This assignment requires you to pick 3 websites and critique them (in a document and place them on WebCT) telling what you like/dislike; what the rules the site is breaking; what is usable/what isn’t; what it can do to improve. Obviously I’m not expecting you to jump right in without any background on what is considered good/bad design, so here are some resources:
Top Ten Web Design Mistakes (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/designmistakes.html)
Jakob Nielson is a Web Usability guru (despite the fact that his site is so ugly). Check out the above linked article as well as the other Top Ten Lists at the bottom.
Web Design From Scratch (http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/basics.cfm)
- This site is great as it details the process of design and the differences between sites that have focused on art and those that have focused on providing tools. There are a lot of sections (see the links on the right hand side of the page) that are all interesting.
- Of particular not for this assignment:
- “How people use web pages”
- “Other online factors”
- “The Design Spectrum”
Web Style Guide (http://www.webstyleguide.com/index.html?/pages/editorial_style.html)
- The whole thing is a good read, but if you don’t want to read everything, Read Chapters 2 and 4 (they are short)
Here is what you need to provide for each site you choose to critique:
- Provide the Web Address to the site.
- Answer these questions: Why did you select the site? What interested you about this particular site?
- Describe features of the site, including the following:
- Overall theme or main subject for the website
- Types of materials presented on the website (e.g. letters, diaries, photographs, illustrations, historical summaries, literature texts)
- Answer these questions:
- Is the information source trustworthy? How do you know?
- Who is the website designed for? For example, is it intended to reach the general public, medical professionals, kids, older people, etc.? How do you know?
- Is the website well-designed to reach that group of people? Why do you think so? Give specific examples (ie., vocabulary, ease of finding information, working hyperlinks, low-tech vs. high-tech video presentation [which is important if you’re calling in on a slow modem!!], visual ‘style,’ etc.)
- Is the website easy to navigate? Why or why not?
- Does the site design used by the site match well with the theme/subject and topics covered? (For instance, are the main buttons set up to correspond to key topics? Do the main sections of the website, as organized and presented, work together logically? If there are photographs, illustrations or graphics, do they complement/reinforce the theme effectively?)
- Describe and critique other design elements of the website.
- Is the visual display plan effective? (e.g., Is the site too cluttered/busy? Is there too much empty space?)
- Are the font sizes and designs appropriate (e.g., attractive, easy to read)?
- Does the website make effective use of color and spacing?
- What can be improved, if anything?
|15||Web Address Provided as a link|
|10||Rationale for site selection|
|20||Description of site’s key features|
|20||Answers to the questions about: Audience, navigation, theme/topics, etc.|
|20||Critique of the design elements|
|15||Plan for improving the site|