Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blog Week 3

Blog Week 3

Reflection on Week 3 readings on the web, textbook chapters 7 and 8, article and class material:

I loved the “Not-so-good Checklist” and the “So-much-better Checklist” on pages 162 thru 164. These really summed up the chapters in this section well. You can bet that I will be using these sections when I build my website. I liked the navigation bar with the stage lights, how clever. This gave me a great idea for my Rhino Linings website. I’d like to have little rhinos in the navigation bar that change color when in use or switch to a different style rhino (maybe just the head) when the link is in use. Consistency and repetition are critical on all related pages. I want my linked related pages to appear in a new window rather than overriding the home page. I also can appreciate the no scrolling side-ways emphasis – the 800 x 600 pixel resolution and size is great to know. Stressing negative space is also very important – if there is to much to read it is overwhelming and will not keep the reader’s attention. Indexes and Site maps are never overrated.

I found these characteristics to be most helpful when evaluating a website: Purpose, Authority, Objectivity, Appropriateness, Currency, Responsibility, Clarity, and Accessibility. Here were some other characteristics that I had not know about or was less familiar to me – text only alternatives for visually impaired. It is so important that the evaluator take into consideration if the author or sponsor’s objectivity or bias is explicit or hidden and then they need to ask themselves if the objectivity impacts the usefulness and validity of the website’s content. Is there a hidden agenda? Knowing the author’s credentials, references and contact information will allow the reader to determine if the content is usable or not. For instance is the content verifiable, are references provided and are the referrals given supporting or corroborating the content with accuracy. And finally, what is the coverage scope and depth? Knowing this will help the reader to determine if the website content is what they were looking for.

Kim Guenther’s article, “What’s Your Style, Organizing Information for the Web” was also insightful. I liked Jakob Nielson’s suggestion to write in a “style that facilitates scanning” of information. People generally do scan rather than read websites so this is a valid point. Along with this writing in concise or direct segments and using small bite-sized nuggets of information or “chunking” will help the reader scan quickly and digest the information faster. I like to see navigable and intuitive paths with the inverted pyramid writing protocol. Having a style guide to organize prose is definitely a great suggestion. I love using breadcrumbs. The metadata and indexing section was especially helpful.

Evaluate 2 websites:

Site 1
This Yogi Bear Camp Resort website I used recently was one I found especially informative and fun to use. It is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes with the greens and yellow text on blue background. The negative space is used wisely and forces the reader to focus on the center picture. It is easy to see the purpose since all critical information is close to the top of the first page. It is authenticated at the bottom of the first page with all relevant contact information and details about who provided the content and who designed the website. All the link icons are appropriate and are used to keep the reader’s attention. The site provides all pertinent information, including the local weather, for campers.

I like the use of the left side quick launch bar since it provides link to all relevant and related pages. It does not disappear when you navigate to another page.

The only thing I did notice was (except for the weather section) there was a lack of ability to determine when the site was last updated. However, this is not as relevant for the majority of information.
Site 2

Even though the first page of this site is busy, it is obvious that it was well thought out and organized. Navigation is a cinch when moving from one page and back home due to the menu bar staying in tact at the top and bottom of the screen on each page It has been an incredible help for those of us who volunteer for teaching Sunday School and also for those of us who participate in the worship ministry. It fits the screen well and has links to all critical information on the first page. It provides a revision date a great site map, links to everything on both the top and bottom of the first page, and a way to contact the church. It utilizes the top left to bottom right scanning strategy to point the reader to areas that require their participation.

Criteria used to evaluate the sites:
I used these criteria for evaluating these sites: Purpose, Authority, Objectivity, Appropriateness, Currency, Responsibility, Clarity, and Accessibility as well as elements of the check lists found in our text.

Will I be more critical of websites I look at in the future with regards ot the information they contain? Absolutely. I will never look at a website the same again. My expectations will be much higher.

How will this information apply to your website project you will be creating? As I stated earlier, I plan to use all the checklists provided, organize before I begin, be certain to only provide critical information on the front page, and size the site appropriately. I will ensure all the links work,

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