Fat Hands

she used to sit in this cafe, and just face the wall. And it wasn’t coffee she was drinking

Visit. Our. Webshite

Posted by Alix on 1 May 2007

As mentioned recently my next project is to describe/ slag off rubbish websites. The natural bias will be towards not-for-profits (and mainly parenting organisations) rather than other organisations. This is simply because my job involves looking at these, rather than any desire to discredit the work done by the organisations of the offending websites. I’m in no position to comment on the quality of their service, just their websites. I should point out that I’m no expert, and can’t profess to be able to critique web design with any authority (it’s hardly like I have a fantastically designed blog myself, so there is a bit of pots and kettles here!). I have been to more websites than I’ve had haircuts* though, and I reckon I can at least comment on some things as they strike me. Hopefully I will be able to do this without getting called out for being a) mean or b) hypocritical or c) just plain wrong. Although I am going to be focussing on the usability/ navigability of the websites I think I am going to find it difficult to separate this from design, as I see it poorly designed website is usually difficult to use as a result. I will be trying (and probably failing) not to get out of my depth.

I have decided to use the following two criteria:

Usability – when I visit a site I need to get certain information, usually contact details and a general overview of the service provided. I shall be looking for sites where it is – a) possible to get this information, and b) easy to find it. Points will be lost for confusing menus, and misleading links.

Appearance – I shall be looking for a coherent and simple appearance, with a minimum of fussiness. Points will be deducted for use of so-called wacky fonts such as Comic Sans, and also for clip art, rubbish animations, gimmicky features (such as visitor counters), unpleasant wallpapers and excessive adverts.

The collection of links for the websites can be found on my del.icio.us. Not all of these will get a write-up though, del.icio.us is just a link dump for me really.

Website One – Home Education UK

Website Two – Association for Families who have Adopted from Abroad (AFAA)

Website Three – Voices From Care Cymru

*terrible analogy really, considering I haven’t been to a hairdresser in 10 years (although I suppose taking the kitchen scissors and lopping off the end of my ponytail every few months counts for something. Not much though).

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One Response to “Visit. Our. Webshite”

  1. Anonymous said

    I think you are a pioneer, it’s high time someone policed the ever expanding piles of useless pixels on the net. What was once a nerds paradise has become polluted with the ravings of commercial interests, not to mention the crap you get bombarded with from ghastly porn merchants with pop ups from every loan shark Jesus missed when he kicked over the tables. I think the really duff websites are in the ascendant and likely to increase in number due to the volume of PCs pumped out to people with little or no knowledge of basic web design (Me included).
    The salesmans line is “Oh. you’ll be able to do everything on this machine”. I listened to the sales line from a PC World clone as he informed a buyer that once plugged in the machine did it all automatically. The customer probably bought it and full of enthusiasm started to work out Web design. When all the automation goes pear shaped the project is usually abandoned and yet more rubbish is ‘Under construction’.
    The usability of a site is totally dependant on the design and some are excellent, with appropriate links and graphics, so get to work and expose the duff stuff, I can build a tumbril for you to deal with the offenders. Sorry if this is a badly planned and thought out blog , but I’m one of the offenders

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