Web Design Goodies Critique #30

By Joe Burns

Web Design Goodies Critique #30

Published April 12, 2001 By Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Greetings, Fellow Designers

A few newsletters back, I discussed the concept of providing ease of use through good link navigation. Today I will touch on that once again but take it one step further. Today's site has a concern that I see on a lot of student sites. The site is well laid out. I immediately knew what I was going after and I immediately knew what to do. However

the site is just making me work too hard for what I am getting.

Now the obligatory release clause statement

>>>>The critique below represents the opinions of Joe Burns, Ph.D. Feel free to disagree, argue, forget, or accept anything he writes. The purpose of the critique is to offer examples that you may use, repair, or forget when it comes to your own Web site. As always, remember that there are simply no hard or fast rules to Web design. Any choice is the correct choice as long as that choice aids the user and adds to the site's purpose for being.<<<<


Title: The Unofficial Colin Mochrie Fan Site
Author: Rachelle Garand


Load Time: 18 Seconds, 57kps modem, cleared cache, 4/07/01 9:43AM.
My Screen Size: 1024X768
Browsers Used: Internet Explorer 5.5 and Netscape Navigator 4.5

Concept: I absolutely adore the ABC show Who's Line Is It Anyway. So does Rachelle. She likes it to the point where she bought a domain name dedicated to one of the stars. In my opinionthe star. The entire show is a scream but Colin Mochrie is the best of the bunch. This is a fan page dedicated to Colin.

Praise: This is the consummate fan page. Everything you think a fan page should bethis is. There are a lot of photos and signatures, a biography, and a ton of other information. There is a link where one can send email to Colin himself. Furthermore, Rachelle is not an island unto herself. She trades link and is part of a Colin Mochrie Web ring. She gives out an award. This is a very full, and obviously, cared-for site. The one thing I found interesting is that Colin Mochrie knows of, and approves of, the site. I'm telling you, nothing does a fan page better than the person who it is dedicated to giving praise.

I kept the official (official mind you) David Lee Roth Web site for about six months. During that time, Dave gave me all kinds of posters, t-shirts, information, and a brass Zippo lighter.

Fan pages need to be uplifted rather than downplayed by those who they represent. As has always been said, you'll catch more flies with honey than you will vinegar.

Now that I've just about slobbered all over the site, let's talk about some concerns. Rachelle, you've given me a lot of stuff here but you're making it all a little too hard on me to get it.

1. Concern: You have a scroll inside the status bar. I know it's cool. I know it looks great. I'll bet when you got it to work it was a minor triumph in the life of the site. The problem is that users dislike it on a very high level.

Suggestion: Lose it altogether. Users like to place their pointer over a link and see the URL of the link. I knew the scroll was there but I still looked numerous times when my pointer went over the link. It's tradition on the Web that the URL or some descriptive text goes in the bar. Allow that to happen.

2. Concern: You've chosen a frames format. I'm not a fan of them but if used correctly, they can be quite helpful. You've chosen the traditional left-hand navigation bar format. The problem is that you've allowed the scroll to appear. That's not my concern though. My concern is that you've offered me 23 different buttons to click on.

Suggestion: My research has found that once the number of links gets above ten, it starts to become a bit of link sensory overload. You've given me too many things to choose from. I'm overwhelmed. Look closely at the left- hand navigation bar and see if you cannot combine some of the elements into a single button. Then, once the person clicks, have a page there that breaks up the links once again. For example, you have both Photos and School. The school link is simply photos of Colin in school. School need not be a button until itself. Place it under Photos.

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