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Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
Aol News Review Oct2008
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Aol News Review Oct2008

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  • 1. AOL INTERACTIVE DESIGNWeb Site Review Scorecard A negative score for any of the 40 questions Total score: -4 indicates a likely problem that should be Range: -80 to +80 addressed, regardless of the overall total. Product: AOL News URL: http://news.aol.com/Evaluation by: Mrinal Sharma Date: October 03, 2008 Browsers: Mozilla Firefox v3.0.3Evaluated user goals1. Scan through news headlines and also quickly navigate to details/complete story2. Engagement with blog stories from users and community-related features such as polls3. Engagement with related and recommended news stories and features.Each review question is scored on a scale of -2 to +2: 2 Strong pass Best practice 1 Pass No problems found -1 Fail One major problem or several minor problems -2 Strong fail Two or more major problems, or one major problem and several minor problems OUR GUIDING PRNCIPLES • We never assume that our users know what we know • We guarantee our users know where they are at all times and they know what to do next • We create visual Design that is clean, simple, aids understanding and reflects our brand promise • Our systems provide friendly, jargon-free feedback to the user, especially when the system is "busy" or "thinking." SCORING1. Does the landing page(s) provide evidence that user goals can be completed? 1 -2 The landing page(s) does not provide evidence that users can complete several key portions of their goals. -1 The landing page(s) does not provide evidence that users can complete a key portion of their goals. 1 The landing page(s) provides evidence that users can likely complete their goals. 2 The landing page(s) provides evidence that users can definitely complete their goals.Consistent page schemes, user-submitted content highlights and descriptive categories helpusers understand the context better and thus aid them in completing their goals. Consistent local This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 1 of 14
  • 2. navigation and global header still an issue.Reference: - Forrester report, Expose Value On The Home Page, August 30, 2005. (Note: Forrester reports can be found on the AOL Design Guide. Please visit: http://designguide.office.aol.com/BestPractices/UserInterface http://designguide.office.aol.com/BestPractices/WhatMakesAGreatWebSite)2. Is essential content available where needed? -1 -2 There are several instances (or one major instance) where the content needed to complete user goals is not available where needed. -1 There is one instance where the content needed to complete user goals is not available where needed. 1 All of the content needed to complete user goals is available where needed. 2 As above, plus content exceeds users’ minimum needs, delivering added value.‘Latest News Headlines’ is below-the-fold on the AOL News Hub page (similar pattern insideevery sub-channel).3. Is essential function available where needed? -1 -2 There are several instances (or one major instance) where required functionality is not available where needed. -1 There is one instance where required functionality is not available where needed. 1 All of the required functionality is available where needed. 2 As above, plus function exceeds users’ minimum needs, delivering added value.Lack of consistent local navigation across all sub-channels increases the gap between theuser’s information-seeking goals and end news items.4. Are essential content and function given priority in the display? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where essential content or function is buried. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where essential content or function is buried. 1 Essential content and function have priority position in the display. 2 As above, plus essential content and function are visually prominent.‘Latest News Headlines’ is below-the-fold on the AOL News Hub page (similar pattern insideevery sub-channel).Reference: - Forrester report, Give Priority To Essential Content And Function, August 31, 2005. - This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 2 of 14
  • 3. 5. Can a user determine their location within site architecture through noticeable visual -2highlights? -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where user location is not highlighted in some way -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where user location is not highlighted in some way 1 User location is highlighted in some way on 95% of pages 2 User location is highlighted in some way on 100% of pages.User location within the AOL News Channel is not highlighted inside ‘Entertainment’, ‘Business’and ‘Sports’ sub-channels.6. Is global navigation present in the header and local navigation expanded to 2 levels to show -2breadth and depth of content? -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where navigation is not present or expanded -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where navigation is not present or expanded 1 Navigation is present or expanded 2 Navigation is not present AND expandedGlobal Navigation is absent for ‘Entertainment’ (PopEater), Business (M&F) and Sports. Localnavigation is not present for all sub-channels and also does not go to two levels deep.7. Are menu category and subcategory names clear and mutually exclusive? -2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where category names overlap or are ambiguous. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where category names overlap or are ambiguous. 1 Category names do not overlap and are unambiguous. 2 As above, plus names include specific trigger words related to the user goal.Top-level menu categories ‘Nation’ (Should be ‘U.S. News’) and ‘More’ (Should be ‘MoreCategories’) are ambiguous. ‘Elections’ might be better focused if changed to ‘Elections 2008’.‘Entertainment’ should rather be named ‘PopEater’ and highlighted and is very misleading. Also,Left Nav Menu inside ‘News by Category’ should present Top-level categories + more categoriesbetter, so users may easily comprehend what extra categories the section offers.Reference: - Forrester report, Site Menus Should Be Clear, Not Cute, February 27, 2003.8. Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? -2 -2 The landing page(s) does not display all top-level categories. -1 The landing page(s) does not immediately expose or describe subcategories. 1 The landing page(s) immediately exposes or describes subcategories. 2 As above, plus second-level pages immediately expose contextual subcategories. This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 3 of 14
  • 4. ‘PopEater’ (Entertainment), ‘Business’ and ‘Sports’ sub-channels don’t display top-level News Categories.Reference: - Forrester report, Expose Two Levels Of Menus On Home Pages, March 7, 2003. - Forrester report, Rollover Menus Can Work But Usually Don’t, January 21, 2004.9. Are content and function classified logically? 2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where an item is not listed in a category where the user would look for it. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where an item is not listed in a category where the user would look for it. 1 All items are listed in the categories where the user would look for them. 2 As above, plus alternative categorization schemes deliver added value.A user might reach a single news story through alternative categories and groupings, thusaiding better reachability.Reference: - Forrester report, Sites Must Offer Multiple Paths To The Same Goal, March 28, 2003.10. Is the task flow efficient? 1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where there are unnecessary steps in the process. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where there are unnecessary steps in the process. 1 There are no unnecessary steps in the process. 2 As above, plus the user is able to control the order of the steps in the process.There are no unnecessary steps. But a Top headlines only module might help give a synopsis ofall top stories so the user doesn’t have to scroll the entire page and read all the headlines.11. Is the wording in hyperlinks and controls clear and informative? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where wording in hyperlinks or controls is confusing or vague. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where wording in a hyperlink or control is confusing or vague. 1 Wording in hyperlinks and controls is clear and informative. 2 As above, plus wording in hyperlinks and controls is highly descriptive and free of redundant words.In ‘Nation News’, ‘World’, ‘Health’ and ‘News’ sub-channels, the “Full Coverage >>” link becomes“Full Coverage »” (possible typo error) and changes to “Get The Story” in PopEater(Entertainment) and “News by Category” sub-channels.Reference: - Forrester report, Make Hyperlinks Clear And Informative, January 3, 2006. This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 4 of 14
  • 5. 12. Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? 1 -2 The search engine fails to retrieve clearly worded results, or the site has no search engine but user goals require one. -1 The search engine does not put clearly worded results in order of relevance or does not display the user’s search term. 1 The search engine puts clearly worded results in order of relevance and displays the user’s search term. 2 As above, plus search compensates for common misspellings and accommodates synonyms, and the user can sort or narrow results by meaningful criteria.The search places results chronologically (most recent = more relevant). But it doesn’tcompensate for misspellings (searched ‘obamo’, ‘mckain’) or accommodating synonyms.Reference: - Forrester report, Best Practices For Search: Query Input Design, December 18, 2003. - Forrester report, Best Practices For Search: Presenting The Results, December 19, 2003.13. Can a user determine where to go next? Is the experience threaded through pagination, a 1highlighted “next step,” related content links or other mechanisms? -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where the user’s next step is not immediately obvious -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where the user’s next step is not immediately obvious 1 The user’s next step is immediately obvious 2 As above, plus the next step is visually highlighted and prominent.The user’s next step is immediately obvious in most cases.14. Does site content use language that’s easy to understand? 2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where language is difficult to understand. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where language is difficult to understand. 1 All language is easily understandable. 2 As above, plus short sentences and paragraphs aid comprehension.Well-formed news titles and appropriate module names and instructions make the entireexperience highly comprehensible.Reference: - Forrester report, Write Content With Target Audiences In Mind, August 7, 2003. This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 5 of 14
  • 6. 15. Do visual design elements create a clear visual hierarchy? (Elements such as size, boldface,color, shading, visual breathing room, grouping and typography build a structure of primary, 1secondary and tertiary navigational elements to draw users eyes through the content quickly) -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where visual hierarchy is not clear -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where visual hierarchy is not clear 1 Visual hierarchy is clear. 2 As above, plus the visual design elements add value to the display.The varying typography styles and colors do create some visual noise, both within a page andacross AOL News channel.16. Does the visual design reflect the brand attributes and audience demographics -1 -2 The visual design does not reflect the brand attributes and audience demographics -1 The visual design partially reflect the brand attributes and audience demographics 1 The visual design fully reflects the brand attributes and audience demographics 2 As above, plus the design loads within three seconds of the leading competitor.The visual design does have a news-oriented appeal but there is a disconnection when viewingsub-channels like ‘Entertainment’, ‘Business’ and ‘Sports’.17. Is text legible and system text is set to Arial (12px for Body copy, 13px for Articles, 9px for 2captions) or Georgia (as an accent) with at least 60% contrast to the background. -2 There are several instances (or one major instance) where essential content is not easy to read and/ or is not set as specified. -1 There is one instance where essential content is not easy to read and/or is not set as specified. 1 All essential content is easy to read and/or is not set as specified. 2 As above, plus the site allows users to change the text size and text is specified in ems.The site allows users to change the text-size and is specified in ems.Reference: - Forrester report, Design Legible Sites, September 22, 2003.18. Does text formatting and layout support easy scanning? 2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where text formatting or layout does not support easy scanning. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where text formatting or layout does not support easy scanning. 1 Text formatting and layout support easy scanning. 2 As above, plus text formatting or layout focuses the user’s attention on the most relevant content.Scanning through news headlines and highlighted sections is well supported.Reference: - Forrester brief, Format Text To Support Easy Scanning, January 3, 2006 This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 6 of 14
  • 7. 19. Do layouts use space effectively via the standard grid? 1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where wasted space displaces essential content, function, or navigation. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where wasted space displaces essential content, function, or navigation. 1 There is no instance where wasted space displaces essential content, function, or navigation. 2 There is no instance of wasted space.Still scope for better usage in the “News From Trusted AOL Partners” module above the footer.Reference: - Please visit http://designguide.office.aol.com/TheStandards/Grids - Forrester report, Page Layouts: Utility Beats Eye Candy, January 30, 2003.20. Are the Top 10 standard global experiences leveraged throughout the site? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where standard modules/experiences are not used. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where standard modules/experiences are not used. 1 Standard modules/experiences are used. 2 As above, plus the modules/experiences have been optimized for proper tracking and credit.No current Yedda integration on the site.Reference: - Please visit http://designguide.office.aol.com/TheStandards/TheStandards21. Have the placements of advertisements (banners or links) been placed in a recommended 2location to increase revenue opportunities while not infringing upon user experience? -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where advertisements have not been placed in a recommended location to increase revenue opportunities while not infringing upon user experience. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where advertisements have not been placed in a recommended location to increase revenue opportunities while not infringing upon user experience. 1 Advertisements have been placed in a recommended location to increase revenue opportunities while not infringing upon user experience. 2 As above, plus Quigo Sponsored links are place in a prominent position on the page, optimizing potential for revenue.Top Banner Ads, Right-column Advertisements and Sponsored Links have been placedappropriately not infringing upon the user experience.22. Does brand attribution follow the guidelines for proper comScore credit? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where brand attribution does not follow the guidelines for proper comScore credit. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where brand attribution does not follow the guidelines for proper comScore credit. 1 Brand attribution follows the guidelines for proper comScore credit. 2 As above, plus most current elements are used in all cases.All pages need to be updated with new footer. “Business”, “Sports” sections need to be updated. This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 7 of 14
  • 8. Reference: - Please visit http://designguide.office.aol.com/TheStandards/BrandingRequirements23. Are form fields and interactive elements placed logically in the display? 2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where related interactive elements or form fields are not grouped together or do not flow logically. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where related interactive elements or form fields are not grouped together or do not flow logically. 1 Related interactive elements and form fields are grouped together and flow logically. 2 As above, plus the display layout is free of unnecessary controls and graphics.Appropriate graphics have been used and the controls flow logically.24. Are interactive elements easily recognizable with clear and strong affordances? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where it’s not clear which elements are interactive. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where it’s not clear which elements are interactive. 1 All interactive elements are easily recognizable. 2 As above, plus the placement and design of interactive elements is consistent.The “View Gallery” button offers visual affordance through it’s form, but an absence of therollover state creates confusion whether is a clickable object or not. Similar problem arises forSearch Button in “News Videos”.25. Do interactive elements behave as expected? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where interactive elements do not behave as expected. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where interactive elements do not behave as expected. 1 All interactive elements behave as expected. 2 As above, plus the behavior of interactive elements exceeds user expectations by saving time or otherwise adding value.The “Must Read: Thumbs Up /Thumbs Down” link navigates to the post itself. The “More Photos”button navigates to Pixcetera.com whereas the “<<” and “>>” buttons pop-up an image gallery.The experience on the same media (images) differs and so the behavior of the controls isunexpected by the user.26. Are hyperlinks formatted correctly with underlines appearing on rollover, correct color andvisited states? (Blues, such as hex 2864B4 for light backgrounds, 96DCFA for dark backgrounds -2and D2B4DC for visited links works well on 90% of our sites.) -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where hyperlinks are formatted incorrectly. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where hyperlinks are formatted incorrectly. 1 All hyperlinks are formatted correctly. 2 As above, and all linked text is easy to understand.The color code for the links varies a lot (different hues of blue). Even text-style for links varies onfew occasions. No visited states exist for hyperlinks. This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 8 of 14
  • 9. Reference: - Please visit http://designguide.office.aol.com/TheStandards/Hyperlinks27. Does the site accommodate the user’s range of hand-eye coordination? 1 -2 Interactive elements are small and tightly spaced, and require complicated mouse movements. -1 Interactive elements are small and tightly spaced, or require complicated mouse movements. 1 Interactive elements are large or well-spaced and do not require complicated mouse movements. 2 Interactive elements are large, well-spaced, and provide a visual cue when rolled over.The Interactive elements are well defined and placed. But Most of the buttons on the page like“Vote”, “More Photos”, “View Gallery” and Search icon do not provide a visual cue when rolledover.Reference: - Forrester report, Rollover Menus Can Work But Usually Don’t, January 21, 2004.28. Do selected colors correspond to common expectations about color codes? For example,gray feels inactive, red feels like an error, blue feels like a hyperlink (if its not clickable, its not -1blue). Additionally, on financial sites, red indicates market down turn while green is up. -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where color meaning is not clear and in conflict with common expectations. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where color meaning is not clear and in conflict with common expectations. 1 Color meaning is clear and in line with common expectations. 2 As above, and international color codes have been evaluated.The Article headings and the module headings are both in black and similar text-style – but themodule headings are not links. Also, International color codes have not been evaluated.29. Are icons used sparingly and only to communicate the most critical functions or asset type 2without interfering with scanability of a page? -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where graphics, icons, or symbols are difficult to understand. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where graphics, icons, or symbols are difficult to understand. 1 All graphics, icons, or symbols are easily understandable. 2 As above, plus the appearance of graphics, icons, and symbols saves space, time, or otherwise adds value to the display.Icons and symbols have been used very effectively.Reference: - Please visit http://designguide.office.aol.com/TheStandards/Iconography This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 9 of 14
  • 10. 30. Are photo standards followed, including standard sizes and caption placement? -1 -2 Photo sizes are not standard and captions are not placed correctly -1 Photo sizes are not standard or captions are not placed correctly 1 Photo sizes are standard and captions are placed correctly 2 As above and the number of photos on each page is appropriate for fast page loading.Few images on AOL News Hub are not in new standard image sizes.Reference: - Please visit http://designguide.office.aol.com/TheStandards/PhotoSizes31. Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? -2 -2 Links to clear privacy and security policies are not presented anywhere in the display when a user is asked for personal data. -1 Links to clear privacy and security policies are not presented in context when a user is asked for personal data. 1 Links to clear privacy and security policies are presented in context anywhere that a user is asked for personal data. 2 As above, plus a short summary of each policy is presented with the link.In AOL (Election) HotSeat and in various polls across AOL News, there is no link regardingprivacy policies.Reference: - Forrester report, Web Users Want Privacy And Security Policies, December 21, 2005. - Forrester report, Make Security Policies Clear And Easy To Find, September 17, 2003. - Forrester report, Privacy Policies: Make Them Available and Useful, September 17, 2003.32. Do location cues orient the user? -2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where page titles or visual changes to navigation elements do not confirm that the page loaded was the page the user clicked on. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where a page title or a visual change to navigation elements does not confirm that the page loaded was the page the user clicked on. 1 Page titles or visual changes to navigation elements clearly and consistently confirm that the page loaded was the page the user clicked on. 2 As above, plus pages consistently show their location relative to the entire site.Navigational flow from AOL News to sub-channels like Sports News, Business News andEntertainment (PopEater.com) is unsettling. It creates confusion in the mind of the user whetherhe is still inside the AOL News channel as there is a drastic change in the visual experience.This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 10 of 14
  • 11. 33. Does site functionality provide clear feedback in response to user actions? -1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where the site functionality does not clearly indicate the results of user actions. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where the site functionality does not clearly indicate the results of user actions. 1 The site functionality clearly indicates the results of user actions. 2 As above, plus the site functionality sets expectations about what’s needed to complete a process.Clicking the ‘Thumber’, ‘Comments’ , ‘Report’ and ‘Permalink’ bar leads to unclear results.34. Does the system inform the user when the user has to wait? 2 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where there is no messaging to the user when the system is busy. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where there is no messaging to the user when the system is busy. 1 There is messaging to the user when the system is busy 2 As above, plus pre-loader indicates status (% complete) or a visual representation (bar) of progress in the wait; wait time/percentage indicated is accurate.Pre-loader indicators, progress indicators (bars, counters, other info-graphics) are present.35. Is contextual help available at key points? 1 -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where contextual, task-related help is not available. -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where contextual, task-related help is not available. 1 Contextual, task-related help is available where needed. 2 As above, plus contact information for other channels like email, chat, or phone is available in context.Help links, roll-over descriptions and prompt notifications are accordingly presented wherevernecessary.Reference: - Forrester report, Best Practices For Contextual Help Windows, September 14, 2005. - Forrester report, Poor Contextual Help Erodes Shoppers’ Trust, March 11, 2005.36. Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? -1 -2 There are several instances (or one major instance) where required fields are not clearly indicated or an error message is not integrated into the display, does not describe what happened and why, or does not suggest how to fix the problem. -1 There is one instance where required fields are not clearly indicated or an error message is not integrated into the display, does not describe what happened and why, or does not suggest how to fix the problem. 1 Required fields are clearly indicated, and error messages are integrated into the display, describe what happened and why, and suggest how to fix the problem. 2 As above, plus error prevention techniques (such as input masks and data validation) help avoid common mistakes.This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 11 of 14
  • 12. The Zip code field in the ‘Find Your Candidate’ module doesn’t present an error/notification if theusers doesn’t input any text and clicks ‘Go’. Comments input field does not provide a feedback incase you don’t add any data and press ‘Add’ button.Reference: - Forrester report, Better Error Handling Boosts Site Effectiveness, June 27, 2003. - Forrester report, Examine Error Messages By Breaking Your Site, March 4, 2004.37. Are error messages written in a friendly, non-threatening way with no technical jargon and no 2implication that the user has caused the problem? -2 There are two major instances (or one major instance and several minor instances) where error messages are confusing or accusatory -1 There is one major instance (or several minor instances) where error messages are confusing or accusatory 1 Error messages are easy to understand and do not place blame on the user. 2 As above, plus the error messages suggest how to fix the problem.The error messages also provide the possible actions a user can perform.38. Do all pages load quickly? -2 -2 There are two or more pages that do not load quickly. -1 There is one page that does not load quickly. 1 All pages load quickly. 2 As above, plus all items below the fold load last or not until a user scrolls to see them.All pages don’t load quickly.Reference: - Please visit www.optimization.aol.com39. Does the site perform without errors? 1 -2 There are two major system errors (or one major system error and several minor system errors) while completing the goals. -1 There is one major system error (or several minor system errors) while completing the goals. 1 There are no major system errors while completing the goals. 2 As above, plus all screens load in fewer than 3 seconds.No major system errors noticed. The Web Page Speed Report from Webometer confirms thedownload times of all above 3 seconds.Reference: - Forrester report, Site Speed: Misunderstood but Important, October 28, 2004.This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 12 of 14
  • 13. 40. Has the site been evaluated for internationalization and does not break when translated into -2foreign languages as appropriate? -2 The site has not been evaluated for internationalization and breaks when translated into foreign languages -1 The site has not been evaluated for internationalization or breaks when translated into foreign languages 1 The site has been evaluated for internationalization and does not break when translated into foreign languages 2 As above, plus the experience can easily be tailored to appeal (visually and/or editorially) to other cultures.The site has been localized to Spanish Language but is not internationalized. Complete andaccurate translation to French, German and Hindi failed when AOL News Homepage wastranslated through Google Translate service. Few headings are images (in English Language)and thus completely fail to translate. SUMMARYValue1. Does the landing page(s) provide evidence that user goals can be completed? 12. Is essential content available where needed? -13. Is essential function available where needed? -14. Are essential content and function given priority in the display? -1 Subtotal -2Navigation5. Can a user determine their location within the site architecture through noticeable visual highlights? -26. Is global navigation present in the header and local navigation expanded to 2 levels to show -2breadth and depth of content?7. Are menu category and subcategory names clear and mutually exclusive? -28. Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? -29. Are content and function classified logically? 210. Is the task flow efficient? 111. Is the wording in hyperlinks and controls clear and informative? -112. Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? 113. Can a user determine where to go next? Is the experience threaded through pagination, a 1highlighted “next step,” related content links or other mechanisms? Subtotal -4This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 13 of 14
  • 14. Presentation14. Does site content use language that’s easy to understand? 215. Do visual design elements such as size, boldface, color, shading, visual breathing room, groupingand typography build a structure of primary, secondary and tertiary navigational elements to draw 1users eyes through the content quickly?16. Does the visual design reflect the brand attributes and audience demographics -117. Is text legible and system text is set to Arial (12px for Body copy, 13px for Articles, 9px for 2captions) or Georgia (as an accent) with at least 60% contrast to the background.18. Does text formatting and layout support easy scanning? 219. Do layouts use space effectively via the standard grid? 120. Are standard global modules used for headers, footers and experiences such as Photo Galleries -1and Video?21. Have the placements of advertisements (banners or links) been placed in a recommended location 2to increase revenue opportunities while not infringing upon user experience?22. Does brand attribution follow the guidelines for proper comSCore credit? -123. Are form fields and interactive elements placed logically in the display? 224. Are interactive elements easily recognizable? -125. Do interactive elements behave as expected? -126. Are hyperlinks formatted correctly with underlines appearing on rollover, correct color and visitedstates? (Blues, such as hex 2864B4 for light backgrounds, 96DCFA for dark backgrounds and -2D2B4DC for visited links works well on 90% of our sites.)27. Does the site accommodate the user’s range of hand-eye coordination? 128. Do selected colors correspond to common expectations about color codes? For example, grayfeels inactive, red feels like an error, blue feels like a hyperlink (if its not clickable, its not blue). -1Additionally, on financial sites, red indicates market down turn while green is up.29. Are icons used sparingly and only to communicate the most critical functions or asset type without 2interfering with scanability of a page?30. Are photo standards followed, including standard sizes and caption placement? -1 Subtotal 6Trust31. Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? -232. Do location cues orient the user? -233. Does site functionality provide clear feedback in response to user actions? -134. Does the system inform the user when the user has to wait? 235. Is contextual help available at key points? 136. Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? -137. Are error messages written in a friendly, non-threatening way with no technical jargon and no 2implication that the user has caused the problem?38. Do all pages load quickly? -239. Does the site perform without errors? 140. Has the site been evaluated for internationalization and does not break when translated into -2foreign languages as appropriate? Subtotal -4 Total score -4 range: -80 to +80A Passing Score is 40. However, a negative score for any of the 40 questions indicates a likely problem thatshould be addressed, regardless of the overall total.This checklist was created using best practices from Forrester and AOL Interactive Design. Page 14 of 14

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