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  • 1. NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES AY 2009/2010, SEMESTER 1 NM3217: Publications Graphics and Design Website Critique Done by: Azmi Suhaimi U071772M
  • 2. Organisation: Regus (http://www.regus.com.sg) Objectives: Regus intends to provide workspace solutions of products and services to allow individuals and companies to work from anywhere, without the burden of property ownership. Target audience: Companies and individuals with office space needs. Strengths & Weaknesses, Likes & Dislikes Aesthetics are pleasing, set behind a clear white background contrasted with dark blue font, which is easy on the eye, adds visual interest and legibility. This trait appeals to me. Consistency is achieved through the use of the repeated illustrated element of blue tabs with a computer mouse image at the side for every page to indicate to the visitor that he/she is on the same site. However, a weakness which I dislike could be that the home page is too sparse and the pictures used there do not imply a welcoming feel. Regus could have used pictures with a more human touch to appeal to the visitor. For home page, the aspect ratio of 800 x 600 pixels is achieved without compromising on the main visual impression of the site, which is something I favour. The company logo is placed at the top left corner (in line with eye-tracking studies which find that visitors to a site aim for that corner first) to increase visibility and company recognisability. Comprehensiveness of features is achieved. In the home page, coloured tabs are added top right to indicate other different pages named ‘offices’, ‘meeting rooms’, ‘memberships’ etc. This is a good feature as it allows for easy navigation from tab to tab, as the navigation tabs stay consistent as the visitor moves from page to page. Functionality is not a problem, as the website takes less than a second to load, even in between tabs. All links are functional, no dead links. Communication is clear and direct, balancing professionalism with warmth in the language used. Regus is my pick for the best website as I was highly impressed with the simple yet professional layout. Furthermore, it has good design elements with only minimal flaws in its choice of photos.
  • 3. Elements to be included in website The professional feel of the website and the strong contrast between background and type should be adopted into my website. The clean and uncluttered look of the whole website (especially important for the homepage) without compromising on the main visual impression should be adopted as well. These factors are important to give my website a neat and business-like look, as the organizations in this industry are strongly judged by how their websites are presented due to them offering virtual office spaces to clients. Organisation: Virtual Office Singapore (http://www.virtualoffice.com.sg) Objectives: Virtual Office Singapore intends to provide CBD office addresses, mail support services and value for money office support solutions to individuals and companies virtually. Target audience: Companies and individuals requiring virtual offices and services. Strengths & Weaknesses, Likes & Dislikes Although the clear background with black font type allows for visibility, there are many problems with the aesthetic value of the website. There is just too much information jammed into one page (especially, and critically, the homepage) which confuses and frustrates the visitor, something which I dislike. Furthermore, there is a popup ad accompanying the scrollbar, which is very annoying. At the homepage, there are large circles suggesting that they are clickable, but are actually not. However, the website is cohesively designed, as the other pages follow the similar colour scheme and layout, which is good. Navigation, though, is a nightmare, as I tried to find links to other pages, which was eventually found at the very bottom of the page (under Menu), and which appear to be part of the text but are actually clickable. Aspect ratio is also a problem, as the main visual impression is that of a large Ikea
  • 4. advertisement (misleading), and I have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find the navigation bar and find out what the company really is about. Comprehensiveness of features is also a problem, as there is a company blog, right in the middle of the homepage, where the frame rolls into another frame of the same colour, with the same text. Information about the company is also minimal when I click ‘About Virtual Office’. However, the website loads quickly and links are functional. Clarity of communication is not achieved as I get lost trying to make sense of all the words, wondering which ones to read first. Virtual Office Singapore is considered to be the worst website for me personally as it left me confused and irritated trying to make sense of all the clutter in the critical part of the website, the homepage. Virtual Office should have dispersed their information into sizeable readable chunks across the various links instead. Elements to be included in website One positive aspect is to include the contact number at the top right hand corner of the homepage, which is useful. Organisation (Client): Servcorp Singapore (http://www.servcorp.com.sg) Client’s Objectives: Servcorp Singapore intends to provide serviced offices and virtual offices to clients, providing a support team, business address, meeting room and IT and telecommunications assistance. Client’s target audience: Companies and individuals requiring meeting rooms, serviced offices and/or virtual offices.
  • 5. Strengths & Weaknesses, Likes & Dislikes In terms of colour and warmth, Servcorp has definitely succeeded in creating visual impact by having photos of their offices and support staff at the top header of the home page. This is contrasted nicely with the white background, with legible fonts contrasting well. However, the aspect ratio is a problem, as the website, if viewed through 800x600 resolution, requires me to scroll horizontally, which is a design problem. The main visual impression is also fairly acceptable, where the logo is prominently displayed in the top left corner and the descriptions ‘Serviced Office’ and ‘Virtual Office’ with explanations indicate what the company offers. However, it can be improved by making the picture slightly smaller to push the descriptions higher up for visibility. Nevertheless, the website is cohesively designed with other links following the colour scheme. Apart from the excellent pictures, I have a minor problem with the ‘About Us’ section, as it doesn’t fully explain what the company is about and its objectives. I had to go to the ‘FAQ’ section to find out more. Site navigation is fairly straightforward, with links at the top right hand corner and the labelled buttons neatly and clearly demarcating different kinds of information for the viewer to explore. Another aspect which appealed to me was the videos which were neatly located in small windows which would provide audiovisual explanation of Servcorp’s services. It is unobtrusive as it will not automatically play, and gives it a human touch to the company. There is a problem with functionality though, as the graphics take a few seconds to load (possibly due to the pictures, animation and video), but links are not broken. However, I have encountered instances where the website will take a long time to load or it will be down, asking me to click on a link which redirected me to its parent website in Australia. However, clarity of communication is clear and direct, projecting professionalism. Elements to be included in website
  • 6. I will endeavour to replicate the concept of contrasting the pictures at the homepage with a white background, as it looks impressive and gives personality to the website. The neat buttons for easy navigation also would also be included as they provide visual cues on where the visitor will go to. Organisation: Central Offices (http://www.central-offices.com/) Objectives: Central Offices intends to provide serviced office space, virtual offices and associated support services to prospective clients. Target audience: Companies and individuals requiring meeting rooms, serviced offices and/or virtual offices. Strengths & Weaknesses, Likes & Dislikes Central Offices’ website is aesthetically pleasing, using a main black font type contrasting with a white background and also incorporating colours to indicate different headings. It utilizes the aspect ratio to its advantage, as the main visual impression explains what the company provides without the visitor having to go to other links to find out information, something which I find useful. Individual pages are cohesively designed, with the colour scheme (more colours than the other 3 websites) consistently used. Features are comprehensive, with information broken up into sections, and with pictures livening up the website, having them for almost all links. Site architecture and navigation is straight to the point, with two different navigation bars separating the company’s information and its services, something which impressed me. My main gripe is the functionality, where sometimes some links take a while to load, but the links are all working. Clarity of communication is achieved with clear and adequate explanations to my queries about its company and services. Elements to be included in website I would like to include the separate navigation bars demarcating the company’s profile and services, which I think is an excellent way of organizing the information.