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October 19, 2004 12:03 AM

Broken: Rubbermaid search

Rubbermaid_1Leo Frishberg writes, "Rubbermaid makes a wonderful children's high chair." He points us to this problem:

Go to Rubbermaid's site, specifically their products section, and in the search box, enter 'High Chair'. You get two results...


...neither of which has a working graphic, or any descriptive data when you click on the links.

Try it yourself: Rubbermaid products section

Is this the best Rubbermaid can do?


Makes you kind of wonder how the search comes up with those pages, doesn't it?

Posted by: anitsirK at October 19, 2004 01:08 PM

That Rubbermaid site is a classic example of all the ways you can go wrong with IA, navigation and search.

Their top category labels are weird -- what normal person would know what's in "hardware cleaning" as opposed to "housewares cleaning"? And their subsection labels are worse. My favorite is "ActionPackers", which seems to be some kind of large plastic tub for putting in one's pickup truck.

The rest of the IA is just as annoying. The page titles are generic. And they use JavaScript for relatively simple navigation. And they use the word "Premium Catalog" to mean "stuff with your company name on it" instead of "fancy extra-expensive stuff".

The search is ferociously bad. The example above, when you actually look up those product codes, leads you to cat litter boxes rather than high chairs. I think it's a match on the word "high" (as in litter box sides). Even worse, the first two results for the three terms / cat litter box / in the rubbermade site are toddler juice cups with straws built in (match on the word "box"). And there are no prices anywhere -- not even a price range for the products.

Part of the problem is that the NewellRubbermaid company has lots of different brands. The good high chairs are at . But the sites don't encourage cross-selling, they leave money on the table by not even suggesting other sites in the same corporate family. That leaves potential customers high and dry.

Dysfunctional sites are fun to deconstruct though.

Posted by: Avi Rappoport at October 19, 2004 04:28 PM

Looks as though they've fixed the bug.

Posted by: Cathy V. at October 23, 2004 12:07 AM

Makes you wonder how the keywords can get the results if the models have no info... I can only guess that they have a server-side description, but no product info on the site. :|

Posted by: ben at November 19, 2004 09:05 AM

Radio Shack does the same damn thing.

Posted by: ethan licence to kill at May 28, 2005 09:16 PM

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