Mystery Meat Navigation at Dominique Ansel Bakery!

By Published On: December 8th, 20212.4 min read
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Boy it’s been a while since I’ve seen mystery meat navigation on a site. Mystery meat is a term for when the menu/navigation is either confusing or completely hidden. But it’s alive and well on the current site!

I happened across an ad for the fabulous Dominique Ansel bakery in NYC selling a fancy hot chocolate kit, and I wanted to check it out. The first problem was that the Facebook post did NOT provide a direct link to the kit! The second problem is this is a pretty boring front page, dominated by shop hours. But let’s set that aside for now.

So, here’s the site. Where’s the navigation menu? Let’s try the arrow in the upper right corner.

Nope! just removes the top yellow strip. Let’s try scrolling down.

Nope, no menu down there, and some rollover images what also aren’t links.

When I scrolled back up to the top, I noticed that the images around the edges (that I thought was just a background image) moved when I rolled over them. I clicked on the phone image, and that took me to a CONTACT page. Ah! the images were the menu items. I’m sure someone thought that was cute, but that’s TERRIBLE navigation. Once I got to the contact page, the familiar hamburger menu appeared.

Ok! finally a menu. NOPE! When you click it, it just takes you to the bottom of the page where it shows you the “menu” (i.e. all the images again, in a cluster).

If I wasn’t a UX person who tries to figure out bad navigation puzzles I’d have clicked away very quickly!

I’m not sure the thinking behind the main site design. It reminds me of the period in web design history where image hot spots were suddenly possible, and many sites used them. But this is 2021. And people expect certain UX standards, like a regular menu.

Oddly enough, when you view the site on mobile, the hamburger menu appears right away (and it’s a proper menu).

So let’s talk about the front page design again. It’s dominated by the store hours, instead of pictures of yummy bakery items! If you scroll down “below the fold” then you get to some yummy pictures. This looks more like a front page!

The shop also has a link to another site for online orders (for shipping outside of NYC). Now THIS site looks better! It has a proper menu and everything.

Charlene Jaszewski

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