Course Title: Essay Example
Analytical Report 7
Designing a website can be difficult since it involves achieving a design that is pleasing and usable to its visitors. Any website is expected to deliver some information at a glance and therefore, should be technically sound and visually coherent. A good web site design isn’t just about groovy graphics and pretty colors. Even if a web page is presented in a fanciest design, it might not be reliable and may lack some valuable information the users may be interested with. A good web page should be organized in a sensible and easy to use format (Cederholm, 2009). When planning a website design, a website designer should take into consideration not only its visual design but also its content and the way the information is arranged. The designer should also consider the usability and the accessibility of the website by peoples with varying degrees of abilities (Zeldman & Ethan, 2007).
Though the Edith Cowan University website design provides high-quality content to its users, the website design needs some improvement. First, the website designer needs to understand that in analyzing a certain website page, users usually search for some specific fixed point which gives a clear guide through the content of the page. Users should know the site they are viewing at a glance. A person who visits the Edith Cowan website page for the first time may take time to recognize the webpage. This is because the website does not have the universities logo. In most websites a logo is often large and is put strategically at the top left corner, where studies have shown is the first place where people look.
Unlike many good website, the Edith Cowan University website is designed with ineligible fonts and small blocks of text. Users are impressed by websites having fancy fonts. However, the fonts should render correctly on the screen. The designer of the university’s website page didn’t incorporate the use of medium web fonts on the website which makes the user to strain when looking for some details on the web page. The web designer could have used bold or italics to mark the key words on the web page. In addition, the spaces between some lines in the Cowan web page are too little. The little spaces reduce the readability of the web page content. However, the spacing should not be too large such that when a reader finishes reading one line or text he gets lost before he can locate the next one.
Also, the multiple gifs on the Cowan web page may not be appealing to users. The web designer didn’t consider that what might be appealing to him may not necessary be appealing to other users. In his book, Universal Usability:Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations, lazar has shown that too many flash animations take a considerable amount of time to load and therefore, is not a good programming practice. Furthermore, too many animations on the Cowan web page have cluttered the web page.
The Cowan web page is not self-explanatory unless the user looks at it closely. Good web pages should be obvious and self-explanatory. For instance, when someone reads the flash, celebrating Cowan, he is left with many questions about its meaning. The designer of the website should have made the website consciously considering its pros and cons by getting rid of question marks which leave a user at a dilemma. Although the design of the website is intuitive and simple, a user needs to such for answers to understand what the web page is all about (Lazar, 2010). By reducing cognitive loads on the web page, the designer could have made it easier for users to grasp the content of the web page.
On the other hand, the web designer has provided both static and dynamic content on the web page. This aspect of the web page may be attractive to some users. Obviously, images and bold sentences such as Welcome to Edith Cowan University are more eye catching than just using the normal plain texts. Though non-linear wordings, patterns and motions are instantly recognized on the web page, they are extremely distracting and annoying, from the marketing perspective of the University e.g. Enrolment for 2012 now available they capture the users’ attention and thus, serving their purpose. The web designer perfectly uses the principle of focus. For example, the first words that captures someone’s attention on the moving words is ECU smoke free from 2012 which worksappealing, attractive and purely informative. A fundamental principle in the successful user interface design is by letting the users see clearly what functions are available on the web page.
The Cowan web page looks simple. The designer made the web site simple without many complications. Many users of the web page rarely visit the site to enjoy its design. The users are looking for specific information on the web page but not its design. The design of Cowan web page is clean and simple. The user can clearly recognize the navigations, header, the footer and the content area. However, the uneven icons on the flashing words do not communicate the information on the web page clearly (Zeldman & Ethan, 2007). From many users point of view, a good site should have pure text information, without any other content blocks, which matches what the user had been looking for. The web page should be without any advertisement.
Additionally, the Cowan web designer uses the white page as a primary design element. The white space does not only reduce the cognitive load for the users, but it also makes it simple to perceive the information presented. When a user visits the web page, the first thing they would do is to scan through the page and divide the content area into some digestible pieces of information (Lazar, 2010). If the web page is made of complex structures it would be hard for the users to scan, read, and analysis it.
The web designer also recognizes the importance of using hierarchical structures on the web page. The use of hierarchical structures reduce the complexity of the web page and enables the users to have some sense of visual hierarchy which makes it easier for them to perceive its content. The Cowan web page has a well scannable layout giving its content a position which can be clearly seen by the users.
Also, the Cowan web page makes use of a visible language to its users. First, the web page is well organized which provides its users with a consistent and clear conceptual structure. The consistency and the screen layout is an important concepts of organization which the designer makes use of. The web designer also economizes by using less cues and visual elements on the web page. However, in economizing a web page every designer should try and make the web page to be simple, clear, distinctive and to emphasis on particular information on the web page (Hartson & Deborah, 2002). The Cowan web designer does not include elements which are not important for communication on the web site. Also, he designs every component of the web page so that its meaning is not ambiguous and distinctively and clearly sets the important properties and elements of the web page to be distinguishable and by so doing the most important elements are easily perceived.
The presentation of the web page is matched to the capabilities of the users by use of a clear and pleasing color. The web designer makes use of a conventional design in designing the web page. This reduces the users’ learning curve and thus the users require less time to figure out how the web site works. The web site has adopted a visual presentation that is common to every user. The designer has in mind what the uses require from the web page.
The web designer also considers the purpose of the web page. He does not assume that the users understand the model and the goals of the website. The website designer designs the website having the concept of search engine optimization in mind. The search engines are strategically placed on the right hand side of the web page to make it clear for the users to see.
In conclusion, the Cowan web page can be improved for clarity to its users. The web site designer should consider the targeted users of the web page and what the users want from the website. In this case most users of the website are students though there might be other users who might be interested with the sight yet they are not students. The designer should include on the web page only the information which is critically important to the students. A good way to figure out what the students need from the website is asking. The designer can track down a prospective graduate student to get his or her suggestions and recommendations.
Also, the website design should be designed in such a way that it is easy and simple for the website designer to update. This is crucial since creating a new feature on the website would change the appearance of the site, which might not be student friendly. The visual design of the website should be improved by choosing clearer fonts and an appealing color which reflects the personality of the university without inhibiting readability (Cederholm, 2009). Also the flash should be avoided. By using the few rules, tools and expanding the way of thinking, the designer should be able to come up with a more beautiful and effective website that students with all abilities can use.
Hartson, H.R. & Deborah, H. (2002) Developing User Interfaces: Ensuring Usability Through
Product and Process. John Wiley &Son publishers: New York.
Zeldman, J. & Ethan, M. (2007). Designing with Web Standards (3rd edition). Rosenfeld Media
publishers: New York.
Cederholm, D. (2009). Web Standard solutions: The mark up and style hand book. Springer-
Verlag publishers: New York
Lazar, J. (2010). Universal Usability:Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User
Populations. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
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