Website Review- Derrick, Lian,Enrique

Through our website reviews, we recognized that 5 out of the 6 sites had visual pictures that made the site more intriguing. The recommended readings served as guidelines for our personal critiques of the websites. One website in particular, usability.gov, had a consensus on what to look for when viewing websites. Every idea mentioned in the website pertained to all the websites we reviewed.

We chose to use youtube as one of our websites for review. Youtube is a website where users can upload, view, share, like or dislike and comment on user uploaded videos. Finding and accessing Youtube is as simple as inputting the web address. It loaded in a matter of seconds so there was not any trouble there. The layout follows a red, white and black color scheme which stays constant throughout navigation of the website. Various videos of a variety of categories are placed evenly and logically on the main page. The help, as well as many other important items (language settings, about, privacy, etc…) are located at the bottom of the website. After reading the blog article,5 Key Principles of Good Website Usability, , Derrick felt that the layout serves to promote their objective of having users view videos as much as possible without being burdened by other links and information. Youtube also works similarly on mobile devices. There seems to be no alternative way for persons with disabilities to enjoy Youtube .

Navigating the space of the city tech open lab felt very familiar. It follows a many web design staples popularized by Facebook (a social media site). According to the user experience section on usability.gov, image and identity should be easily identifiable. The logo on the main page and the tagline “A place to learn, work, and share” serves this purpose. As we discussed this website, we realized that we all initially had problems with open lab. However, there are 3 help links located on the main page to assist with any issues with the site. Open lab also seems to work fairly well on mobile devices. Unfortunately, In terms of accessibility, it doesn’t seem like there are any alternative ways of using the site for people with disabilities.

When I browse websites, depending on what I am looking for, I may perform active research or just skim through a website. The two websites that I viewed was the Green Spa and NYCCT. In browsing the website Green Spa, I was welcomed to the website’s home page that displayed visual pictures, their specials, green spa parties, green spa products and events, which to me, showed that the website some organization which was user friendly. At the top of the home page, they gave their location, just below that, they had a number of tabs that directed you to specific areas from the home tab all the way to the contact tab them and to the left, they showed their hours of operation which made a clear view of what I might be looking for. The navigation through this site is excellent with no lag time in opening of each its pages as well as their site is well detailed if you were looking to join the spa, ex. The frequently asked questions, that had questions related to people with health concerns.

Now, when I browsed NYCCT, the main page is also visually friendly but to me, as a first timer to the website, it can be a little difficult in knowing where you are to begin. I would have to assume that the student frequently asked questions that pop up in the left hand corner of the page can assist with this. I believe that the page needs to reach out and grab my attention in terms of someone new coming to the school like making the tabs more visual and once in that tab, have it more detailed and descriptive so that the prospective student have an easier time navigating the website.

The Gap website was a great choice for the website review. We feel like this website tackled all aspects of the User Experience Honeycomb. First loading the website was quick and fast no time was wasted on this.  The home page is extremely easy for the user to explore the website, from a Fall Promotion at the bottom of the home page to New Arrivals on the top of the home page. The search on this website does indeed fulfill a need, because you can search “men winter coats” to “men bathing suit” and you will have results for both and it doesn’t matter what season it is. The Gap is desirable because we see commercials for Gap on t.v and ads on the train on our way to school or work. It is also desirable because there is so many different styles of clothes to develop your own identity and image. Not only is the website usable and desirable but it is also accessible to customers with disabilities. Gap’s overview of this is Customers with physical or mental disabilities deserve the same high level of service given to any other customer. You can also find out more about the customer service policy here.

 

Writing Study Tree takes a while to load in comparison to other websites. Although the website takes a while to load it is “easy on the eyes.” The site is easy to use, and it goes very much in depth with the FAQ page when having difficulties registering for the site. And if there is a problem that you are having you can go on the forum page and write your experiences. The website is organized well and it is easy to navigate through. The links for this website all mostly work and loaded properly however, in the About page there is a link when clicked that says page not found. But other than the one link that wasn’t working and the slow loading time it is a good website and a website that does fulfill the need of a user.

 

In conclusion, the website’s appeal to an individual depends on how well the website is designed . Each site had its strengths and weaknesses in terms of web design. The objectives of each site were clearly expressed in their layout and way of navigation.

Website Review–Tony, Chris, Deniel

People use websites as a main source of information these days, and it is mandatory for any business to have one if they are to compete with other businesses. Factors such as usability, navigation, clarity and accessibility help to determine if a user will respond well to a website. If these guidelines are not met, the user may have an adverse experience and choose to search elsewhere.

One of the websites reviewed is the City Tech homepage, at first sight the webpage has a simple layout which means the load time wouldn’t be very long. The background is clear so there are no distractions and the font sizes are no too big or too small making the text easy to read without needing to zoom in/out of the webpage. The only images on the webpage is a slideshow which has appropriate images that is simple enough to not cause any problems while loading. As for the information on the City Tech homepage everything seems to be well organized, the drop down box shows a variety of quick links that would be very useful to any user. The problem with the City Tech homepage is that the FAQ might take a while to find because users would actually need to search the website thoroughly in a series of other links. FAQ is very important and it should be easy to find on the homepage of any website, it wouldn’t be very useful if the users has to dig into the website to find it. The content on the City Tech website is useful while being easy to navigate from, it has appropriate images for its purpose, but the only issue is that some information such as the FAQ needs to be on the homepage.

Another website that is reviewed is Ling’s cars leasing website, and soon as the webpage loads any user would notice how distracting it is. There are flashing images and unnecessary animations all over the webpage, the background should be simple so it would not interfere with the content. The fonts are not consistent and there are a lot of unneeded texts. Since there is so much activity going on this website it may cause issues loading or will just take some time to load. There are no FAQs or help tabs on this webpage and even if it did have no one would even notice it due to the amount of unusual and excessive activity happening on the webpage. Even this website’s source code contains unnecessary text in it. Overall this webpage is terrible in every way possible only thing that it achieves is that it is very distracting.

Writing studies tree is very well organized website. There are links for the about page, to explore more to discuss and get help. You need to be a user to gain full access to the site so we were unable to delve deeper. There is an FAQ section as most good sites should have. The home page says what WST is but it does so using large words. Since the website is targeting writers and persons related to the field, they should have no problem understanding it. The average person would probably not know what it means without the use of a dictionary however. We had to read it over and over before we really got an idea of what they did so there is room for improvement in terms of simplifying the wording. We clicked on “Try the full network” thinking it would help and that just complicated matters further. We weren’t sure what exactly we were looking for. Overall, it fits the criteria of a decent site based on the links provided to us. The layout and color scheme is fine. The headings have clear structure and I’m sure people who use the site regularly find it to be good.

Amazon was one of the sites chosen because of how popular they are. From the onset it was clear why they are the leading website for buying products online. Everything presented to us was useful, usable, findable and desirable. They had a search bar at the top of the home page, and as you start typing, suggestions would be provided. You have the option to search by department which is useful if you are not sure exactly what you want. When you click on a product key details about it would be presented along with a picture, the price and a rating of course. Following this is a section showing products frequently bought with that specific item or related to it. There is a customer questions and answers section which is very useful when shopping online in addition to a review section done by customers just like yourself. Millions of people shop online every year and the environment given by Amazon’s website shows why so many people chose them for a great and reliable shopping experience.

MIT is a top ranked technology school among all, but when I surfed through their website, we were kind of disappointed by what we had seen. Both left and right navigation bars on home page are laying on top of the background picture, which make the whole page very messy and difficult to differentiate between contents. The website uses darker color tone to outline which make it very gloomy and outdated. Also the navigation bar is too packed, we would recommend drop down menu so that very thing would look cleaner. In terms of user experience and usability, we think the website isn’t organize enough for user to grab inform on the first two clicks. Another thing is how they organize or use picture on the webpage; pictures are tightly placed next to each other in the same area, this would cause confusion when using looking for specific ones. We also compare website in pc with mobile device, the website isn’t very accessible in mobile device, for those smaller screen devices, you have to scroll left and right, up and down rather than fit everything into one screen in order to browse the whole page. This is very annoying which bothers me a lot. Overall, the experience isn’t quite comfortable.

OpenLab is an educational website as well, but the experience is absolutely difference comparing to MIT. First impression of this website is clean, comfortable, organized, and modernized. The navigation bar is very clear and clean, it didn’t contain any extra information. The contents are organized into specific categories which make it very accessible. The contact page is very unique because the user needs any help, they don’t have to type receiver inform in the message, it will automatically send the message to the right place and right person; this is another side of good accessibility. The information is very straight forward and usable, you do not need to click excessively to go to where you want. Overall, the user experience is excellent.

In conclusion, from doing this assignment we can properly differentiate between a great website and a bad one. Everyone in the group is a CST major so we all have previous experience with HTML and web designing etiquette. With that being said, the information from the links provided in addition to the review of websites done should benefit us in the future.

Source:

City Tech
Lings Car
Amazon
MIT
OpenLab
Writing Study Tree

Website Reviews: Rosa Cedano, Calvin Lo, Goutam Seepersaud, Ogulcan Gol

Most of the websites nowadays are more organized than they were in the past. However, website content still varies greatly.

 
The City Tech website is well organized and great for new users visiting the site and existing users. The most important aspects of website such as the FAQ for new users is easily accessible. Additionally, the links at the top of the page is great for anyone that might be confused where to go if whether they are new students, parents or staff. One area that can be improved are the pages that the City Tech website links too. For example, the financial aid website does not fit well with the layout of the main page and other web pages.

 
The openlab website looks colorful because of the white background. Every profile stands out. The bad thing about the site some courses are private and it requires a user to log in. The website has a wide range of FAQ’s. There is no difference between the mobile and desktop versions of the website. The fonts are too hard to read and they are very small. It’s easy to access links and to get around the website itself.

 

 

 
The Writing Studies Tree website is a well organized website, but the content is quite questionable. Firstly, to point of some good features of the website; the color choice is easy for the eyes and the drop down menu is great for ease of access for the core feature of the website.Moving on towards some of the areas that need work, the content in the home page introduction is not user-friendly at all. The choice of words are quite overwhelming for an average user when trying to understand the agenda of the website. Secondly, the full network is extremely complex and disorganized. An average user would not spend the time to shuffle through all the names of the schools and the
The mobile version of the website accurately replicates the desktop version of the website. The drop down menu works and to our surprise the full network.

 

 
One interesting website that we encountered was leoneck.ch/eh/,  which is a hotel in Switzerland. This website goes to extremes with its over the top pop outs, graphic textures and animations.  One of the most outstanding aspects of the website is the cursor where the regular cursor is replaced with a cow head. In terms of user accessibility such as clarity and navigation, it does a terrible job with all of it’s distractions with the choice of aesthetics. The The website also lack essential features that are prevalent amongst most websites such as a basic in site search bar and about page. When we attempted to load the website on our mobile devices, the background image is not made to fit with the resolution of your phone. Aside from the interest choice of aesthetics, the website does provide some neat features such as a virtual 360 tour of its hotel rooms and its lobby.

 

 

Another website we chose was h&m’s website. The website catches the users eye with its promotions and sales. It’s easy to get around the site. The merchandise they are selling are separated by gender and age which narrow down what the user is trying to find. The links all have drop down menus. When a user tries to view a clothing, they have pictures with detailed version of the merchandise. The website also provides a FAQ. The mobile version of the website is different than the desktop. Their mobile version is smaller and is easier to read.

 

 

The last website we chose is reddit.com. This website for a new user is very confusing and hard to understand anything. The website looks like it was made by a 5 year old. The website doesn’t come with drop downs but it has categories to organize different topics. The layout of the site is all over the place and hard to read. The fonts are too small. The site comes with a FAQ. The mobile version is the same. Overall the site itself is hard to get around for the first time users.

 

 

After reviewing all these sites, they all have their good and bad features. All these websites serve different purposes and as a result appeal to different audiences. Some users might agree with some of the design choices while other users might not.

 

 

Citations:

http://www.reddit.com/

http://www.hm.com

http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/index.aspx

http://www.writingstudiestree.org/

https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/

http://www.leoneck.ch/en/

Website Review by Jason, Ray, and Vincent

For this assignment, we evaluated six different websites according to the today’s readings.  The websites we looked at were OpenLab, City Tech website, The Writing Studies Tree, GND-Tech, Guild Wars 2 official website, and MMOsite.  For the most part, these websites have met the general requirements mentioned in the readings, but as expected there were some shortcomings.

The first website we looked at was GND-Tech, a hardware and gaming review site.  The first thing that stands out when navigating the website is the accessibility and streamlined layout.  The navigation bar is clear and links you to all parts of the website.  The content is quite original and differs vastly from similar websites, especially the gaming related articles which are very persuasive.  The site targets a more mature audience.  It’s also very fast and responsive, since it’s not overloaded with flash effects or the like.  The font size and contrast is excellent, and the site is very intuitive.  It has articles, a forum with a good selection of forum sections, and an interactive chat system.  Credibility isn’t a strong point however, since they don’t list credible journalists and it’s quite anonymous.

We then looked at the official City Tech website, which is one we’re all familiar with.  Although we have mixed opinions about its visual design, we all agree that it’s very easy to find the most important information like the course catalog.  But the info zone is quite vague.  Font size may be considered too small for some people, and it’s rather inconsistent.

We appreciate the effort put into OpenLab, it’s very advanced with a lot of functionality, although the search bar results could be improved.  When searching for “ENG 3773” for example, nothing turns up.  But overall it meets the requirements mentioned in the readings.  The style of OpenLab is very sleek and subtle, font size is satisfactory, it’s very interactive, and has plenty of links to helpful guides.  It’s very credible since it’s part of City Tech and many professors use it.  It also has a unique goal, sharing our classwork with the public.  Some might not like this however, due to the lack of privacy.

The first thing that stands out when looking at The Writing Studies Tree is the loading times, which are very slow unlike the other websites.  It also has a FAQ on the front page which has a nicely laid out table of contents and useful links.  It’s very straightforward and has a lot of information about the website itself and other things.  It has a typical white background and dark text, some might not find it particularly appealing however it isn’t be appalling to look at.  The WST team appears very credible.

We also looked at the Guild Wars 2 website, which loads surprisingly fast despite the interactive content.  The layout is very streamlined and appealing.  The media tab showcases the product very well with screenshots and videos.  It’s well known and easily accessible, and they provide a well-written FAQ and other helpful links on the site.  They also have a technical support team and user support team.  The forum is very expansive and filled with information.

The last site we looked at is MMOsite, which is another video game website.  This is another highly interactive site yet it loads quickly.  They really focused on visual appeal and they did a good job.  The layout is also very accessible and easy to use.  Content is very clear due to the easy navigation and categories.  It isn’t the most credible site however since it’s mostly user-made content and they don’t provide that much information about the staff nor do they provide sources.

So we looked at some interesting websites, many of which were related.  We looked extensively at the accessibility and usability aspects of these websites, and also the content provided and credibility of the staff.  We really got a look at the differences between certain types of websites; some are more formal and really focus on providing sources and details on the staff, while others may be more anonymous.

“User Experience Basics.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

“25-point Website Usability Checklist.” 25-point Website Usability Checklist. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

The Elements of User Experience. S.l.: Pearson Education (US), 2010. Web.

“Principles of Website Usability | 5 Key Principles Of Good Website Usability.” The Daily Egg. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Ivan Kelemen, Rene Alcon, Iurii Druchuk’s Website evaluation

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.

 

25‐point Website Usability Checklist (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
“City Tech OpenLab.” City Tech OpenLab Site Wide Activity RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
“Electronics Research Group Testbed, School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen.” Electronics Research Group Testbed, School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
The Elements of User Experience. S.l.: Pearson Education (US), 2010. Web.
“New York City College of Technology – Architectural Technology – Home.” New York City College of Technology – Architectural Technology – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
“New York City College of Technology – Home.” New York City College of Technology – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
N.p., n.d. Web.
“Total Number of Websites.” – Internet Live Stats. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
“Welcome.” All about Fruits, Health Facts, Nutrition Facts, Tropical, Exotic Fruits List, Fruits Salad Recipe. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
“Writing Studies Tree.” Writing Studies Tree. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

Work Plan for Today’s Class (W 10/22)

Hi everyone, from chilly but lovely Montreal!

I hope that you had a good week, and that your revisions of Assignment #3 went well. I’m looking forward to reading your portfolios when I return.

Today we will continue our discussions/analysis/work on help documentation, usability, user experience, etc., moving from looking at a single document (as we did previously with a user manual or a set of instructions/process description) to thinking about websites and how they communicate information (information architecture, user experiences, usability) to their audience.

Please see below for the work plan for the day. Professor Miller will help to keep you on task/time, but each group should follow the work as outlined below.

Cheers,
Professor Belli

 

[11:30-11:40am] – Attendance & Assignment #3 Submission

  • Professor Miller is here today in class with you … please welcome her and enjoy yoru time together 🙂
  • She will take attendance and collect your Assignment #3 folders

[11:40am-12:45pm] – Group Review of Websites

  • Groups
      Break up into groups of 3 (one or two groups may have 4 people … that is OK)
  • Website Review
    • In groups of 3 people, you will explore six websites, thinking about the issues raised in the readings above (including things such as the websites’ usability, navigation, accessibility, clarity).
    • How do you, as users, move through the “digital space” of these sites? Are they helping you to move/flow though their information in logical ways?
    • Play around with the sites, click on links, follow different routes to finding/locating information.
    • Do they have FAQs or Help (OpenLab in particular has an extensive Help section, which you should explore)? If so, look through them and see how useful they are to your needs as users.
    • Try to also load these websites on your smart phones, to see how well they function/appear on mobile devices.
  1. City Tech’s Website
  2. OpenLab
  3. The Writing Studies Tree
  4. Website of your group’s choice
  5. Website of your group’s choice
  6. Website of your group’s choice

[12:55-1:10pm]

  • BREAK

[1:10-1:50pm] – Collaborative Write-Up of Your Group’s Review/Findings

  • Each group should make a collaborative post summarizing/reflecting on their website review on OpenLab (so one post per group, NOT one post per person).
  • Make sure that this post is thorough, with concrete details (and links to relevant sites, readings) about what you found and how you, as users, interacted with the sites, addressing some of the issues raised in the readings. Your post should be at least 8 paragraphs (an Introduction summarizing your findings, one paragraph for each of the websites, and a concluding paragraph)
  • Title the posts with your group members’ names and a “title” for your post
  • Categorize the post as “Website Review”

[1:50-2:00pm]

    • Wrap-up
    • Reminder: Assignment #4 due next class (W 10/29)

Have a great week!