using your email hosting and just had a terrible time trying to figure out how to jump between the two. It doesn’t even look like there is a menu option for “Email” underneath my profile in the upper left?! I had to use CTRL + F and write in “email” to find where the small email link was hiding in the dashboard of my page. That’s rough. Truly, people do switch from GoDaddy to Namecheap for ease of use and simplicity and this may well be a step in the wrong direction.

But it is not all bad, Namecheap are responding to this feedback, and are working hard to rectify the issues (you can give your feedback directly to newsite@namecheap.com).  Twitter has been alive with much positive feedback, over the design elements of the new site.  We admit, it does look fresh, and very modern, and once the usability issues have been addressed then we are sure everyone will be happy:

 

 

Final Thoughts

This has turned into a somewhat longer article than we had anticipated, but Namecheap’s community manager has given us quite a hard time in response to our initial version of this article.  We stand by our comments that the usability is a step back.  We still think that a company of Namecheap’s size, and with the budget they have should never be having these sorts of problems, and indeed we are rather disappointed bearing in mind all the “hype” the new launch received beforehand.

When the EIG brands, Justhost, Hostmonster, and Bluehost launched their site for example, they did a limited launch so that only a random selection of visitors could view the new site whilst they tested it before the full launch.  Similarly, whilst checking out SiteGround’s new website last year, as well as InMotion we experienced none of the usability issues, and other problems.  In fact one reason we loved Namecheap’s site before the change, was that it was so easy to manage all your domain names, and it is going to take some getting used to the new layout.

But ultimately, Namecheap will no doubt address these issues.  Equally it doesn’t change our opinion of Namecheap as a whole, and they still remain as one of our recommended providers, especially for Domain Names.

 

Comments

  1. Jonathan says

    OK, I was probably a bit harsh in this article. I still have a few doubts with the right hand menu, but the site is growing on me, and is probably one of the better web hosting websites out there.

  2. Tamar says

    Hey Jonathan,

    When you say “we” in your article, I assume you mean you, right?

    Just so you know, there are plenty of people who LOVE the design. Yes, they LOVE it.

    Here are only a sampling of these sources of that positive feedback.
    https://twitter.com/pixelflex/status/427892438074531840
    https://twitter.com/cmeethree/status/427829600547139586
    https://twitter.com/cityfortyone/status/427480476761075712
    https://twitter.com/Blogathon2/status/427479938053054465
    https://twitter.com/tonyuxcom/status/426744017741545472
    https://twitter.com/JeffChausse/status/426747445679104001
    https://twitter.com/KhaledMamdouh83/status/426755565621374976
    https://twitter.com/calebbritton/status/426759496325922816

    I could probably find another 60 or so of these on Twitter only.

    As Namecheap’s community manager, I have allowed comments on that blog post specifically since our team is soliciting constructive feedback and that is one of our main avenues from which we are accepting submissions. But let’s dive into the nuances of psychology for a moment: An angry person is more verbal than a happy one. Therefore, you’ll see the positive feedback above (easier to post in 140 characters, I suppose) and the constructive criticisms (and some negative sentiment) on that post, if you will. But there’s FAR more positive than negative sentiment around our redesign.

    It’s a little disconcerting that your feedback is nothing but “we do not like it” versus the feedback that most people are posting on that blog. Feel free to use the blog comments as I’ve instructed others. Many changes are being made as a result of this. This is a work in progress.

    As a blogger, you may choose to want to write completely negatively of our hard work, or you can do what other bloggers do and understand why the blog comments are there. The answer is because we asked for feedback to be posted there. It would be prudent to acknowledge in your blog post that this is an area where we’re asking for feedback so that we can improve versus using this blog post as a way to only criticize our redesign because “others said so”. (Note: we already fixed some of the issues in the blog comments.)

    Finally, with all due respect, we tested this site and worked on it for weeks before it rolled out. This isn’t something we put together in two months. It took almost a year with about 2 months of testing *only*. But until you actually build a site that speaks to millions of customers, you won’t be able to envision all possible areas of feedback. That’s why we’re working around the clock to address these needs.

    I would really appreciate it if you can revise your article to provide a more balanced version knowing what you know now, as it’s a bit disappointing that this article is nothing but a “hey, we hate your redesign and so do others.” There’s a little more back-story to it that you completely overlooked.

    • Jonathan says

      I have allowed your comment in order to give the contrasting view you are obviously seeking. By “we”, I mean “Best Host News”, which is pretty much “me”, so you are welcome to that line of thought, although we do think you are being a little confrontational here (which may or may not be understandable considering our views on your new site). We are both professionals right?

      I just want to clarify that we are not anti-namecheap…. In fact we have mentioned many good things that Namecheap does, and indeed you are one of our recommended providers. We welcome differing views, and indeed we welcome your detailed comment, as we hope our readers will.

      However, this feedback on your website represents our view from actual use of the site (yes we use you for some domains). When we looked at your blog post, other people had similar views in the line of what we ourselves thought, and that is why the tone of the article is the way it is. We are not simply taking other peoples views and running with it, this is what we have actually found from our use over the last week.

      We are always happy to change \ update articles in light of new information, and trust us publishing your comment in full will at least allow your contrasting view to be heard by our readers.

      • Tamar says

        Jonathan, if this is a professional review of our design, then please treat it as such. In other words, please do your readers the service of providing, like I requested earlier, a balanced review of our redesign, not just the negatives which are clearly articulated in your article, as it is missing a lot of relevant information to be taken as journalism.

        All I and other readers will get from your article is “I don’t like the design and apparently others don’t either. Plus, they say there are problems–why didn’t they test?” With all due respect, you’ve only painted part of the picture, which is why I responded to let you know that the blog comments became a place for constructive feedback (we even addressed many issues brought up there) and that there is tons of positive feedback too that totally outweigh all the negatives. In short, we know we did the right thing, though we are going to consistently refine our processes and the design to address the needs of our customers.

        We are also happy to change our design components in light of feedback, so please feel free to comment or email newsite at namecheap dot com with thoughts as well. We’re still not done because we’re the company that listens, and we’ve taken a ton of feedback to heart already.

        Again, it would do us and your readers a great service if you would please update your article to give a more balanced picture versus painting an entirely negative one.

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