/introduction/newsletter_archive/design/article.php/3474131/Web-Design-Goodies-Critique-25.htm Web Design Goodies Critique #25

Web Design Goodies Critique #25

By Joe Burns

Web Design Goodies Critique #25

Published March 8, 2001 By Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Greetings, Fellow Designers...

Let's say you've been put in charge of a Web site that's meant to help people. The site is to be built for the sole purpose of providing information. If you create the site by posting all of the relevant information have you truly finished the job? I would suggest you haven't.

I see the Web as a form of communication. To that end, people want more out of a Web site than a simple posting of information. I believe viewers would like an "interaction" of sorts. I believe viewers would like to be lead far more than attempting to find their own way.

Today's site falls into this category. The site is visually striking, offers all of the information required to complete the task, yet doesn't really offer any help in what one should do with the information.

It's all about navigation today.

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: RIT Premedical Studies Advisory Program
Author: Reagan Kelly
Load Time: 11 Seconds, 57kps modem, cleared cache, 02/07/01 12:42PM.
My Screen Size: 1024X768
Browsers Used: Internet Explorer 5.5 and Netscape Navigator

Concept: The Rochester Institute of Technology offers numerous premedical study programs geared to getting its graduates into any of a number of prestigious medical schools. The site that was sent to me represents an advisory board that will help perspective and current students through their studies. It's a great idea. I can only imagine how nerve-wracking pre-med would be. I actually went into school thinking about pre-vet. My science courses killed me. I figured if I was afraid to do work on animals, maybe changing over to pre-med to work on humans was not such a great idea.

Praise: Hey, I like the look of the page. Dig this:

I like the color scheme and the anatomy image peering down from the top of the page screams out that this page is dealing with medicine in one form or another. I like the way the text is framed. I like how the author used three colors and stayed true to that small color scheme. If I had to say one negative about the design, it's that the red bars should not span the entire page like they do. The text has set a margin and those bars should respect it. That's nit-picky I know, but once you become a teacher, you're pretty much given the go-head to be that way.

I'm going to, again, eschew the traditional concern/suggestion format in order to get one big point across.

I like the design. It's obvious the author, Reagan, thought it through. She's a bit of a tech head. She even made a page that describes the tools and software she used to create the site.

She paid attention to the site. She paid attention to the content. Everything a possible, or current, student would want is there. What I think she failed to consider was the user and how he or she would interact with this site and this content.

Let's think about what we're trying to do here. This is an advisory program. The program is meant to advise, to give guidance. That means the users will not quite have their sea legs just yet. Users will be looking for Regan and her partners to help them through the process of preparing, completing, and leaving the program.

I wonder if the actual concept of the site was discussed before putting it up or if the site exists for the very common, "We must have a Web siteeveryone else does" reason.

Let's say I am a perspective student. I arrive at the page. I read about what the program does.

Now what?

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