This is more of an editorial comment than anything else, but after doing research on dozens of websites in order to compile our listings, I have come to a conclusion about their quality (or the lack thereof).
It seems that the WORST websites, in relation to layout and design, are almost always ones that belong to some government agency. The EDD’s in particular is just horrible from a user standpoint. It takes forever to navigate through the various categories and is just plain user-unfriendly. I am pretty sure that this has to do with the fact that most of these sites are built by independent contractors who submit the lowest bid for the project. The companies and individuals with the least experience and lowest quality are generally the winning bidders for projects, and it shows.
The second worst category of websites are generally those designed by large corporations for internal use or are merely an extension of some large website’s existing content. In these cases, a lot of the work is done by existing IT employees. These people may be great in terms of writing scripts and keeping a network running, but they have no clue as to how to make a website attractive and usable for the average person. Some are just plain irritating to dig through.
The BEST designed job hunting websites I have come across are ones built by start-ups and individuals who are really driven by creative design and usefulness. Unlike “low-bidders”, these people will usually spend as long as it takes to finish a project to their own, personal satisfaction. Generally, they set much higher standards for themselves than anyone else would expect of them. I have always been more of a “tech” person than an “art” person myself, so I generally stick to pre-fab templates for my own websites. I’m not very creative. A well-designed template produces a much better website experience than one written from scratch by a bunch of code-oriented developers with no sense of style though. Keeping code simple and focusing on “useability” is they key. You will find this in the most useful websites we list here, like Yahoo! HotJobs, Monster.Com or even the boringly-simple Eureka Reporter. If you are planning a job hunting site, we hope that you will take some of this advice into account.