Currently there are 672 million active, unique websites on the Internet according to internetlivestats.com. This number is growing daily. Each website is generally different and gives each user a different user experience. We researched six of the 672 million websites to see how we, as users, interacted with the sites. We used the “25‐point Website Usability Checklist” and “The Elements of User Experience” to critique each of the six websites. Between the 25-points we judged them based on four main points: The accessibility, the identity, the navigation, and the content. Our findings are as follows.
City Tech’s Website is one of the easiest websites that I have use the past few years. The accessibility is good because you can open it in many different devices, and it is easy to navigate on it. All the links work properly. It’s very easy to identify each department site. The logo of the schools is always displayed for reference. When I visit the website, I assume that all the information of each department is update, but it seems as though some department have not change some of the new information about their respective department in a long time.
The OpenLab website is very accessible. The site load-time is very reasonable and the text to background contrast is perfect. Everything is very readable. Every image I came across has an ALT tag so people using aid software can get around the website with relative ease. The identity of the site is very clear. The moment you get on it you can see that it’s the openlab website for city tech. All the taglines are in place and when you get onto the homepage you know exactly where you want to go or need to do. The main navigation bar is very clear cut. It stands out and you know where all the links will take you. Once you get past the main page and into specific blogs( vs this blog that doesn’t have any at all) the navigation is somewhat more varied. This can lead to some confusion for students who use different blogs as it is up to the teacher to decide what goes where. The style of the Openlab site is consistent and clear especially on pages like the help page. There are two styles, the main site style and the individual blog ones. The links contain most of the name of the page you’re on but you wouldn’t be able to guess a link to a certain page because they have unique identifiers at the end. Last of all this website does work on mobile and is easy to get around as well.
Writing Studies Tree immediately makes me wait until it fully loads. Even though the website is not very fancy looking, and does not have any heavy graphics or animations, it loads slowly. It has a very good search engine optimization, meaning that when I search the name of the website in google.com the “Writing Studies Tree” website is found immediately and is at the first place. As I have checked, all of the links and parts of the site are working properly and lead users to the right section. Navigation is advanced and categorized by the websites’ content. This makes it easy to find needed information throughout the website. Despite the great organization of the website does not work well when I use it on my smartphone. The content and layout of the website does not change according to the screen size, so it is not convenient to use the desktop-sized content on the devices that have a screen ten times smaller in size. Overall, Writing Studies Tree is accessible and has great navigation, its contents are categorized and optimized with the search engines, but at the same time it loads slow, and has no support for mobile devices.
Fruitsinfo.com is accessible. When you’re looking for things about fruits, fruitsinfo.com is easy to come by. It’s a simply styled website, so the load-times are reasonable. You don’t have to sit around waiting to get your fruit information. There is no flash on the website. However as far as content goes, there are some annoyingly placed ads (then scroll down a bit) that get in the way as you scroll down the page. They take away from the immersion of the website and you may even click on one of them by accident. While there are no headlines under the logo like on the openlab website, the site’s identity is very clear-cut. The moment I get on I know what to expect from the website. The navigation has a clear path to all the information with a well labeled links. The navigation includes pictures to go along with the titles, (although only one is relevant) this helps you visually understand where you’re going and rules out any confusion. Finally, the website easily loads on my mobile device.
Grasshopper3d is one of the many websites that is used for fabrication in the architecture department. It’s easy to navigate, but at the same time if you don’t know the exactly name what you’re looking for, it is very hard to find. This pages have galleries and videos, and all the sub–links work properly. The information that they display is very useful and updated regularly. Grasshopper3d is easy to find on any browser or any electronic device. The logo of the webs is always on the screen and it makes it easy to go back to the main page.
www.erg.abdn.ac.uk is a great website in terms of the content that it provides. The other three categories of assessment are not well developed in this webpage. For instance there are broken links and parts that are useless to users. In terms of navigation, it does not have a decent navigation menu. Users cannot find the information they need, which happened to me as well. I believe, that the website is mostly oriented to users looking for plain information about networking technologies. Although the menu, which is related to the field itself, is very unnoticeable and is located in the place where I would least expect it to be, but the menu is there, and information is accessible. The content of the website is very useful and complete, I am have been using the website for long time now, and content is always clear and useful, but only when I managed to find the information. Talking about graphics, there are no logos or any other graphics that are not related to the field of networking. On the one hand, the site is very thorough, which is good on the other hand it is not easily accessible and planned by developers. Not user friendly navigation make users to turn away from this website and go somewhere else for the information.
We have followed the “25-point Website Usability Checklist” and “The Elements of User Experience” our group evaluated above websites mainly on the four categories: accessibility, identity, navigation and content. Some of the subcategories were, graphics and design, various devices support, and search optimizations. Overall, some websites are better than others, some are not as good in terms of few or all of the points of the evaluation categories. After everything, we haven’t found the perfect website, which would meet all of the points. However, most websites come close and are useable.