Website Evaluation

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For this part of the course project perform an evaluation of your client’s website information architecture.

client’s website: http://www.thekochlawfirm.com

The analysis should:

  • Be persuasive
  • Be critical without having an obvious bias
  • At least begin with a positive statement about the website
  • Address how (or if) the main functions, objectives, and/or user groups are reflected in the site’s architecture and navigation
  • Provide specific example(s) and/or justifications for each problem identified
  • Provide general recommendations linked to specific problems areas
  • Provide a summary of problems and your suggested remedies in order to “sell” your analysis to the client.

The following are guidelines for the content of your evaluation. There is no need to include every point in your analysis. However, you should thoroughly cover each of the main sections: structure, categories, labels, navigation and access. As a rule of thumb, try to include about half of the points listed below. Each “sub‐point” below (i.e., the ones sequenced by letters) should be considered to be a separate point. You may substitute your own points for evaluation in place of a point listed below, but you are not required to.

Structure:

  1. What organizational structure(s) are used?
  2. Does the site’s structure reflect/support the goals of the owner(s)/stakeholders?
  3. Does the site’s structure support all the intended tasks?
  4. Does the site’s structure support only the intended tasks?
  5. Does the site’s structure reflect a prioritization of tasks?
  6. Does the site’s structure accommodate the expectations of the site users?
  7. Is the site’s organizational structure readily apparent to the user?
  8. Does the organizational structure provide for ease of navigation?
  9. Is the structure of the site (“narrow and deep” or “broad and shallow”) appropriate?
  10. Are there cross‐references across the hierarchy and are they appropriate?
  11. Are the number of links from a single node generally appropriate (e.g., too many or too few)?

Categories:

  1. How are the materials categorized/grouped?
  2. What principle(s) guide and/or determine grouping?
  3. How well are similar materials grouped?
    1. How well does a subordinate category “fit” within its superordinate category?
    2. How representative (i.e., similar) is a subordinate category of its superordinate category?
    3. How well do the materials within a category “fit” with each other?
    4. How similar are the concept nested within a superordinate category?
  4. What level of overlap exists across categories or groups?
    1. Is there a high within‐category similarity and low between‐category similarity? (That is, are the boundaries between categories intuitive and appropriate?)
    2. What level of redundancy exists across categories/groups?
  5. How are categories ordered at the top level?
  6. How are categories ordered at subordinate levels in the structure?
  7. What sorts of implicit/explicit approaches to category formation are used? For example:
    1. Audience (user groups)
    2. Function or task (i.e., “how to”)
    3. Need‐to‐know (e.g., FAQ’s)
    4. Organization (of the school)
    5. Chronology (time relationships)
    6. Spatial features (such as physical orientation)
    7. Frequency of use

Labels:

  1. How are the groups labeled?
  2. How predictable and/or effective are the labels?
    1. How easy is it to interpret the concept represented by a label?
    2. How easy is it to differentiate between labels?
  3. Do labels actually lead to expected information?
  4. Is the labeling consistent?
  5. Is there a controlled vocabulary?

Navigation and Access:

  1. Is the organizational structure of the site intuitive?
  2. Is the grouping and labeling of pages intuitive?
  3. Is information located where you would expect to find it?
  4. Is location in the structure implicit or explicit?
  5. Is the homepage accessible from any subordinate page?
  6. Are there multiple auxiliary modes of access?
  7. Is there a:
    1. Site map?
    2. Index?
    3. Alternative menu structure?
    4. Search engine?
    5. FAQ?
  8. How effective are these auxiliary access systems?
  9. Are auxiliary access tools available at all levels?

Additionally, identify one website in the same industry as your website as a point of comparison. For example, if you were redesigning a local dentist’s office website, find another local dentist’s website to compare it to. This will be especially helpful if your chosen website has gaps in its content—what information does your comparison website have that yours lacks? Are there features or functionality that it has that yours doesn’t?

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