Web Design Goodies Critique #20

By Joe Burns

Concern 2: Ah, the AutoComplete. Internet Explorer wants to help us at every turn. In the case of a search engine, it sometimes plays hide and go seek. The button I click to search is underneath the text box where I enter information. When I put in a term, often the AutoComplete menu hides the search button. Like so:

Suggestion: Yes, I know its a little thing and as soon as I choose the element I want, the search button will reappear, but look at the major search engines. Yahoo, Webcrawler, AltaVista, and Lycos all have the button off to the left. Google has the button underneath, but they have also turned off the AutoComplete. Do one or the other.

Concern 3: Why do you offer a different design on every one of your sub-pages? Here are two:

I see the first carries some of the elements, but the second, and others, dont come close. That can be confusing to your users. They wont have any reinforcement that they are within the same site.

Suggestion: Pick a format and stick with it. Yes, I see you use off site help with email and the like, but stay with the same format. That may mean coding so that you call for off- site elements to display within your design. I know you can do that. You do it on the homepage.

Concern 4: Speaking of off-site elements. You have the ability to get free email. Why? Your sites killer app is to be a search engine. Where does free email fit into that picture?

Suggestion: Maybe I am missing the reason for the free email offering. If there is a solid reason, then keep it. If not, lose it. It doesnt help the killer app and it seems to not quite fit with the rest of the site.

Concern 5: I am going to harp one more time on the homepage text. The second question that popped into my mind after why I would come here over Yahoo was, What does LRC stand for? It isnt until the second paragraph that you explain it. Even then it doesnt have any extra emphasis.

Suggestion: I would change out that text and get the name of the page up high and when I wrote out Learning Resource Center, I would cap and bold the first letter to denote it was the full text equal to LRC.

Overall: I really liked the site and spent some time searching around. I think it will be helpful to students who dont want to get bogged down in unwarranted hits. Students are doing more and more research on the Web. Too often that research is riddled with sites from sites that have no business being in a research paper. This site is a step in the right direction to helping students research correctly and accurately using the Web.

Well done, Michael.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> That's that.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Always Remember: When it comes to designing your Web site, the most important person is not you, but your user.

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