Patricia Decker PWR 662: Writing for Digital Media Website UI Critique 2/10/2012 www.patriciamdecker.wordpress.com This website is a combination of a professional writer and graphic designer’s portfolio and a lighthearted, illustrated collection of recipes.
This network map will be in the corner of each of the critique pages, and highlighted boxes will help you identify where the content being discussed exists in the larger context of the website.
Home Page This is the main content section which introduces the idea of the food blog and portfolio combination. While descriptive, the large lump of text is distracting and off-putting. Additionally, the lack of graphics or illustrations seems problematic for a designer and cook hoping to appeal to hungry visitors These strange buttons are the result of using an outside program to install external fonts. While the fonts are nice, these are distracting and take away from the site. While the graphics in the header are nice choice and do a good job of illustrating the site’s purpose, the lack of color and the level of white space here leads to a segmented feeling instead of creating a cohesive bond between the page elements Share buttons are a good idea on any site
Website Navigation This is the main navigation menu for the site. While it is clean and fairly easy to understand, the “text-only” nature doesn’t highlight the separation between the pages, and the navigation menu highlights the awkwardness of the portfolio and recipe blog combination. A better approach would be to have a gallery menu that highlights the recipes This is a recent recipe feed which is available on all the pages. While this is essential, nothing about the text here makes the reader want to see more of the recipes This search function allows the user to search by category of recipe. It’s a good and useful feature, but not compelling. If it were combined with a more graphical navigation option, the visual aspect might not be so important This search function allows the user to search all recipes. Hidden underneath the drop-down menu is a link to the owner’s LinkedIn page. It’s an odd choice to have here, and highlights the awkwardness of the dual purpose instead of helping with smooth integration
Recipes Clicking here navigates to this page This page produces in full the last several recipes posted by the owner. This does create some problems as longer posts dwarf smaller ones and make the user scroll endlessly down the page.
Recipes The user scrolls down the page through several recipes, finally reaching the last one. These navigation controls appear after each recipe on the page, allowing the user to leave a comment on the recipe and telling them what category the recipe falls into. If the user still has patience, they can view older entries. But this navigation item appears laughably low on the page, and is likely to never be used.
Individual Recipes Each recipe has their own dedicated page, which has to be either searched for individually or clicked on in the “recent” section of the website navigation bar. The title of the recipe and the date always show up at the top, helping the user know what they’re looking at. Images add some welcome visual interest, but there could be more of them. And in this case, there isn’t an illustration of the final product (a serious mistake). This identifies the category the recipe is filed under. These share tools allow the sharing of each specific recipe, a valuable tool. This navigation allows the user to navigate recipes in chronological order, which is a little silly.
Individual Recipes - Comment Field Comments are displayed here, at the bottom of each post (along with the number of comments that have been posted). This form allows users to post a comment. It allows them to put in their name and address to help the owner of the website identify and filter comments, and allows the user to share their comment on social networks. Additionally, users can subscribe to any further comments made on their post.
About Me This section is about The owner of the site. While interesting, it doesn’t have much to do with cooking (something that would be easy to integrate), and it gives off a feeling of total separation from the rest of the site. The share links here are somewhat strange, since the content on the page is essentially a biography. Links in the text lead to interesting external sites, but some of the links (such as the one to LinkedIn) are repetitive. Clicking here navigates to this page.
Portfolio Clicking here navigates to this page. This section contains primarily writing and graphic design samples from the website owner. Clicking on any sample leads the user to the full version. While this may be a valuable feature for the owner, it seems strange to exist as its own page. Perhaps this page could be integrated with the “about” page to make both more Interesting.
Patricia Decker PWR 662: Writing for Digital Media Website UI Critique 2/10/2012 www.patriciamdecker.wordpress.com In conclusion, this website has potential but due to an overall lack of graphics and failure to create an appealing and sensible navigation feature that both highlights the recipes while integrating the portfolio aspect the website owner desires, the website falls short of reaching its potential.