Several factors determine the authenticity of a well-designed web site. Items on the pages should be appropriately aligned. Consistency in the alignment makes for clear communication and provides a formal setting to the page. The frames should not scroll sideways, especially when they are navigational frames.
The proximity of items should be close to suggest unity. Colors should be consistent, as they help to create the unity for the pages or files within the site. The same consideration should be given to style, illustrations, format, layout and type. The layout of the page should not have too many contrasts, be they in the size of fonts, different colors or textures, or graphics. Sites with all caps text and trendy fonts are difficult to read. A layout can be affected by color contrasts, especially when extreme spectrum complements are used. Of course, web sites which use contrasts appropriately will be a joy to visit. Contrasting elements, be they graphic signposts or well planned spatial arrangements, help to guide the reader. Links are a form of contrasts as their color and underline attributes help to distinguish them apart from the main text.
The information provided in the site should be important, therefore you should be able to read it in its entirety without distractions. Overzealous web designers in an effort to show off the propensity for decorative settings, end up cluttering the web page with too many subjects. Where there is evidence of spelling, grammatical errors and too many font types, the web site should be avoided, (except of course, in cases of intentional critique and analysis of the site).
Sites with large and complex pictures and photographs will take a longer time to download. While navigating the site you should be able to return to the home page at any time and from any page as you like. Often times surfers get lost or stuck in a site because navigational features are inadequate or non-existent. A well designed website displays consistent navigational elements on all pages common to the site. As indicated in The Non-Designer's Web Book by Robin Williams and John Tollett " a good navigational system gives the visitor a clue as to what page they are currently on. A triangle pointing to an icon represents the visible page; or a small symbol next to it, or a check mark." Another indicator is the change in the color of a visited link to the color purple. Throughout the site, text links or graphic icons enable the visitor to link to other pages and on every page there is a consistent navigation bar that takes the visitor to every other section of the site. Encountering a dead link, i.e. a link that doesn't work, can be an overwhelming and offsetting factor to a visitor.
Bear in mind that the computer software and model features may not be compatible with the latest browser versions, therefore certain sites may appear difficult to access. The bandwidth capacity available from the local carrier will undoubtedly boost the access to the website. However an important rule is to avoid sites that take a long time to download. Time is too precious for surfers to waste. Move to another site, it may be worth your while.
One site rated as above average is that which supports one the summary or highlights of the on-line Daily Newspaper - The Gleaner. The publication is appropriately designed in the main. It is a site bearing a paper with news and commentary from a tropical island. The colors used are very bright and alluring, but not overpowering. Photographs are very clear. The pages are however weighted down by the sizes of graphic icons on the right side of the frame. The graphic icons are not always active links as a visitor to the site expects. The large sizes and the contrasts in color of the advertising graphic buttons create some distraction. Too many of these contrasting features make the frames fussy. The most disappointing factor is the slowness of the graphic file - a cartoon - which appears at the end of the commentary file.
The site rated as average is that attributed to the Gates Library Foundation and turned out to be surprisingly without appeal. It is a site credited to the Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Cooperation Bill Gates and his wife Bellinda. The text is in gray against a gray background making the text difficult to read. There is evidence of bold black text mixed on the same line with red text or block gray lettered sub-headings mixed with the purple colored which is used for identifying graphic icons and links. An entire paragraph was underlined in /guidelines.html, followed by a bright red text color in the next paragraph.
The site obviously houses valuable information but has apparently lost it value with this casual presentation portrayed by an exponent of web amenities.
The site rated below average is apparently a deliberate attempt to display a site for the purpose of display only. The frames are unusually disorganized, there is no relationship to the Homepage. The theme of the page bears an abstract relationship to the information and content. Ascribed to "Janus" it playfully ridicules aspects of the tax system in the myriad of links which could only serve to create confusion in the mind of the visitors. The relevance of the bike trail is very unclear. Is it a game or should it provide links within the site? It too serves as a distraction to the purposefulness of the literature.
Prepared by Karl Mair for Distance Learning and Networking course - EDT 532.