Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tamara Shopsin

A message to Readers: I guess all I wanted to say before my last (10th) blog post was that I have really enjoyed this assignment. I have learned about so many new and interesting web sites by reading my class mates' blogs. Today's post is about an artist in New York, Tamara Shopsin, her work can be found in the NYTimes regularly and she has many other interesting projects, products and websites. I chose this website becaue it is a little different from any other portfolio website I've seen.

Intended Audience:

Those interested in Tamara Shopsin's work, people reading the NYtimes articles on-line that are accompanied by Tamara's work. Also, people interested in hiring TS for design, illustration, animation ect.

Usefulness of the Content:
The content on this website is designed to give the intended audience a idea of the breadth of TS's work. There is a reasonable amount of content on this website. The content is almost exclusively visual. Since Tamara's primary work (at least from what I can see) is illustration so her images are able to stand on their own with out explanatory text. The content is useful in so far as it is a visual indication of the profundity of TS's creation.

Ease of Navigation:
This website employs navigation tools that may be unfamiliar to some/many users. The Website is a single frame site meaning you never navigate away from the home page to another internal page within the site because there are no other internal pages. There are three viewing areas oriented horizontally on the screen. The middle area is a viewing area that loads images that are selected by clicking in the two side viewing areas. Each of the three is controlled by a horizontal scroll bar. Generally horizontal scrolling is discouraged is websites probably because of the design of the computer mouse has hard coded human behavior. Like I mentioned earlier this can be unintuitive.

Consistency of Design:
I am a huge fan of the design choices made to create this web page. The at once "new old"
feeling is carried through the other websites associated with TS's work namely her e-commerce site. Since there is only one page to this web site (a frame site) design is consistent from papge to page.

10TH Post: Express

Intended Audience:

* People who wear fashionable clothes
* Middle income
* People who like to plan before they go to the mall

Usefulness of Content:

Very Useful:
* Sections for him and her
* For Her section offers: tops, shirts, hoodies, sweaters, jackets, etc...
* For Him section offers: graphic tees, rugby and crew necks, jackets, jeans, etc..
*Tells you the department, color code, class, and style of clothing pieces, and lets you find a store that carries the piece

Ease of Navigation:

Very Easy to navigation
* Can find whats new, for him, for her, gift card and credit card sections at top of the page, along with my wishlist, find a store, and e-mail sign up
* Local navigation for each section on the left
*More links at the bottom about careers, contact, fashion dellivery, terms and conditions, etc...

Consistency of Design:

Very Consistent
*Black background
*White font
*High fashion photos
*Products on white background
*Navigation is always in the same spot - global at top; local at left

Intended Audience:

Anyone who owns a credit card with an available balance.

Usefulness of Content:
Comparison rates and ability to make reservations for:
  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Car Rentals
  • Vacation Packages
  • Cruises
  • Tourist Activities
  • Business Travel
You can access information on special deals if you don't have a specific location in mind, or check out global maps.
Consistency of Design:
The design is visually and technically consistent throughout. Each page closely resembles one another so that you do not have to relearn how to use the interface every time you need a different service.

Ease of Navigation:

The interface is very easy to use. It is always my first stop when making travel plans. Left hand section allows you to plug in your dates without having to weed through a lot of information. The tabs are well labeled and self-explanatory allowing you to easily navigate to your area of interest.

Ann Arbor District Library Catalog

Intended Audience:
Ann Arbor District community members who wish to search the library's holding via their OPAC.

Usefulness of Content: This library catalog is called a “SOPAC” otherwise known as a “social OPAC”. It was developed by John Blyberg and consists of social software built into the AADL catalog. Once signed in to their account patrons can rate, review, comment-on, and tag items. The content behind the interface is a library's holdings so the content of said web site is dependent on each library patron.

Consistency of Design:
The site makes use of navigation bars and lists well and spreads the information out. This site uses Drupal which is an open source content management system to put a new interface on the legacy catalog.

Ease of Navigation:
The left and top navigation bars allow for an ease of use. Really once you are in the catalog though you mostly use the drop down menu boxes to navigate through the system's collection. The right column are tags which have been added by patrons to materials in the catalog. You can also browse the system by different facets, new items, hot items, and by media. The only thing I am confused about is content below the search boxes, it looks like user contribution posts but I do not know where these are inputting. I am assuming that once a user logs in under their account they have more interactive options than a visitor.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Discovery Channel

Intended Audience

The target audience of this site is anyone interested in the Discovery Channel's TV shows and programs. The site is fairly bandwidth intensive, so it's best accessed via a broadband internet connection.

Usefulness of Content

The content of this web site is quite useful. It includes TV schedules and content related to its programs, including individual sites for certain shows, games, full episodes, unaired footage, and more. It also contains information about things other than its TV shows. For instance, it has news on various topics including: science, animals, history, archaeology, tech, space, and several others.

Consistency of Design

The design of this web site is somewhat consistent. Most of the major sections of the site have the same design and layout. However, the specific pages for the TV shows each have a custom design related to the show, and the video section also has a significantly different design that the rest of the site.

Ease of Navigation

This site is generally easy to navigate. It has a consistent navigation bar at the top that gives easy access to the major sections of the web site. One annoying navigation issue is that the logo on the navigation bar, which also serves as the link to the home page, opens a new tab in my browser instead of just returning to the home page.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The History Channel

Intended audience:
Anyone seeking information on any of The History Channel’s programs; teachers looking for resources to use in their classrooms; individuals searching for mainstream videos of historical events.

Usefulness of content: Anything you would need to know about any of The History Channel’s television shows or movies can be found here. You can watch clips of the shows, view the schedule, or join a discussion group. I’m not sure how useful any of that really is, but that’s what the site is here for.

Consistency of design: The History Channel logo is featured every page. The links at the top of the page and the search bar are also consistently featured, but they’re not always styled the same way, which is a little disorienting. Also, the homepage is clunky. I like the videos, but there are too many on the homepage.

Ease of navigation: It’s easy enough to find information about a show or a video clip, but the site could be designed better. The link categories aren’t organized very well, so it’s not always clear where to look to find certain information. The search bar helps, though, and it’s easy to get back to the homepage from wherever you are.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Southern Indiana Real Estate Services

Those in the market for RealEstate in Southern Indiana

Usefulness of Content:

Quite usefull; if the user can get past the poor design elements, the site appears to hold a good variety of real estate and associated regional info of concern to most purchasers, i.e.: schools; community info; other public buildings; etc.

Ease of Navigation:

It's rather interesting since the site uses the Metaphor style. They have a picture of a small city and you hover over things in the city that associate with your interest. The problem is that items in the picture are neither labeled, nor is it obvious which objects are clickable and which are not. Fortunately, they did choose to have a navigation bar as a backup, the only notable thing is that they put it at the bottom of the page rather than the top.

Additionally, they instituted almost no Accessability into the page. The text links are good because they do adjust in size, but there are no alt tags for blind users, and judging by the Navigation area code it would be reading the user a lot of garbage like brackets and such.

Consistency of Design:
Mediocre. There is one other page that uses a similar metaphor-style. Then most other pages use a consistant, though shotty-format. The org logo is so large that it takes up more than half the browser space and you have to scroll down on every page. The last page has a design all-its-own with yellow on white - yuck! It looks very amateur. They did well about including the following at the bottom of all pages, except the Homepage...of all places to leave out the Contact us, that would not be my choice: Home Site Policies Help Contact Us

Overall, it looks like it has good information, it just displays it very poorly; and for whomevers-sake, shrink the logo!

Catalog Choice

Intended Audience

Anyone wanting to cancel catalogs they receive in the mail (either in their name or someone else's). Also, companies that want to avoid sending catalogs to people who just throw them out.

Usefulness of Content

I have to say that it has been quite a while since I found a site I was happy to see that someone had made and hoped for its success. The site has environmental information on how canceling catalogs saves trees/landfill/etc. It has a simple to use interface for subscribing (you will receive an email with a link to confirm). Your account is tied to a mailing address and you can list any names that receive catalogs at the location. They handle contacting the company that the catalog is from asking them to remove the name/address that you listed. Their list of catalogs is amazingly complete. In a month of entering catalogs I have found only 2 out of 70 that I entered were not in their database.

The site is sponsored/run by several environmental organizations and has a way for catalog companies to get involved and has several major catalogs merchants signed up - the site allows merchants to login and get the cancelation requests rather than have to get hundreds of emails which by law they have process.

There is no advertising on the site.

Consistency of Design

Very simple site. Limited number of pages with a simple consistent navigation. Login/Logout at top right corner, menu on left, link for Merchants/blog/contact info at bottom. Simple easy on the eyes green/white colors (I'm guessing green for environment...)

Ease of Navigation

Very simple, easy to use. The actual catalog cancelation application allows you to search for a catalog by typing (it dynamically shortens the list of catalogs as you type) or by looking in an alphabetized catalog. You can also quickly see the list of catalogs you have declined sorted by name the catalog was sent to - each entry has links to modify your request, let them know that you are still getting it and a link to the catalog vendors website. When you actually enter the application to cancel a catalog you can enter a new name if the one that is on the catalog is not one that you have entered before. The list of names you have entered is available in a pull-down menu. While in the application you are in a new "window" in the forefront with the site behind it grayed out and inaccessible. Overall, a very nice job.

9th Post: Davids Bridal

Intended Audience:

* Mainly brides looking for a wedding dress or for accessories such as invitations and gifts
* People involved in a bridal party might look here as well
* People looking for something to wear for a special occasion

Usefulness of Content:
* Very useful
- This site has all kinds of items for weddings, including: wedding dresses, bridesmaids gowns, flower girl gowns, mother of the bride dresses, veils, gloves, ribbons, sashes, gifts, and accessories for reception and ceremony
- The site provides pictures for each item, and if there are color options you can click on the color and make the dress change
- You can also register online, order a catalog, view video galleries, and request an appointment at a physical location

Consistency of design:
* Very consistent
- Global navigation on the top
- Local navigation on left
- Main content is in the middle
- Background is white
- Lots of pictures in any section
- Logo is always in the top left

Ease of Navigation
* Easy to navigate
- Clear labeling; you know what you can find in that section
- Global navigation is broken up intuitively into things a bride might be looking for
- Local navigation is labeled clearly and uses color shades to break up categories
- Can easily find search
- Can easily see where to search for a specific location

PBS Kids

PBS Kids

Intended Audience

Kids online between the ages of 2 to 8. The site is also designed for teachers and parents that promote e-learning for kids. The kids are expected to have watched some or all the programs intended for them.

Usefulness of Content

The content on the site is very interactive. It not only builds a stronger relationship between the child and the shows/PBS but also gives them more opportunities to learn in a more engaging way. The content is fun (games, stories, video clips, etc.) as well as educational (fill in the blank, spelling tasks, voice over of words, dictionary available, etc.). The kids can also print out the material (ex. coloring pages, book markers, and posters) so that they can physically interact with it.

Consistency of Design

The design of the PBS kids website is not consistent for all programs. The only things consistent are: the PBS Kids logo and the parents and teachers navigation tab. The rest is intended to give a new experience to the viewer.

Ease of Navigation

There was inconsistency with ease of navigation throughout the website. On some shows like WordGirl, the navigation was wonderful. Images opened up fast and there was fluidity to the page. In other shows like Mister Rogers Neighborhood, images would not pop up as fast and it was difficult therefore it was difficult to navigate through. All pages seemed to be above the fold. Finally, there was a search option available on the main page but not on the individual shows which may make it confusing for a young child to find what they are looking for. (California State University, Northridge)

1) your best guess at intended audience;
  • High school students deciding on their college route
  • Community college students looking to transfer into a university
  • Current CSUN students
  • Prospective graduate students
  • Locals wanting to attend campus events
  • Prospective employees
  • Current employees
  • Alumni

2) usefulness of content;

The first link about CSUN is perfect for prospective students. The most helpful link is academic programs, which leads you to the school/college that you would be working in and allows you to find info. on the application process, the program requirements, faculty and all the pertinent info when you're deciding between programs. I like that at the top of the page there is a link that lists exactly what B.A., M.A. and PhD programs the school offers. I like that the portal to sign in is right at the top of the page (it didn't use to be that easy to find).

3) consistency of design;

Some of the links are not consistent with the campuses main page. For instance, just clicking on academic departments in the center of the page takes you a differently designed page. It's not too distracting though, and it is not the case with all the links. Those pages with different designs are still fairly intuitive

4) ease of navigation

The design is simple enough, and pleasant enough, and the headers stand out enough, that even though the website is conveying a lot of knowledge, it is still pretty easy to navigate. There are lots of routes to get to the same page as well, which is always helpful.

P.S. I'm not so sure about the close up of the woman across the top of the home page, I can articulate why, but it's a bit silly. I think they should change that to a more professional look.


Intended Audience

The target audience of this website is people who play video games. It has sections for all the major game platforms currently in use such as: PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and 2, the Wii, and a few others.

Usefulness of Content

The content of this site is useful to those interested in playing or purchasing video games. It contains reviews and ratings of games, previews of upcoming games, walkthroughs, hints, cheats, images, forums, and more. As such, this site can be used in such various ways as helping someone beat the game he/she is playing or helping a potential gift-giver find out which games are good.

Consistency of Design

The design of this site is fairly consistent throughout. It has different color schemes for the different video game platforms. However, the navigation bar at the top is only somewhat consistent. It is consistent while on the main pages of each section. For example, the navigation bar on the "Reviews" page in the Xbox 360 section and the "Previews" page in the PC section is the same. However, when you select a particular review or preview, the layout of the navigation bar changes slightly. A general design issue this site tends to have is that its pages, especially the main pages for each section and the home page, have a cluttered look to them.

Ease of Navigation

This website is fairly easy to navigate. It has tabs corresponding to the different sections for the different video game platforms, and links to the different areas of content, such as "Reviews" below. Overall, I find it easy to get where I want to go on this site.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

House M.D. Fansite

This is a fan website for the television show “House M.D.”. In an attempt to avoid school work I’ve recently started watching House, starting with the first season.

Intended Audience: For dedicated fans of the show, maybe even for people who are mildly interested in learning more about the show. It doesn't look like it gets an enormous amount of traffic, a little under 1800 members. Is that a lot in internet land?

Usefulness of Content: I’d rate the content an 8 on a scale of 1-10. It doesn’t appear to be very up to date seeing as the show is in the 4th season and I don’t see much mentioned on this new season. The information about past seasons as well as information about the cast is very in depth though.

Consistency of Design: I enjoy the design of this web site perhaps because it employs the use of three columns as well as a horizontal column in the header which remains the same throughout the website. The only complaint about the header is that it is a bit too big and takes up a lot of space on my laptop screen. The colors are complimentary and the content is broken into manageable chunks, i.e. there isn’t too much verbiage. Maybe I have the attention span of a 3 year old because I am always congratulating sites which break information up.

Ease of Navigation: I could navigate through the site pretty easily. There are several menus on each page which remain the same as you visit different parts of the site. The site provides a search box which might prove to be useful.

Side Note: I was *this* close to writing about but I’m not that big of a fan… yet.

Paula Deen

Intended Audience:
  • Fans of Paula Deen's Cooking, her restaurant, Food Network, and/or Southern-style cooking
  • People looking for a recipe
Usefulness of Content:
  • Not absolutely necessary for anyone
  • Useful if one likes to cook and try new recipes-don't have to go out and buy a cookbook
  • Useful if someone likes Paula Deen and would like to meet her or buy something with her brand on it

Consistency of Design:
  • Four tabs across the top-two of them display one picture of Paula Deen in the header and one set of tabs down the left column and two of them display a different picture of her and a different set of tabs down the left and differnet outline of page
  • So it is a little inconsistent but within those top tabs the design is consistent whereever you navigate
  • Background color outside of page remains consistent throughout
Ease of Navigation:
  • Fairly easy-tabs are easily readable and easily interpreted
  • However because the tabs down the left side do not remain consistent sometimes you have to backtrack in order to go somewhere else within the site-this could be changed to make navigation easier
  • Website pages are mainly kept within the context of the moniter screen-not a lot of scrolling is needed-tabs also kept within the context of the moniter screen

Ophra Winfrey

Target Audience: Those interested in celebrities, reality shows, cosmetic technique, fashion intrigue, relationship improvement, self-introspect, food, Oprah BookClub, etc. The site is more favored by women in general. Deals with lots of issues and interests regarding women.

Usefulness of Content: The site offers lots of miscellaneous info on life in a broader sense. It covers from diet/food to societal change and improvement or issues/problems. This site provides down-to-earth, practical interests across all walks in life. If you're interested in diagnosing your relationship or you who you are, there are some links that direct you to another site that discusses the specific topic at hand: for example, "Are women better off alone? Marriage is no magic bullet for happiness, some say." Well, this is a disputable topic but an interesting read if you've got enough time.

Consistency of Design: The home page opens up a bit clustered with images and with no obvious site map that offers a bird-eye view of the overall components of the site. Clicking "thought for today," it directed me to the site map page with some content related to the link that I clicked; this page titled "Spirit and Self" does not look the same as the home page: Less clustered images, and more clear-cut look with all the major links on the left-side column and the content in the middle of the page. On that same page, if you click other major categories like Food and Home, it will consistently show the same layout. The color scheme follows the same as the home page: Prevalent colors are reddish orange throughout; major links are reddish/content links are greenish/bluish. Except the home page that I encountered, I would say the site is fairly consistent.

Ease of Navigation: Easy enough to browse and read. The site accommodates the search engine. If you are familiar enough with the content of the Oprah site, you can search whatever you like, pertaining to the topics the site tends to handle.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nada Surf

Intended audience

This is a Web site for a band from New York named Nada Surf so its intended audiences are listeners and fans of the band.

Usefulness of content

The site includes information such as video, contact, message board, songs from each album, tickets and concerts, press, but there is no information at all about the band. There is no band's biography or at least information of the band's members.

Consistency of design

The site's design is based on the graphic on their latest album's cover which is an image of buildings' front. To enter the site or go to different places in the site, you will have to move your mouse across the buildings' front and a small pop-up message will show up from different windows on the buildings. Inside the site, this same mechanism is also at work in that as soon as you enter the site, a new graphic of buildings comes up and on these buildings are signs that you can click on to access different pages on the site. At this point, I think the design is very consistent, however, after you click on each items to go to each page, that's where the inconsistency starts. Some links open up pages that are still within in this site so the design is still consistent with the main page but other pages lead to new windows from their record company, their fan's site to what I presume to be an old version of their site. All these pages are really inconsistent with each other and most of the links in this site end up open up new windows with different design from different sites.

Ease of navigation
The navigation on this site is really confusing. Starting from the home page, apart from having a link to enter the site, there is also a link to listen to songs and watch videos, as well as a pop-up list of songs in their new album which you cannot click on, as well as a link to their MySpace page and a link to the UK version of their site. I don't know why all these things, except from the link to the UK version, should be outside the site and not inside. When I entered the site, the main graphic page comes up with the menu but after I clicked on any of the links on the menu, that main home page is disappear forever. There is no link to go back to the home page. I was instead stuck with the page that I clicked on and the only way to navigate is through clicking at the menu on the top of the page. Another issue is that the links on the menu bar lead to so many different places. The Store and Press links lead to new windows in the record company's site while the Music link opens up another window that looked like their old site, Message Board leads to, again, another window and the Tickets link leads to a fan's site which has nothing to do with tickets at all. So as you can see, this site, even though has a good creative concept of making use of its album graphic, is actually a really bad site to navigate through. In the end, I ended up having to close so many 5 other windows from clicking on the links on the menu bar.

SAM - Portable Storage

Intended Audience:
Movers! Perhaps more likely the transient community or those who are moving on a consistent basis; given the ability to hold onto the container if so desired.

Usefulness of Content:
Good Content. The site caters to its niche market and requests and gives the necessary information in order to deduce user necessities.
Although they do throw a handfull of dirt in your eyes on the first page (see pic) Info-Overload.
And - I know why I'm there and what the product does, I do not think a MOVIE on the first page is necessary.

Ease of Navigation:
Simple - Nav options are on the left (standard). Though if you goto the "Reserve" page you'll need to bust-out the trusty Back Arrow or click the logo for the Mainpage, because your navigation menu goes Missing.

Consistency of Design:
WIth the exception of the aforementioned RESERVE page it's rather consistent. I do not like the slight variation with the mainpage. They mainpage layout/nav area vary from the subpages. It also looks rather amateur. There first couple times i loaded a couple of the pages, not all of the CSS came through and it left black text on a very dark red background which was hard to read. It swapped to a grey background on Reload, but it was still a poor first impression.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This website,, is focused on providing tools for web designers who use CSS, javascript, and XHTML. It is a bilingual site, offering articles and guidelines in English and Czech, the author's native tongue. Visitors can browse the articles and tools. One very useful tool that I found is the color scheme generator. It makes suggestions for color combinations.

Intended Audience

The audience for this site consists of web developers of varying levels. It would be useful for anyone interested in CSS or someone who is working with CSS or XHTML.

Usefulness of Content

The content serves its purpose very well. The articles are easy to read and relatively easy to follow if you want to implement the hack yourself. You have to be willing to try out the suggestions to make them useful. They won't do much good if you just read about different capabilities, you must give them a whirl.

Consistency of Design

The site is consistent. Each page uses similar colors and design elements like lines and fonts.


Navigation is pretty simple. You can always get to the tool and article lists from the top toolbar. And for each article, the alternate text in the other language is in a light shade to the side of the main text. One click, and they change places and the text enlarges and becomes bolder.

Pretty cool overall. This site was recommended to me and I wanted to recommend it to everyone else in time for the projects to be finished.

The Journal of Cell Biology

Intended audience: Scientists, doctors, med students, and anyone else with a solid grasp of the subject of cell biology; librarians who work for institutions that currently subscribe to or are considering subscribing to this journal.

Usefulness of content: For anyone who can understand the content on this site, it is endlessly useful. This site has all the latest info in the field of cell biology, as well as fully accessible archives (you have to subscribe to the journal to access the newest content). There’s also information about how to subscribe and instructions for authors who are considering submitting a manuscript to the journal.

Consistency of design: The design is boring but consistent. Every page has the same coloring and the same font, and the gray bar appears at the top of every page. The layout of the articles is also consistent.

Ease of navigation: The site is very simple to navigate. The gray navigation bar at the top of every page directs you to all of the major pages. The homepage is bland, but the layout is clean. All the links on the right side are clearly worded and easily accessible, and all of the information you would need can be found by clicking on one of those links.