Usability Analysis

The assignment:

For this 800-1000 word paper, I ask you to analyze a website from the perspective of usability. Find a website that you like, and that you think works fairly well for its purposes (for an example a commerce website, a social networking website, a political website) but that has flaws that frustrate you when you use it. We have all had the experience of wanting to like a website, but finding ourselves frustrated when we actually use it. Your job in this paper is to describe the usability flaws in a website and then describe how you would go about fixing them. In the course of the paper, you should address concerns and strategies raised by Steve Krug in Don’t Make Me Think. Use the website you choose as a case study in usability. Test out several scenarios that a typical user might encounter. What is wrong with the site? If you were in charge of it, how would you fix it?

Usability Analysis of http://www.home.no/sofurre/

I have chosen this particular site, simply because there is so much wrong with it, so it should be easier to analyze it. It certainly makes you think, too much, way too much. I must point out that I have no idea who is the maker of this site, and I’m not trying to be mean or anything like that…

For starters the layout is a catastrophe. I can’t seem to understand what this page is really all about. Is it some sort of blog, or a news site? Sure, I’d like to be able to understand what the site is actually trying to tell me, and it really doesn’t tell me anything when I look “above the fold”. Maybe that it has something to do with being creative in Bergen? (by clicking the thumbnail below, you can see the site’s «above the fold», and save some time, since the actual site takes ages to load, and is just… annoying).

original

The first time I visited the site, it came to my understanding that this is some sort of person who lives in Bergen, who is actually bloging, without actually using a blog template, such as WordPress or Movable Type. This makes the home page unbearably long, and it takes absolute ages to load. It doesn’t help that it’s packed with absolute links (the pictures in particular), and flash animations. You just keep on scrolling, forever.

What I think is the logo of the site, is located at the upper left corner of the site. Where it should be, in other words. But it’s too tiny to really stand out as the logo of the site, and it doesn’t really tell you what the site actually is. This could possibly be remedied by adding a tag line, but there is no such thing to be seen. Unless you count the site’s title “::En side I stadig utvikling::”, a page in constant development (let’s hope that it’s true).

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The header and the navigation of the site is the same thing, or so it would seem. The navigation isn’t categorized at all, and just seems to be links that have randomly been put there, as some sort of filler, perhaps.

So, what would I do to make this site functional? First of all, I would make it into a blog, which would make it a lot easier to navigate. It would also make the “news” easier to find, by tagging them or categorizing them. And they would be dated as well, which is always a plus when it comes to news.

I would also make a header that has practically nothing to do with the navigation, or at least separate them more clearly. Tabs are a great option when it comes to this. The links should also be put into some sort of order, or categorized at the very least. Below you can see a mock-up of what this site could look like if it was, in fact, a blog.

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Some of the other pages of the site, have music that starts playing when you visit them. This is absolutely the most annoying thing in the world, and should be banished or made illegal or something. Not only does it distract the visitor, it takes absolute ages to load, which you really don’t want in addition to the pictures and flash animations.

Basically, by adding tabs, categories and some sort of search option, it should make this site a much better one. By removing all of (or at least most of) the disturbing elements, such as animations (have been proven to distract the eye, and can also be terribly tiring to look at), this site should be able to serve its purpose: To inform the reader, be at least OK to look at and be easier to navigate. By adding an e-mail address where you can contact the author you would also give the reader/user of the site a possibility to contact the author without commenting one of the posts.

And also, the texts of the site seriously need to be reduced when it comes to unnecessary words. A spell-check wouldn’t hurt either. When people arrive at a site and see typos, they automatically start distrusting the author of said text, because a clever person wouldn’t publish something that’s flawed, hence couldn’t possibly be telling the truth. It’s a perfectionist’s world.

Postman blues (bedre sent enn aldri…)

postmanblues.jpg

postmanblues.jpg

WN

My Web Narrative (or something that looks like it could possibly be one)

Pdp

I’ve published my Public Domain Poem, you can find it here.

Woah

Kanskje det tøffeste jeg har sett noensinne:

Telekinetic Contest

Analysis of a Political Site

The page I’ve chosen to analyse is the page of «Unge Høyre»

I have to underline the fact that I’m not a supporter of this party, they just have a really fancy site, which should make it easier to analyse.

The discourse of this particular site is that it’s young and fresh, which is quite suitable since it is in fact the site of the younger part of the party. It’s meant to appeal to young people, and make politics seem “fun” and less intimidating and sincere than the “grown up” page of the same party.

The design is clean and simple, with light colours that are pleasing to the eye. The blue symbolises that this part of the political party is in fact on the right (not left, which is red) side of politics, which is also quite convenient when it comes to some studies of colour on web pages, which show that light blues give the readers of a web page a sense of calm and tranquillity.

The page uses several modes, including pictures, text, text-as-picture (the header), different fonts and letter sizes, header menu with flash and an actual blog where one can interact with some of the politicians. It is in fact multimodal because of all of these modes interacting with each other.

Denotatively this page shows us a lot of news and information, and a quite whimsical header with letters that aren’t too easy to read. Connotatively (is that even a word…?) this page shows us that it’s young and what some might call refreshing. It almost screams that it’s not boring and all about boring stuff, but maybe also about fun? This is the page of Høyre’s youngsters, and they are probably trying to recruit other youngsters like themselves, so that they will in turn be voting for them later on. I’m not going to speculate over whether it’ll work or not, though it might affect people who are into blogs and the like (who knows).

This page is framed in way that makes the eye linger on the header.

Navigation on the page is situated on the header, and animates when you move the cursor over the links there, which makes you pay attention to them as you read the page(should you move the cursor to the top of the page, that is). The fact that it actually does have this kind of animation/flash thingie, makes the page more interesting and also maybe interactive (in a way).

At a first glance the page is a bit overwhelming, because there is a bit too much of everything, but when you study it, you find that it’s thoroughly thought through, especially when it comes to usability.

When you go to the page called «Politikk«, you actually notice that the header is in fact made with some sort of flash animation, which turns into what I’m going to call a multicultural picture. The picture is of three youths from different ethnic backgrounds, who seem to get along with each other quite well. This picture is probably chosen to show that Unge Høyre approves of all religions and all kinds of ethnicities. The text on the same page is very easy to navigate through, it’s clean and simple, with the different points of view divided into pieces in the text. This makes it easy to read and doesn’t exhaust the reader. There is also not a lot of text on each page, which makes it easier to take in, as something political.

When it comes to provenance I have no idea what to write, for all I know I’ve already covered it.

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When you go to the page named «Interaktiv» you can find a lot of stuff that’s meant to inspire you and make you feel like you’re contributing. Here you have different downloads for your mobile phone, like pictures and games. You also have different downloads for your computer, like screensavers and backgrounds. There is even a link to a page with videos of the politicians.

The leader of Unge Høyre has his own blog on the page, this is probably also connected to the fact that Unge Høyre wants to live up to its name and be young and modern. Blogging is the new soap box.

I’m pretty sure that I haven’t covered all that should be covered in a semiotic analysis of a web page, but I honestly can’t think of anything else to look at.

Bildet

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Stedet jeg gjør nyttige ting

Pulten min. Et sammensurium av bøker (både fag og skjønn), tomme vannflasker, tekniske saker og ting til laptopen min, gamle kvitteringer og tomme tekopper.

På toppen av pulten min (et skatoll) har jeg en lampe, webcam, høyttalere og en swiffer-duster. I hyllene har jeg skopuss og andre nødvendigheter (salt f.eks.).

På «lokket» eller «døren» står min kjære laptop (Peregrin), sammen med fotoapparatet mitt (har ikke noe navn, ennå).

Veggen bak/over pulten min har en japansk kalender hengende på seg.

Discourse: Sted man kan bli inspirert…?

Favorittfilm

Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain


Flickr Photos

Kontakt

kje045[at]student[dot]uib[dot]no