Usability issues with the African Union website

[Want to get automatic updates on ethel cofie’s blog post of Africa, technology, ecosystems and doing business in Africa sign up here ]

Being an African and a national of a country that belongs to the AU, I have had causeto visit the AU site many times and I have come to notice certain niggling issues with AU site’s page.

I must reiterate that the aim of this article is to bring these issues to the attention of the web masters, developer and administrators and thereby helping to improve the usability of the site.
The issue are enumerated below:
1 .When the home page loads initially it runs what I assume is a flash intro of the site. This is in theory is nice concept can become a usability issue and an all round nuisance when the user is not given the option to stop the flash from running fully and be sent directly to the main content pages but has to wait until the whole flash runs to click a link .This is especially a nuisance when that user logs on multiple times or use his back button to get back to the home page.

Many information and corporate sites e.g.Accenture , www.zdnet.comand numerous other sites do because they are increasingly aware of the nuisance this becomes .

2. When the Flash intro loads up, an African map is displayed.When the user passes his mouse over the countries on the map the colour of these regions lighten and the mouse symbol changes to a hand giving the impression that they are links when they are clearly not. At the best I think what should have being done was to display a information on that country as a tool tip when the user passes a mouse over the countries on the map.
3. Lastly there is funny problem with the links provided after the flash intro loads. There are parts of that text link which the user cannot click on. I can only assume here that the problem is that the link area is not wide enough and should be changed to cover a wider area than just barely covering the text provided.
They are small niggling issues but they go long to improving the user experience on the site, decreasing site dropout rate and the perceived quality of the site.
I hope somebody this article comes to the attention of the administrators of the