Web Design Development Assessment Essay Example

  • Category:
    Other
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    High School
  • Page:
    4
  • Words:
    2993

Contents

Executive summary 3

Introduction 4

Purpose statement 4

Background information 4

Information Gathering 4

Strategic Analysis 5

Competitor analysis 5

Content Management System (CMS) analysis 5

Site Layout and design 6

General homepage page layout 7

Navigation 8

Search & Results page 8

Performance and load balancing 8

Registration and contact us 8

General content 9

E-Commerce Solution 9

10Paypal vs Paymate Comparison

11Quality plan

11User interface quality guidelines

11Developer’s technical quality guidelines

12Privacy Audit

13Disaster Recovery/Contingency Plans

Executive summary

This document seeks to investigate the website of CHCmodels found at the domain www.chcmodels.com. The site is an online agency for models that seeks to link up models with persons seeking models. It will provide models of all genders, ages and most trades and forms modelling.

It is also a portal for agents seeking models to view model profiles and link up with those who satisfy their criterion.

This site aims to bring a different product to the market place by providing simple user interface with the ability for models to publish as much content about themselves in a tastefully done interface that makes it easy to use and update.

This was document seeks to lay down strategies and guidelines to improve the content of the site and get more traffic. This was done after several meetings with the client to find their needs and compared to current trends and sites and come up with the best solution.

Introduction

Purpose statement

The website chcmodels.com was set up with the main intention of linking models, both aspiring and practicing with parties looking for models. The agents may be advertising agents, fashion designers, photographers and so on.

Background information

This website is not the first of its kind. It steps into an arena with forerunners and therefore there’s many business models to emulate and others to avoid.

This venture has been in operation since the beginning of this year (2013). The site has however not received as much activity as was desired and therefore seeks to make modifications to make operations smoother.

Information Gathering

Meetings were held with the client to establish the client’s desires. The information from client interviews was put down in minutes and the minutes used to establish the client’s needs and further chart a course of action.

From the client’s meetings it was decided that the client most needed.

  • Make any necessary changes to the site’s user interface

  • Incorporate e-commerce

  • Get load balancing mechanisms or surges and spikes in site traffic

  • Make the user interface as interactive and intuitive as possible

  • Asses the current CMS and decide if a new one should be adopted

Strategic Analysis

The strategic analysis for this document shall be two part, first comparative, that is with the ear marked competitors of chcmedia.com and then in line with emerging trends and standards that other popular websites.

Competitor analysis

Four sites have been picked out as competitors to chcmodels.com. These sites are:

  • www.models.com.au

  • www.starnow.com.au

  • www.newfaces.com

  • www.at2casting.com

These sites were picked for their general success in the modelling industry and their success in business.

There is generally not much of a difference between these businesses and chcmodels in terms of business models. Chcmodels hopes to tweak it’s business model and website, design and functionality to offer more competitive services and products using the above four businesses as a yard stick.

Content Management System (CMS) analysis

A Content Management System (CMS) is a computer program that allows publishing, editing and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface. This allows users or mangers without much of technical IT background to create, curate and modify content with relative ease.

Currently chcmodels.com uses a custom made CMS to serve its content. The table below shows the CMSs used by the selected competitors.

Table 1 Competitor sites and CMS they use

  • www.models.com.au

  • www.starnow.com.au

  • www.newfaces.com

  • www.at2casting.com

Adobe Business catalyst

The sites marked custom either use custom CMS or little known CMSs. Joomla is among the oldest CMS used and comes with a host of plug ins. It’s also fully open source with many commercial and free to download themes made available. It however has the biggest memory footprint and tends to be bulky.

Adobe Business catalyst by Adobe Systems Incorporated is a more recent CMS. It’s commercial and not open source. It does however promise an entirely codeless site development experience. Adobe leverages on their experience in graphics design and web software development to present a seamless developer experience.

However Due to its closed source nature it does not have has many developers and market places that means tweaking the site’s code at will is virtually impossible and there are not as many plug ins to picks from.

It is recommended for this site that the WordPress CMS is used to implement the new changes. WordPress is currently the fastest growing CMS system in the world and was picked for many of it’s desirable traits. WordPress is selected because of its ease of use for one making it easy to train staf on use of the new system and ease the learning curve of the transition.

It is also realatively simpler to develop and build and implement themes on the WordPress CMS. The current user interface can be easilt built into a wordpress theme.

WordPress was originally a blogging software. WordPress comes inbuilt with modules to manage clients and users and for users to be allowed ample access to curate their own data with a large degree of freedom without allowing access to privileged data.

Finally compared to other CMSs like Joomla WordPress has the smallest data footpring and memory over head so can be used without being too heavy for the server.

Site Layout and design

This part of the report seeks to find the best layout and design and compare with competitors and emerging trends.

Web Design Development AssessmentWeb Design Development Assessment 1

Figure 1 models.com.au home page Figure 2 New faces home page

Web Design Development Assessment 2Web Design Development Assessment 3

Figure 3 at2casting.com Figure 4 Starnow.com homepage

Web Design Development Assessment 4

Figure 5 chcmodels.com homepage

General homepage page layout

Competitor websites have large images on the home page neatly laid out, simple uncluttered wire frames. This is characteristic of all the selected competitor sites with the exception of newfaces.com. All the sites have a nice mix of cool, neutral and warm colours and images are given the most prominence.

The above desirable characteristics are also true of chcmodels.com. The site is neatly laid out, has neutral backgrounds, legible fonts and the pictures of the models have the most prominence.

This design is consistent in other pages and the pages flow gracefully and intuitively.

There is therefore no need to change the general layout of the homepage or other pages.

Navigation

Navigation on most of the other competitors page have primary navigation at the top with secondary navigation either as drop down menus or in a side bar panel. ChcModel’s site has a clean navigation at the top level menu. Navigation is seamless and mostly intuitive. There is however no room to extend Primary menu items far beyond the current five menu items.

This means if the site grows beyond the current five menu items then the site will need to change design to accommodate the number of items. The new design will probably have smaller fonts that may ruin the overall design of the site.

It is therefore recommended that the site design incorporates a second navigation menu on the side bar. This will have less prominent navigation items if need be and fly out menus incorporated to display secondary navigation items.

Search & Results page

The site chcmodels.com has a well-placed easy to find and aesthetically set search field. It is placed on the same bar as the primary navigation. The search functionality is however not in place or is just not working correctly. When a search term is entered the page refreshes with no search being performed.

It is therefore recommended to build in search functionality and lay out results neatly like the site models.com.au does.

Performance and load balancing

The site is light, does not unnecessarily redirect to a 404 page and there are no observable server errors. Since the target audience of the site is a special niche and with a small clientele at that. There is currently no need for load balancing or other server optimizations methods.

This is however on an ‘as is basis’ and the web master should carefully monitor the site to and when site visits near the thresh hold set by the web hosting provider they should seek a more robust hosting solutions.

Registration and contact us

The competing sites have well designed contact and sign up pages. Since the models have to submit a lot of details from name, age, residence type of work and physical attributes the contact forms tend to be long and take some time to fill out.

This is counter-productive and it the way it is done on the Chcmodels page seems better. Here the models register and give their basic contact details. Once they log into the site they can then at their own leisure give more details to build their profiles.

The site has neatly laid out registration page for models and agents looking for models. The lay out is clean and intuitive. There is however no immediate feedback on what fields are compulsory and which ones are optional. There is also no immediate explanation for what fields are publicly viewed or not. There are no set dimensions for the image to be uploaded by models and no set guidelines. There is also no check box to show that the registrant agrees to the terms and conditions of the website and or service.

Once the user is done entering their details they submit the page and have to submit the page and get an email to confirm their email. The user on confirming their emails are assigned a user name and password in a second email. The username is the client email and the password is automatically generated and assigned to the user.

This twofold process is long and tedious. And it is recommended that the user registering gives all their contact details and then select a password for themselves since a password generated by the machine is not only hard to remember it there is also a higher risk of it being lost or stolen when it is passed to the user in an unencrypted form in email. The system should also be built to handle weak and incomplete passwords. The system should also reject invalid data on page submit but before a reload happens probably by some AJAX mechanisms or other server side scripting.

General content

The content of the pages is concise and to the point. The pages are set so there is not sideways scrolling. The pictures are also appropriate, clear, and convey the message that this site provides attractive high quality models for all modelling contracts. There is generally no need to improve content other than add an FAQ page.

E-Commerce Solution

Currently there are two options for the chcmodels site to add e-commerce functionality. The first is Paymate. This is a third party payment service that seeks to provide payment solutions. There is a ready built plug in on the site’s CMS. The capabilities of Paymate are however not as time tested as PayPal is and since paypal is virtually ubiquitous it is more trusted.

The larger client base of Paypal also plays to the advantage of all parties. It is more likely that a client is on Paypal than on Paymate. In case the site owners decide to change CMS to the recommended WordPress CMS then it will serve better since there is already many Paypal plugins for WordPress but there are no tested and reviewed plugins for Paymate.

Paypal also allows for other third party credit cards to pay so the site can still accept credit cards like Visa, Master Card or American express.

Paypal vs Paymate Comparison

I shall undertake to compare Paypal to Paymate. I shall consider factors that would directly affect a merchant using either service and at the end make recommendation on which of the two services to pick.

Eligible Sellers

Sellers from Australia, New Zealand and USA

89 different countries can sell, this includes all the Paymate countries

Eligible buyers

60 countries

190 countries

Withdrawal

Funds always sent to holders bank account

Funds held in Paypal account and then sent to bank account on request.

Paymate takes no deposits

Funds can be transferred from the attached bank account to the Paypal account.

Payment service

Accepts credit cards

Accepts credit cards, Paypal payment transfers and other Paypal and e-Bay services.

Account fees

Charges a monthly fee

No mothly fees, fees only charged on transactions

Wait times

Transfers are effected after bank approvals of the sale

Fund transfers are immediate.

Transaction fee

3% plus USD 0.5 per transaction

2.9% plus USD 0.30 per transaction

From the above table it is apparent that Paypal has wider target markets, quicker transaction times and lower operation costs. It also covers all the methods of payment that Paymate avails and has a few extra added on. It allows for the account holder to pay out to other Paypal account holders also.

For the above discussed reasons it is recommended that chcmodels adopts Paypal as its primary payment method.

Quality plan

The quality plan for this project shall focus on two aspects: the user interface in terms of aesthetics, ease of use and keeping with modern trends. The second aspect that we shall take into consideration shall be the functionality, in terms of speed for the user experience and security of the user.

User interface quality guidelines

  • All images shall be of PNG type

  • Home page image shall not be any smaller than the div they are meant for.

  • No images shall be stretched although shrinking is allowed.

  • User feedback while entering data shall be given in a pop up by some JavaScript or Ajax mechanism, users should not be made to submit a document and errors given to them in the subsequent page

  • Only a single font shall be used for consistency and speed of loading the page

  • Font sizes and color shall be just as designed by the designers in the Photoshop mock up provided.

  • No colors shall be used if they are not used in the site mock up.

  • Image back grounds shall be used only if there is no 5 five alternative so no images shall be used for gradients and or solid colours

  • All images shall be named in lowercase descriptive names

  • All images used shall be of the type PNG unless there is due cause to use any other image types.

Developer’s technical quality guidelines

  • All mark up shall be done in HTML 5

  • Strict OOP guidelines should be observed for both the PHP and JavaScript code

  • All PHP functions used should be supported and back ward compatible to PHP 4.5

  • Developers shall endeavor to maintain a separation of logic and presentation

  • All server side scripting shall be done in external JavaScript sheets

  • All CSS shall be in external css sheets.

  • All reusable code shall be compiled into classes and functions and the project manager shall have to approve any exceptions requested by the developers.

  • All code shall be clearly commented.

  • All code snippets and scripts shall contain a documentation string at the top with the name of the developer who wrote it, the purpose of script and any subsequent changes and modification shall be added in. This will hold unless the code is short and self explainatory.

Privacy Audit

At present models and members including admin area are logging into the following URL www.chcmodels.com with no SSL Certificate all area e,g models, members and admin login area’s. All passwords are presently is case sensitive & encrypted for models, members and admin i am using salt string method.

The salt plus string method is used in conjunction with MySQL database server methods SHA1, SHA2 or MD5. This is done to ease the developer’s tasks from having to develop extra security mechanisms and since the passwords are handled at the database level it makes it easier to migrate the site. This is because if and when the site changes CMS platforms or any other changes are made to the middle tier of the application security is still at the back end and so it’s easier to make modifications to the middle tier.

The salt strings make a dictionary attack more difficult to attain but are still somewhat vulnerable to brute force attacks. For this reason the server is configured to detect brute force attacks and black list the IP of the offending machine for a period of twelve hours. This will work as deterrent to any brute force attacks and dictionary attacks.

The site will have a SSL Certificate to protect all logins area & all application that user fill out to join the system and payment that the system accepts e,g credit or debits via the internet and to protect the admin area to give the site an extras security protects to try to stop unwanted hacking on our site www.chcmodels.com

Disaster Recovery/Contingency Plans

Since there are no major changes recommended to the site code, it is recommended the current copy of the site is saved and used as a back up plan in case that there is a major error in the updating of the site.

Each module and modification shall be tested individually then if found approved or found to be meeting set standards shall be added to the reference point.

The project manager shall work closely with the webmaster to ensure set project quality goals are met and maintained. The webmaster shall be in charge of setting new quality guidelines and enforcing all the current quality guidelines that were used to build the current system. The current system is however overall satisfactory and needs a few minor tweaks to bring it into competition with other sites.