You know a site’s navigation is out of whack when 1/6th of the home page is a large, orange “How to use this site” box. The main problem with TokyoPop’s web site is that it has more cool features then it knows what to do with. The web site is still in it’s BETA testing stage so there’s still hope that the online editor can make a few improvements with navigation.
TokyoPop is a manga powerhouse. Based in L.A., the mega-publisher prints English-language comics to markets across the world. It has offices throughout Europe and Asia (of course this includes Tokyo). TokyoPop also releases animated DVDs and produces television programs.
The new official Web site is confusing to me. I’m not only irked about how it is organized, but I also don’t like how TokyoPop manages to make up weird names/titles for every piece of content.
For starters, there are 18 lead stories that are rotated quickly on the home page! In case you’re wondering, that’s a lot. Most Web sites that use a function like this only have 3 to 4 lead stories which flash across the screen. Is it me or is over 40 subcategories that drop down from five main categories a little extreme? Remember, TokyoPop, you are targeting a crowd that is age 12-14 in the U.S. I’m a college junior and even I’m lost in this layout. A usability study could have gone on long way.
Some content should be easier to find such as the “happenings” calendar which is hidden in some of the sections. This is a feature that maybe should just be on the home page instead of wasting a large amount of space on several of the setcions’ pages.
Don’t get me wrong, there are several great features about the site.
You, the user, can…
…”pop” a piece of content that you enjoy similar to how you can Digg something. There is a list of the “Most popped.” Snazzy.
…”clip” or bookmark something you like to go into your online scrapbook.
…write a blog on the site.
…add manga and music to you portfolio under your profile.
…use an avatar to leave comments.
…create a “clan” of friends with similar interests. This allows you to post content to that clan. You can even make you clan “adult only.” You’re able to send messages to each other.
…become a “fan” of another user and follow everything that that person does on the site (A.K.A. stalking)
They all look the same. Not very revolutionary…
But sometimes less is better. TokyoPop should evaluate what features are actually useful and which ones are just redundant. For example, why have “most recent stars,” “most popped stars,” “TP features stars,” “rising stars,” “revolutionaries,” “TP family” and “spotlighted” users?
TokyoPop already has a response for cynical people like me in the FAQs.
“I like the old site better! Why don’t you change it back?”
“While we can’t change it back we are listening to every complaint about the new site and taking steps toward making this site better. This new site is built on newer technology and a new database design that will allow us to add a tremendous amount of technology, features and fun that was just not possible with the old site.”
Again with the redundancies. He used “new” four times in two sentences.
Check out the site yourself and tell me what you think.