Usability Critique

Select a website you frequently use or one that is closely related to your current career. (Please select one that was not discussed or shown in class.)

Using the provided Usability Checklist, critically evaluate the site then answer the following questions. Make sure to put the site URL at the beginning of your response. When answering the questions, provide an example to illustrate your point.

  • What aspects of the site are most effective?
  • Where did you notice areas that could be improved?
  • How could you use these guidelines to improve your own blog or website?
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About cdgibsonttu

Instructor in Agricultural Communications, Ph.D., Proud Red Raider (Wreck 'Em Tech!), Dog mom to two spoiled Jack Russells, Wife, Agvocat, Believer, Texan

Posted on July 22, 2014, in Discussion Question. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. URL: http://www.theknot.com/

    This website is one that I use often and I used the usability checklist to critically evaluate the site. The site was accessible when considering site load-time, adequate text to background contrast, and also easy to read. The site was easy to identify with as the company logo I prominently placed, the tagline makes the company’s purpose very clear, the design and content of the homepage are straightforward, and the path is clear in order to reach important information.

    This website is easy to navigate through the majority of the time, the labels are clear, company logo is linked to the home page, and links are consistent and easy to identify with. Content of this site is impressive as major headings are clear and descriptive since this site is dedicated to weddings it isn’t too hard to figure out what types of content will be displayed. The site is stylish, concise, and title are explanatory.

    I am overall pleased with this site and find it to be helpful and enlightening. There are many aspects of the site are that are effective including the content, perspective, and style. I think that this site could improve by making more options available and present other ideas instead of just traditional weddings. These guidelines can be beneficial and serve as tool to manage and gauge the effectiveness and utilization of my blog.

  2. I decided to use the main Texas Tech website for this post, since I am on the internet several times a day searching around TTU to find resources, phone numbers, office numbers, or dates for students. The URL is http://www.ttu.edu.

    The overall accessibility of the site is adequate. The load time, contrast, and colors are appropriate for Texas Tech and the site. I haven’t ever experienced an issue with the load time, although I have experienced issues with different pages loading, from a lack of upkeep. It is very clearly a Texas Tech site, with the seal and colors throughout all the internal pages. I do think the structural design lacks a little luster and creativity. In our college and department, we have always struggled with how boring the template is. The search tool and navigation throughout the site are probably the biggest flaw/struggle with the site. When you search something, it never pulls up accurate or appropriate information. It’s difficult to find the information you are looking for when searching internally on the site. Most of the time, it’s easier to do a Google search for the department page you are wanting. The navigation on the left-hand side is not easy either. Once you click on another page, there are several drop-down menu options, or you don’t see the resources you need.

    One of the other big issues throughout the Texas Tech site is not all colleges and departments across campus are using the same templates. I understand some of this might be by design, from people that don’t like the university template. For example, the Undergraduate Admissions Office (http://www.admissions.ttu.edu/) site looks completely different, doesn’t even follow the same flow and idea as the main site listed above. I think more consistency would definitely help the site seem cohesive. Maybe even a new template all together that looked more modern and relevant.

    The site does have a good use of color, text, spacing, and is overall easy to read the information or stories on there. When you are on a web browser, there isn’t an issue with the drop-down menus and flash images, but it isn’t always mobile friendly.

    • Hi Christi-
      The college I work at recently struggled as well with having everyone use the same template. Today they have totally revamped the website but I can remember when the pages were not uniform or consistent. In my opinion it sends the message “We don’t have enough time to work on this” or it makes you wonder what else they might be slacking on unfortunately. It just doesn’t leave a good impression with the viewer.

      I chose the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s website at http://www.wfbf.com to critique. As a farm bureau member I frequent the site pretty regularly. What aspects of the site are the most effective? They do a good job in the areas of accessibility, navigation, and content. Their company logo is prominently placed and the main navigation is easily identifiable. The styles and colors are consistent and aesthetically pleasing as well.

      I did find 2 areas that could use improvement. They use a Google calendar but there were no events listed in the calendar. If they are going to have a calendar they should keep it up to date otherwise I would remove the calendar because it’s not serving its purpose. The other area of improvement stems around question #8, a clear path to important information. I wanted to look for a staff member and assumed it would have been on the page titled contact information but I had to search in the sidebar for staff information. When I found it, it only included their phone numbers and no email addresses.

      I really want to focus on the consistency of my website and blog. Whether it be links that are easy to identify or styles and colors that follow the same pattern, I want everything to be uniform. I think I have done this so far but it is definitely something to have an awareness about in the future.
      Katie

  3. I chose the Texas Agrilife Extension site, (http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu)
    The site loads quickly and has adequate text-to-background contrast. It is also easy to read the font. The identity is excellent, however, they don’t have a tag line, which is on thing that should be improved.
    It is easy to navigate, with clear and concise labels, a logo linked to the homepage, and links that are way to follow.
    The content is also well done. The headings are clear and descriptive, critical content is above the scroll and the styles an colors are consistent throughout. All of the HTML titles are explanatory. There’s not much I can suggest to improve this page, except that I wish there was a chat option to discuss immediate issues, perhaps with student in the ag department at A&M, working towards becoming extension agents. I feel that sometimes agents don’t have all the answers and with a shortage of employees in extension, our agent is rarely available.

  4. http://portal.us.bcs.cnb/
    This is my corporation’s homepage from which we receive all information pertaining to our occupation. The most important aspect of the site is that it allows for our employees to access our HR-Information. All information pertaining to management, business, and informative messages as new acquisitions and employee promotions are listed here. More importantly, the page also provides the positive messages about our products and information covering our environmental sustainability practices. The background is white, with company brands placed accordingly as well as our primary emblem. The site is relatively easy to navigate, and you can also find information over internal rules and regulations. The site includes messages from our CEO, and also inspirational reminders of our core values. The site is actually one of the best representations of information covering the global involvement of our company.

  5. I chose to use the American Planning Association (planning.org) website for this assignment. The APA is the national professional organization for city planners and serves as the governing body for professional licensing. The website loads quickly, and displays a number of links to current events, programs, links to social media outlets, and a news feed. Although the site doesn’t have a tagline, it does have the logo and motto of “Making Great Communities Happen” prominently displayed. Overall, the site is fairly easy to navigate although there are two different areas of links to other pages on the site located in multiple places on the homepage. Throughout the site, the colors remain consistent and there is a clear separation in the information that is geared towards the professional members, students, and the general public. The site also include links for professional consultant services, upcoming Rfq’s, and employment opportunities that can be separated by a specific interest. The site is actually one the best places to find information related to sustainable communities, city/regional/urban planning, and the overall planning profession.

  6. Website: http://www.fbmn.org/

    I chose to look at the MN Farm Bureau website. For the most part, this website is quite consistent, but there are some issues with some pages not being found or some that need some more graphics work to be more user friendly. Looks wise, it looks very nice with the barn style background and pictures front and center.

    I think the best aspects of their website is their content. You can find most of the information you are searching for in regards to events, applications, forms, etc. Some of it may not be organized quite as efficiently as it could be, but for the most part, everything you need is there.
    They could organize their latest news section a little bit better on the home page in order to clean up the look of the website. Also, when you click on their headers on the main page, rather than choosing something from the drop down menu, it goes nowhere. This really needs to be fixed.
    I could make sure my colors are consistent and the text is easy to read. If I do design a logo, I would need to make sure this is up front and center. I could also review my header tabs to make sure they are clear and descriptive.

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