In this particular instance, I was going to get the Lotus Connections Reviewer's Guide (which I'm really glad they made available). Below you can see the actual download page. My annotations are on the screen shot. To be clear, this isn't a criticism of the Reviewer's Guide...just the mechanism used to distribute it (which I'm sure the Connections team has no control over).
Just by looking at it, you may not see all the problems you might actually experience, so if you'd like, head on over to the download page and check it out. Here were my immediate thoughts when I got there.
1. First, I believe most users would figure that a link called "Get the download" would actually do just that. Instead, it's actually an anchor link which jumps down to the true download area. This has a jarring effect that leaves many users confused about what just happened, especially if they were anticipating something entirely different (e.g. the dialog to ask them where to save the file).
2. While the table is potentially useful, I imagine that the general user doesn't really care about the filename at this point and they may or may not really care about the file size. On other IBM pages, this table sometimes has multiple options, giving the user the choice of a PDF, Powerpoint file, Word doc, etc. What really irks me about this setup, however, is the "Download method". Here we see we only have one option: HTTP. You might also have the choice of FTP, but the real question is this: How many users actually know what this means? The term is meaningless to most people and even if they know what it means, there's nothing here that indicates that there is an action to be taken. Having only one option here is advantageous actually. Can you imagine the average user seeing two links, one for HTTP and one for FTP. My guess is that this would generate a call or have a high abandonment rate since users would be unsure of what to do. If you confuse your users or make them think too hard, you've failed the user experience test.
So...let's have a little fun with this shall we? We'll do a redesign, but we'll keep it very simple. Assume that we can't really modify the layout of the page other than the links. If I could make that one simple change, I would probably start with something like this:
A subtle change, but one that improves the user experience quite a bit. First, we give the user a chance to get in and get out by providing a download button as one of the first things they see after the title. If the user chooses to stick around a little more, they can still use this button after they've read the first couple paragraphs on the page. The button is repeated in the "Download" table as well. Notice I eliminated the choice of download method. I really see no use for giving the user an option here. The actual text for the buttons is debatable but what is important is that the text implies an action. There's no ambiguity here. That is, the button and text combined make it obvious that this is the way you get the item in question.
At this point, if I was designing the site, I'd open it up to usability testing. So, let's do that. Please leave your thoughts in the comments. If you want to be a little more ambitious and redesign it even more (don't forget all the politics usually involved in something like that! ;-), then feel free to send me a screenshot or post a link in your comment. Cheers!