Taking A Look: Fuelly

“Track, share, and compare your vehicle.”

So Week 1 of the Taking A Look series: Fuelly.

Essentially this website allows you, as the user, to track the gas mileage on your car. The ultimate goal of course is to better calculate your fuel expenses, but that’s not what we’re going to be looking it (at least not for the most part).

The hompage/landing screen for Fuelly. Snazzy.

After navigating through the site for a couple of minutes, it easily became clear how much they wanted you to sign up for their site. It seemed as though with each subpage that I visited, a modal would pop up asking me to create an account, and made sure to list the numerous benefits I would reap if I followed through:

When the desperation gets real, join Fuelly.

In any case, I clicked on the “Join Today” button and was immediately directed to this:

Thanks for taking the time to fill in the same information twice!

Definitely try to make text fields uniform, Fuelly. You’re impressing no one. 
Jokes aside, I’m not entirely sure I understand the point of having you confirm both your email and your password. That’s another step in the interaction process that 1) looks daunting in all its text field glory, and 2) is another step in the interaction process.

Another noticeable issue with the visual design/CSS/whatever you wanna call it is with their footer navigation menu:

Brown on brown on brown.

I think it goes without saying, you want to make navigation accessible; understanding what links lead to where/how they’re categorized should be the last thing any user has to think about.

As my quest continued, I kept looking for more *ahem* mistakes that Fuelly (if they see this, which is a very, very slim chance of actually happening) could possibly keep note of and improve in future redesign iterations.

Let’s take a look at this particular section of one of the subpages for this site:

Why couldn’t you just answer with a simple “yes” or “no”

Some “well, jolly good there chap” moments:

  1. Breadcrumbs. It’s always good when a website has this feature, because it can be easy for a user to lose his/her place on a site, particularly if the site has more of a deep hierarchy.
  2. Sidebar navigation. It’s accessible. It’s there. It makes looking for relevant information that much easier.

Some “umm, might want to rethink that” moments:

  1. Unnecessary navigation. Okay, so it’s not too particularly noticeable from just this screenshot, but each FAQ is on its own, separate page. Why not just include them all together and have the questions listed above? Y’know, where you can click each question and it’ll automatically link you to the section of the existing page that answers that question? Don’t act like you don’t know.
  2. Unaccessible content. What do I mean by this? Well, there are two sections in the sidebar navigation: Information and Use Fuelly. I can assume the reason why Information is unclickable is becaus-well…actually, no. Aren’t we in the FAQ section? Why is it blanked out like that? Same goes for Use Fuelly. If this is a feature that’s only available if you sign up, why even make it visible if you’re not logged in? Just something to think about.

These are just some of the things Fuelly should take into account, as a streamlined experience for the user is usually grounds for…well, a happy user.

Before this post becomes longer than I feel comfortable letting it be (you’re almost done reading, I swear), I just want to note a couple of things.

First, Fuelly — for what it advertises — is off to a good start (even though technically it’s been 7+ years since the website was created). For a product that helps users keep track of their own mileage while comparing said mileage with other cars, Fuelly does just that through providing a forum for users to discuss whatever topics they feel are relevant: maintenance, repair, the best gas, etc.

I do want to suggest putting your legend at the top of the page, though:

Took me 2 minutes just to figure out what the difference in color meant…until I scrolled all the way down.

Secondly, it has a relatively simple way to sign up. Apart from the whole “why must I confirm my email and password twice” situation, it’s almost acceptable because as a potential user of the site, you’re going to want to have an account to save your information + whatever else.

Lastly, that’s it. Really. It’s more or less a decent site. Of course the things I mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg, but ya gotta start somewhere, right?

Honorable mention:

Ah yes, can I convert to UK?

As someone who is brand new to the site, what in the hell are these conversions supposed to mean?

Thus concludes Week 1 of the Taking A Look series, tune in next week for…some other website I’ll randomly stumble upon and attempt to critique. Signing off with an equally random, yet intellectually stimulating quote:

Using your influence, in the right way, is absolutely the hard road. Research will be your way-finding ally, and empathy will point you north.
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